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Iowa at Penn State (What to expect)

Posted on 07. Oct, 2011 by in Iowa Football

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

To get you all ready for Saturday’s game between Iowa and Penn State, I put together a list of things you ought to know before these two face off at Beaver Stadium.

At the end, I’ll provide what I think are three keys to an Iowa victory.

Iowa Hawkeyes (3-1, 0-0) at Penn State Nittany Lions (4-1, 1-0)

Beaver Stadium; State College, Pa.

Oct. 8, 2011

2:30 p.m. Central

TV: ABC/ESPN (Dave Pasch, Chris Spielman, Urban Meyer, Quint Kessenich)

Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network (Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolak, Rob Brooks)

Weather: 72 degrees

Brendan’s Three Keys to the Game:

1. Win the turnover battle

Iowa comes into this game carrying a plus-4 turnover margin (eight takeaways to four turnovers). Regardless of which quarterback is taking most of the snaps for Penn State, the Nittany Lions are typically at their best offensively when they can sustain long scoring drives. The Hawkeye defense will need to create turnovers this weekend to allow the offense to continue growing as it has the last few weeks. It’s also worth noting that in this three-game winning streak Iowa has over Penn State, a staple of each victory has been second-half takeaways.

2. Solid special teams play

Special teams has been a factor in recent Iowa/Penn State meetings. Senior punter Eric Guthrie has been consistent and reliable all season, as has sophomore kicker Mike Meyer. Seeing how this is one area where the Hawkeyes may have a distinct advantage, winning field position battles and coming away with points even when the offense doesn’t produce touchdowns would largely benefit Iowa in a road game like this.

3. Be ready for Penn State’s best shot

No matter how inept the Nittany Lions look offensively or how banged up they are defensively, this is a statement game for their program this season, one that could seriously be the different between an 8-9 win season and struggling to get to 6-6. Consider the Hawkeyes’ recent dominance in this series, expect Penn State’s best shot early, especially with Iowa coming off a bye week. If the Nittany Lions struggle to come away with points early on, the better this game will play for Iowa. Think similar to the 2009 game, but with neither team being as talented this year as they both were then.

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