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This is a game that features two teams that win in very similar fashion. They both are well-coached, fundamentally sound, and play great defense. Penn State has good wins at Wisconsin and at home against Auburn. Iowa can counter with a home win against Indiana and road wins at Iowa State and Maryland. The winner of this one will head to the top of the pack in the Big10. Let’s break it down.
Quarterback: The Nittany Lions are getting great play out of quarterback, Sean Clifford. He has completed 103 passes out of 153 for 1336 yards and 11 touchdowns. This is an element that Penn State usually doesn’t have and gives their offense some balance. Spencer Petras is a typical Hawkeye quarterback; he manages the game and tries to play mistake-free. He has thrown for 943 yards and 7 touchdowns. Advantage: Penn State
Running Backs: Noah Cain, Keyvone Lee, and Sean Clifford have rushed 127 times for 506 yards and 4 touchdowns. Iowa will counter with Tyler Goodson who has 99 carries for 430 yards and 5 touchdowns. Advantage: Neither
Receiving: Penn State has a stud receiver in Jahan Dotson who has caught 35 balls for 446 yards and 4 touchdowns. Parker Washington is a 2nd choice with 25 catches and 221 yards. Iowa has their usual reliable tight end, Sam Laporta (22 receptions and 263 yards). Their leading wide receiver is Nico Ragaini has 11 catches for 132 yards. Advantage: Penn State
Defense: The Nittany Lions always play solid defense and this year is no difference. They always have good linebackers and this year they have, Brandon Smith and Ellis Brooks, who have 62 tackles between them. Defensive lineman, Arnold Ebiketie and P.J. Mustipher have 43 tackles and 4 sacks. The Hawkeyes’ defense has 13 sacks and have come up with an amazing 15 turnovers, 12 of them being interceptions. They are strong upfront, and their trio of linebackers, Jack Campbell, Seth Benson, and Jestin Jacobs have combined for 107 tackles. Advantage: Iowa
This will be a hard-fought, last possession type of game. There isn’t much of a difference between these two. They are carbon copies of each other. Just sit back and enjoy an old-fashioned slugfest. Iowa is a 1.5-point favorite.
AARON’S PICK: Penn State +1.5
PAPA DUDES PICK: Iowa -1.5
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