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College Football Week 8 Breakdown: Penn State vs. Iowa

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Penn State heads to Iowa this weekend looking to get out of Iowa City with their first win since 1999. Yeah, it's been a while and it is well documented. So what does our staff have to say about this game, and how confident are we that your Nittany Lions will be picking up their fifth straight win, or not?

Let's find out.

Michael Renahan: Penn State and Iowa have played each other in some of the most famous games in Big Ten history. When the two squads get together, it’s always an interesting and meaningful game for both teams. This year, it is no different. Penn State comes in after a week off riding a 4 game winning streak. Iowa is coming off a huge win against Michigan State just a week ago and is a team filled with confidence. It looks like the Hawkeyes will be missing leading rusher Mark Weisman which will ultimately make them a one dimension team.

If Penn State wants to win, we need to see the offense take a major step this week. Matt McGloin and Zach Zwinak have been extremely effective for the Nittany Lions and  they both need to continue their level of play. The defense has to keep the pressure it has been applying to opposing offenses. They have to generate turnovers and limit senior signal caller James Vandenberg’s production. If the team can keep up the level of play we have seen the past few weeks look for them to leave Kinnick Stadium with a 24-17 win. 

Derek Aschman: When looking forward to this weekend’s game, I have a many more questions than answers. How will Penn State look after the bye week? How aggressive will Bill O’Brien be in a hostile environment? Can the Nittany Lions finally win in Iowa City?

At the end of the day, this is going to be a traditional, low scoring Big Ten match. Iowa is allowing only 17 points per game and has played much better in Kinnick Stadium, and Penn State is allowing only 16 points per game. The difference is, however, that Penn State’s offense has a pulse – unlike the Hawkeyes’. Because of this, I like the Nittany Lion’s defense to stifle the Hawkeyes, calm down the crowd win a low scoring bout. 17-13, Nittany Lions.

Marty Valania: While many of the fans are already talking about Ohio State and the white house and all that, you can be assured that the Penn State football team and coaching staff are clearly focused on Iowa.

Heck, Penn State has’t won at Iowa since 1999. The Nittany Lions have not had success against the Hawkeyes so there is no reason to be looking past them.

Both teams enter Saturday night’s game at Kinnick Stadium on positive notes. Penn State has won four straight and have improved in every game. Iowa, after a shaky start to the season, had a huge double overtime win over Michigan State last week.

I wouldn’t expect the Hawkeyes to be able to score a ton of points on the Penn State defense. Of course, a bunch of turnovers could change that.

Penn State, though, has done a good job of protecting the ball all season. Matt McGloin has played as well as any quarterback in the conference. If he continues his improvement, the Lions should be able to get enough points to win.

Penn State 21, Iowa 13.

Kevin McGuire: If Mark Weisman is indeed unavailable, Penn State has an advantage but it will still be difficult. For as much as Iowa has struggled to keep running backs healthy, they always seem to have somebody line up and ready to go. Enter Greg Garmon, a freshman from Pennsylvania. Many suspect though that if Weisman is not available, then the success of the Hawkeyes will fall on quarterback James Vandenberg, a player who has received a bunch of preseason hype among Big Ten quarterbacks but has just two touchdown passes this fall. If Penn State can put him under pressure, advantage Nittany Lions.

But this is Iowa, at home. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems for Penn State. I can see Vandenberg having some success against Penn State's secondary but I cannot see Iowa finding enough points against this defense. For years Penn State's failures against Iowa have partially been a result of a stale and vanilla offensive game plan. That certainly will not be the case this week, with an extra week for Bill O'Brien to prepare.

I have Penn State returning home with a 23-17 victory.

Let us know what predictions you have for the game by leaving a comment below.

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