Hawkeye fans are in uncharted territory. Iowa opened the season with two ranked opponents and defied expectations with two resounding victories. This led to Iowa’s first entry into the top 5 APs in a generation.
As the Hawkeyes prepared for their first test drive in the Big Ten, the narrative turned to Iowa’s offensive struggles earlier in the year and the likelihood of them being toppled by a strong Maryland team. who could attack the Iowa offensive.
That narrative was blown out of the water on Friday night as the Iowa defense stifled a high-powered Terrapin offense and the Hawkeye offense had its best performance of the season. The performance was so positive that Iowa jumped two places in the national polls, pushing Penn State to No. 3 in the country.
This sets up a showdown between the Hawkeyes and the Nittany Lions on Saturday night when the top 5 teams first meet at Kinnick Stadium since 1985. The game will also be the Big Ten’s first with a pair of top 5 teams without. include Either Ohio state or Michigan since 1962.
To say the anticipation is palpable would be an understatement. Here’s what you need to know about this week’s historic clash between Iowa and Penn State.
Dated: saturday 9 october
Time: 3:00 p.m. CT
Match: # 4 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0, 1-0) to # 3 Iowa Hawkeye (5-0, 1-0)
Site: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Preliminary weather forecast: partly sunny with temperatures low to 80, 10% chance of rain
DraftKings opening line: Iowa -2.5, O / U 41.5
Saturday will mark the 31st meeting between the Hawkeyes and the Nittany Lions. Penn State holds a 17-13 lead in the series. That’s largely thanks to a six-game winning streak from 2011 to 2019.
The Hawkeyes stopped the streak last season by strangling Penn State 41-21 at State College. The 20-point margin of victory is Iowa’s second-largest in the series, dominated only by their second most recent victory against PSU in 2010.
The victory at Kinnick capped what had been a three-game streak for the Hawkeyes, who won eight of nine from 2000-2010. Kirk Ferentz did well against the Joe Paterno-led Nits, finishing 8-3 against him. all time.
Perhaps the most memorable of those wins came in 2009 when Adrian Clayborn put the Hawkeyes on the national card when he blocked, recovered and scored a touchdown on a punt in the rain. Iowa had nine straight wins to start this season before quarterback Ricky Stanzi lost to Northwestern. The Hawkeyes finished the year 7th nationally.
But PSU is no longer coached by the legendary Paterno and Ferentz has done much worse against his successors. Last year’s victory was Ferentz’s first against a Penn State club not coached by Paterno. He’s 1-4 all-time against current head coach James Franklin.
This weekend’s game won’t just be the first game featuring two top 5 teams at Kinnick since # 1 Hawkeyes defeated # 2 Michigan Wolverine in 1985, it will be the first Top 5 game for Penn State since 1999. The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 3 at the start of this season and beat Arizona No. 4 41-7 in week one.
PSU is 1-15 against top 5 opponents dating back to 2000 with the only win over # 2 Ohio State in 2016. The Nittany Lions haven’t beaten a top-5 team on the road since they beat # 5 Michigan in the Big House in 1994.
Iowa is 5-8 in games against top-5 opponents since 2000. Their only victory over a top-5 road team came during this 2009 trip to Happy Valley. The Hawkeyes are 4-2 against the top five teams at Kinnick Stadium since 2000. Both losses came to the No.1 Ohio State in 2006 and the Nittany Lions in 2017. Iowa did not lost a game to Kinnick as a top-5 team. since No.12 Penn State beat No.5 Iowa 20-17 in 1984.