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Hawks ‘n Lions 09/24/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,

In what will be the biggest test of the young season so far, undefeated Iowa pays a visit to Happy Valley to take on 5th ranked Penn State Saturday in a prime time, nationally televised  showdown.  It is the first Big Ten game of the season for each team.  At first blush, this game is no contest.  In fact, the odds makers have installed the Nittany Lions as double digit favorites over the Hawkeyes.  But, hey, ABC picked this game to feature for a reason.

Flash back to late last season, and Penn State rolled into Iowa City talking undefeated season and a shot at the national championship.  Three

Ferentz is 6-2 against Penn St

Ferentz is 6-2 against Penn St

 hours and a last second Daniel Murray field goal later, the Lions left their dreams on the Kinnick Stadium turf, suffering a devastating 24-23 loss.  The Hawkeyes entered that game 5-4 and were going no where.  They have not lost since.  Revenge will be on the mind of Penn State quarterback  Daryll Clark who threw an interception deep in Iowa territory that set up the game winning drive.  But that was las year.  In fact, there are several interesting trends in Iowa – Penn State history.  Penn St leads the series 11-10, yet current Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is 6-2 against the Lions.  The visiting team wins in this series more often than not (13 of 21 games); yet Iowa won last season in Iowa City, and Penn State won the 2007 contest, the last game played in Beaver Stadium. 

As to the game Saturday, both teams are 3-0.  Penn State has yet to play a game away from home, and has not been tested so far, beating Akron, Syracuse and Temple.  Iowa has defeated Northern Iowa, Iowa State and Arizona.   Both defenses have looked good, and Penn State has been putting up points.  The advantage here, however, may go to the Hawkeyes.  Penn State’s opponents are a combined 2-6 in games played while Iowa’s opponents are a combined 6-3.  In other words, Iowa’s opponents have yet to lose to any team other than Iowa, while Penn State’s foes are 2-3 against opponents other than Penn State.  Additionally, Iowa has had the experience playing away from home (vs ISU in Ames).  The Hawkeyes may be more tested than Penn State.

Wegher (pictured) and Robinson need to run the ball Saturday

Wegher (pictured) and Robinson need to run the ball Saturday

Arizona came into Iowa City last weekend undefeated, with an offense that featured the 2nd best rusher in the nation to date.  Iowa dominated the game, holding Arizona to  half their normal yardage output. Wildcat running back Nick Grigsby came into the game averaging over 160 rushing yards per game.  He got only 75 against Iowa.  Iowa can not beat Penn State by defense alone.  Sophomore quarterback Ricky Stanzi will have to take care of the ball.  He threw an interception and lost a fumble in the first half of last seasons PSU game.  The Hawks will need to keep the turnovers under two to have a chance this year.  Their 2 headed running attack of Adam Robinson and Brandon Weigher will need to be efficient and gain at least 150 rushing yards. 

The road team is due for a win in this series.  Take good care of the football on offense and gain over 150 yards on the ground, play the same quality defense they have played all season, and Iowa will win the game Saturday evening. 



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