Saturday, September 23, 2017

Big Ten Football opener: Penn State @ Iowa from Kinnick Stadium

Iowa City, IA -- The Iowa Hawkeyes (3-0) host the defending Big Ten champion, Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0) in the Big Ten opener at Kinnick Stadium for the 2017 College Football season. The Nittany Lions are a 12-1/2 point favorite on the road.

ANF Spirit Day at Kinnick Stadium

Last year, it was all Penn State, when the Nittany Lions took down Iowa 41-14 in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions have won nine straight games against Big Ten opponents, after losing last year's conference opener at Michigan 49-10.

Penn State is hoping to work there way into the College Football Playoff picture in 2017. Of course, the Hawkeyes seek to be a thorn, as they were back in 2008, when Penn State was undefeated and in discussion for the BCS title game. The Hawkeyes pulled off a last second field goal to win 24-23.

The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions are in the second of six straight East vs. West match ups, due to Big Ten scheduling. The Nittany Lions have won three straight (2011, 2012 and 2016) in the series. Iowa's last B1G win in the series was at Kinnick in a 24-3 outcome, in 2010.

This is first time a James Franklin team has played in Iowa City. Franklin enters his fourth season at the helm for Penn State, with high hopes for another Big Ten title. The offense is lead by second year offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.

Penn State James Franklin
On the flip side, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is the dean of College Football now, as he enters his 19th season as head coach, and 28th overall. The Hawkeyes opened 2017 with a new offensive coordinator, as the head coach's son, Brian Ferentz, moves from offensive line coach to OC, after five seasons, in the program.

All three phases of the game will be important in tonight's game, but offense will be particularly interesting, with the outstanding group Penn State has developed in year four under Franklin and OC Moorhead.

  • Junior RB 26 Saquon Barkley is considered the best in College Football at his position
  • Senior TE 88 Mike Gesicki is considered one of the best in College Football
  • Junior QB 9 Trace McSorley is coming off a breakout sophomore season in '16
  • Penn State may have the strongest receiver corp in the Big Ten and will go 3 wide 

In most games, line play is extremely important and this may be the area of the game the Hawkeyes can equalize and compete. But, the Iowa Hawkeyes will have to score points, as well.
  • Sophomore QB 4 Nate Stanley enters the game with 10 TDs and only one interception
  • Senior RB 25 Akrum Wadley was held to 30 yards last season, but broke out the following week in a home upset win over Michigan. The Hawkeyes are hoping for similar magic ...
  • Iowa is young at TE, with sophomore 87 Noah Fant and redshirt freshmen 38 TJ Hookenson
  • Iowa is using new WRs in 2017, though fifth year senior 89 Matt VandeBerg has experience

Most around the country are picking Penn State, though covering the spread may be in question.

If the Hawkeyes are going to have a chance, winning the game
begins in offensive and defensive lines at Kinnick Stadium.
The 12th man likely plays a key, as well.

Is it upset Saturday?

  • Iowa Hawkeyes 27
  • Penn State Nittany Lions 26

Dreams are made to come true, right?

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