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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 loses in regular season finale at Iowa, 90-79

Penn State loses in regular season finale at Iowa, 90-79

BOX SCORE

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Senior star Peter Jok scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half and Iowa throttled Penn State 90-79 on Sunday, closing the regular season with four straight wins.

Nicholas Baer added 20 with 10 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (18-13, 10-8 Big Ten), who finished above .500 in conference play for the third year in a row.

Jok, starting his final scheduled home game, missed most of the first half after picking up two quick fouls. But the Hawkeyes reeled off a 14-0 run without him, jumping ahead 47-33 on a Jordan Bohannon 3 just before the end of the half.

Jok then opened the second half with 11 points in just three minutes, helping negate four consecutive made baskets by Penn State after the break. Jok's long 3 from the elbow made it 70-49 with 12:33 left -- and gave him 16 points in less than eight minutes.

Jok was pulled with 45 seconds left, and he got a standing ovation as he walked to the bench.

Josh Reaves had 25 points for the Nittany Lions (14-17, 6-12). They went on a 12-0 run and later closed with five straight baskets to make the final score look closer than the game actually was.

Big picture
Iowa: The Hawkeyes likely still have some work to do in next week's Big Ten Tournament. But the fact that they're in the NCAA Tournament discussion after a 3-5 start is remarkable -- as was the fact that, on Senior Day, 43 of their 47 first-half points came from underclassmen.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions had the Hawkeyes on their heels early, leading 25-24 at one point. But once Iowa found its footing, Penn State fell behind and never recovered. The Lions seem destined for a losing season barring a miraculous run in the Big Ten Tournament.

Up next
The Big Ten Tournament in Washington, D.C.

No. 20 Penn State vs. Iowa: Nittany Lions try to extend winning streak to 5

No. 20 Penn State vs. Iowa: Nittany Lions try to extend winning streak to 5

Penn State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) vs. Iowa (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten)
Beaver Stadium, State College, Pa.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Scouting Penn State
Saquon Barkley rushed for a career-high 207 yards as PSU rolled to a 62-24 victory at Purdue last week. It was the Lions’ most points in a game since they piled up 66 against Coastal Carolina in the 2008 opener, and their most in a Big Ten game since they generated 63 against Illinois in 2005. Barkley, who eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the second time in three games, leads the Big Ten with 888 yards on the ground.

Winners of their last four games, the Lions are No. 12 in the season's first College Football Rankings and jumped from 24th to 20th in the Associated Press poll. They entered the Coaches poll for the first time since 2011, at No. 23.

Quarterback Trace McSorley, who turned the ball over six times during PSU’s 2-2 start, has not coughed it up at all the last four games, having thrown 106 straight passes without an interception.

Scouting Iowa
Iowa was limited to 236 yards and held without a touchdown for the first time this season while losing last Saturday to Wisconsin, 17-9.

The Hawkeyes boast two gifted backs in Akrum Wadley (636 yards, eighth most in the Big Ten) and LeShun Daniels (624, 10th), but are just ninth in the Big Ten in rushing offense (167.9) and 12th in total offense (348.1).

Iowa is, however, good in the red zone on offense and defense, and has allowed the 16th-fewest points in the FBS (18.9 per game). The Hawkeyes are also plus-seven in turnover margin, which is 12th-best nationally. They have also allowed 20 sacks, the fourth most in the conference.

Iowa has won its last nine on the road, and five of its last seven in Beaver Stadium.

History
Penn State leads the all-time series 13-12 and has won the two most recent meetings, in 2011 and ’12.

Storyline to watch
Iowa is always solid and steady. The Hawkeyes have also wrecked PSU’s season before, notably handing it a 24-23 loss after the Lions won their first nine games in 2008.

What’s at stake
There are scenarios under which the Lions might make the Rose Bowl, should they win their last four games. Other gurus have them going to the Outback Bowl. Either way, there is a lot riding on the final month of their season.

Prediction
Penn State 28, Iowa 20