No. 4 Penn State at Iowa: Pair of unbeaten teams meet in Big Ten opener

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No. 4 Penn State at Iowa: Pair of unbeaten teams meet in Big Ten opener

No. 4 Penn State (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at Iowa (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) 
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC

Scouting Penn State
The fourth-ranked Nittany Lions (3-0) drubbed Georgia State, 56-0, last week, as Trace McSorley threw four touchdown passes and Saquon Barkley accumulated 226 all-purpose yards, 85 coming when he turned a short pass into a spectacular first-quarter touchdown. Barkley is second in the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (218.3), while McSorley is 10th in passing efficiency, having clicked on 67.1 percent of his throws, for 753 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice. The defense registered five takeaways last week, including three interceptions, and its six picks to date have all been by defensive backs. The secondary had six thefts all last season.

Scouting Iowa
The Hawkeyes (3-0) outlasted North Texas, 31-14, last week, as Nate Stanley threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns and freshman Ivory Kelly-Martin ran 11 times for 74 yards and two scores. Kelly-Martin and fellow freshman Toren Young saw extensive duty after Iowa’s top two tailbacks, Akrum Wadley and James Butler, were knocked out of the game with ankle and elbow injuries, respectively. Wadley, who is third in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards per game (170.0), is expected to play, but Butler is not. The defense is led by linebacker Josey Jewell, who is fifth in the conference in tackles, with 28. He also has a pair of sacks.

History
PSU leads the all-time series, 14-12, and won last year’s meeting, 41-14.

Storyline to watch
Lions coach James Franklin has expressed concern about his team’s play along both lines — how Penn State has neither run the ball consistently nor stopped the run as well as he might like. Those things are particularly critical in a conference like the Big Ten, which has always defined itself by its smash-mouth tendencies.

What's at stake?
This is Penn State’s first milepost in a season of great expectations — a road game against a tricky opponent. And certainly the Hawkeyes are eager to atone for last year’s poor performance against the Lions.

Prediction
Penn State 35, Iowa 31

Penn State moves to No. 2 in AP poll thanks to Clemson loss

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Penn State moves to No. 2 in AP poll thanks to Clemson loss

They didn't play this week, but Penn State football still moved up in the AP poll.

Four of last week's top 10 fell Saturday, including No. 2 Clemson. The Tigers were shocked by Syracuse on Saturday, losing 27-24 in the Carrier Dome.

As a result, Penn State, 31-7 winners over Northwestern last Saturday, take Clemson's spot. Alabama remains the only team ahead of the Nittany Lions. The Crimson Tide, who trounced Arkansas, 41-9, Saturday night, is the unanimous No. 1, receiving all 61 first-place votes. Georgia slides up a spot to No. 3, while No. 4 TCU and No. 5 Wisconsin round out the top five. 

Penn State was last ranked as high as No. 2 on Oct. 31, 1999. The Nittany Lions next play 5-1 Michigan, ranked No. 19, Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. 

For this week's full AP poll, click here

Penn State moves up to No. 3 in latest AP poll

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Penn State moves up to No. 3 in latest AP poll

It took a few weeks, but Penn State is finally moving on up in the AP poll.

By virtue of Saturday's 31-7 victory at Northwestern and Oklahoma's stunning loss at home to unranked heavy underdog Iowa State, Penn State has climbed up to No. 3 in the nation.

Penn State had been holding steady at No. 4 for the previous three weeks.

The Nittany Lions are behind only No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson, last season's National Championship Game participants.

Head coach James Franklin's team has a bye this coming week, and the Lions will need all the rest they can get as they'll return for back-to-back titanic matchups, first at home on Oct. 21 vs. No. 16 Michigan and then at The Horseshoe vs. No. 8 Ohio State on Oct. 28.

No. 4 Washington and No. 5 Georgia round out this week's Top 5.

For this week's full AP Poll, click here.