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Penn State vs Iowa Preview

Posted by Joe Chuba on 09/27 at 10:26 AM

Steve Jones reviews Penn State’s win over Temple and previews the Nittany Lion’s Big Ten opener vs. Iowa.

Temple was an outstanding test Saturday and one I’m glad the Nittany Lions had before starting Big Ten play.  They had to battle for four quarters against a well prepared, highly motivated team.  In the end the defense shutout Temple over the final three quarters, special teams did their job and in the clutch the offense put together a 96 yard drive… their longest in 7 years… to put the game away. 
Evan Royster has been a focal point for criticism but he never let it affect him.  He did come to camp at 228 pounds but has now cut back to 212.  He almost got to 212 on the ground Saturday with a career high 187 yards on 26 carries.  Rob Bolden did enough with 223 yards passing and no interceptions.  Of course the red zone yielded only one touchdown and that needs to change. 
The defense got takeaways.  The four takeaways by this defense were impressive as they dialed up the aggressiveness and played faster.  You could tell they knew what they were seeing right away and never guessed. 
The Lou Eliades injury at right tackle is a tough one.  He had really grown as a player over the years and was so dependable over there.  Now Chima Okoli needs to step up right away, two quality Iowa defensive ends are waiting for him.
Iowa is 3-1 on the season including what had to be a maddening loss to Arizona.  Arizona ran an interception back for a touchdown… a kickoff back for a touchdown… blocked a punt to set up another score…and then missed an extra point that would have given them the lead.  That is all counter to what Iowa does best. 
Iowa is a veteran team that features 26 seniors.  “Captain Comeback” Ricky Stanzi is the quarterback.  He has hit 67% of his passes with nine touchdown passes and just one interception… of course that one Arizona ran back for a score.  Darrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt are his top targets on the outside.  Iowa averages nearly 15 yards per completion. 
They have been hit hard at tailback.  Adam Robinson has been steady all season with 385 yards and six touchdowns.  But…Brandon Weager has not played, Jewel Hampton tore his ACL, Paki O’Meara is also out.  Brad Rogers and Marcus Coker have stepped in as the backups and both players have great potential.
Iowa has a strong defense but they don’t have the veteran presence at linebacker as they did last season.  Up front they are as strong as anyone in the nation.  Adrian Clayborn and Broderick Binns are among the better defensive end combinations in the country although they don’t have a sack yet.  Karl Klug is very strong in the middle of that line. Jeremiha Hunter is a playmaker at linebacker.  Tyler Sash and Brett Greenwood are a strong duo at the safety spots. 
Ryan Donohue is one the better punters in the country.  Last season in Beaver Stadium he was a difference maker.  Michael Meyer has taken over as the placekicker.  He has attempted only two field goals this season and made one.  But he obviously has a strong leg because he has eight touchbacks out of his 25 kickoffs.
Penn State has led Iowa in the fourth quarter in each of the last three meetings but won only once.  Now they need to finish drives and finish the job.

Penn State is 7-10 in Big Ten openers
They are 0-2 in Big Ten openers vs. Iowa
Then Nittany Lions are 1-4 against Iowa in their last 5 meetings
The lone win coming in 2007 at Beaver Stadium
The last time Penn State won in Iowa City was 1999 (31-7)


{name} Author: Joe Chuba
Bio: Sports Producer for WPSU-TV


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