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.
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.
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.
Penn State 35, Iowa 31