Experts vote on Iowa football game with Penn State

Penn State’s No.4 vs.Iowa No.3 marks the first top-five clash between the Big Ten teams that has not included Michigan or Ohio State since 1962.

Ayrton Breckenridge

Herky waves a flag before a football game between the Iowa No.18 and Indiana No.17 at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 4, 2021. The Hawkeyes beat the Hoosiers 34-6. (Ayrton Breckenridge / The Iowan Daily)

Saturday’s game between the Penn State No.4 and the Iowa No.3 at Kinnick Stadium will be the first college football game this week. It could be the most anticipated game of the entire regular season.

And people are realizing it.

This meeting between the conference rivals marks the first time since November 24, 1962 that a top-five clash between the Big Ten teams has not included Michigan or Ohio State. Before the game kicks off at 3:05 p.m. Saturday (the game will air on FOX), find out what is being said about the Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions by analysts and reporters across the country.

Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports: “I have not hesitated with my criticisms on the Iowa offense this season. It’s a unit that for just about every measurement, whether it’s a traditional stat or an advanced metric, has been horrible. When asked to run the full length of the pitch and score a touchdown, Iowa was unable to do so consistently. However, he was more successful after turnovers, which provided shorter fields. I also came away encouraged by what I saw of Iowa’s offense against Maryland last week, as it was their best performance of the season.

“Penn State’s defense is better than Maryland’s, but something else about this game is worrying me. Quarterback Sean Clifford got off to a good start and exceeded my expectations, but looked shaky last week against Indiana even though the Nittany Lions won 24-0. Now I’m asked to trust him on the road in a tough environment against a defense that forces errors more than any other. I have to believe that Clifford flips the ball at least once, and in a game like this, that might be enough. Iowa 21, Penn State 17 | Iowa -1.5. “

RELATED: Where to watch Saturday’s Iowa-Penn State football game

Pat Forde, Sports Illustrated: “With four current unbeaten and one loss in Ohio State, don’t overlook the growing possibility that at least two Big Ten teams will be in contention early in the season. The winner of the Iowa-Penn State game on Saturday will be high in number one – and if that winner is the Hawkeyes, the rest of the schedule looks manageable. In the East, the five-Saturday stretch from Oct. 30 to Nov. 27 could be fun, with Michigan (5-0), Michigan State (5-0), Nittany Lions (5-0) and the Buckeyes (4-1) playing all three games against each other.

Ralph D. Russo, Associated Press: “Iowa’s only foray into the teeth of the Big Ten East is against Penn State, so the Hawkeyes must be feeling good about their chances of reaching the conference title game in an otherwise uninspiring division.”

Colin Cowherd and Joel Klatt, FOX:

Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports: “Certainly, no one would expect [Kirk] Ferentz to make a bold proclamation that Iowa is at the heart of the playoff race. But it is clear that this Iowa team has the ability and the trajectory to join the other benchmark Ferentz teams – the Orange Bowl teams in 2002 and 2009 and a Rose Bowl team in 2015. And staying strong, it seems there. have a potential path for a team like Iowa in a year where few programs are spectacular.

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Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN: “Iowa is the MMA fighter. Georgia and Alabama, some of these other teams, they come in the middle of the ring, MMA, boom, they have that knockout that’s in all highlights, right? So you have Iowa. Iowa is the guy that goes to round two and both sides bleed and then they put you in that inevitable chokehold and you’re like, ‘Oh my god. Try to hold on. No I can not. To withdraw. This is Iowa. It’s the style of football. You can hit the Iowa style offensively. Brian Ferentz as OC, Kirk’s son, he calls the game – and Iowa has been for millions of years – based on how they play on defense. They are trying to consume the clock. They play smart. They will convert at the third down. They will keep the ball away from you. They are 100th in the country in all-out attack, and that’s exactly where they want to be. They don’t care. And you could watch them if you’re a fan of the SEC or the Big 12, whatever, across the country and say, “Iowa? Oh, man. They are overrated. Until you step into the ring with them, you don’t want to be a part of it.

“So they’ve got Penn State this week, they’re doing business. If you make a mistake, Iowa capitalizes on that defense. They give their own offense a short field. That’s the recipe for winning games – good defense, don’t give up a big game, gain a field position, get the court short, hit the basket, score the touchdown, win in the safest way, old-fashioned football which by the way, still works. And he has a great team – Kirk Ferentz, a great coach – and don’t hit them just because they don’t play sexy football. It’s effective and they proved it last Friday and the way they played against Maryland.

“And now they get the big stage and we’ll see how they play against Penn State, who is dating Sean Clifford, when it comes to confidence. So you couldn’t have two better teams going against each other in a game opener in October than the way Clifford and Penn State, after the year they had last year, where it was just the season that they had. escaped COVID in a year. And they knew, coming in, ‘It’s a new year, a new start, a new offensive coordinator. Not this year. We are going to be different. And they have been. They are sitting there at 5-0, fourth in the country and playing great football. “

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