Despite loss to Penn State, Iowa's defense remains strong

Despite loss to Penn State, Iowa's defense remains strong

The Nittany Lions took down IN in a close game last weekend to get back IN the win column after the back-to-back losses, but the Hawkeyes will be looking to notch their first road win over a ranked team this season and their fourth victory IN a row. They also must give running back Miles Sanders holes to run through. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. Wisconsin hasn't played at Beaver Stadium since 2012, a 24-21 Penn State victory.

But the thing is, Penn State's offense - or any offense - relies on receivers to catch the ball when it's thrown to them. Before we look ahead to this week's opponent, the Iowa Hawkeyes, let's take a final look back at the Studs and Duds of Penn State against Indiana. He becomes the first Nittany Lion kicker to do so since Sam Ficken in 2013.

Penn State: QB Trace McSorley has been asked to do a ton lately. The Nittany Lions have not lost three straight homes games since 2015, when they were still recovering from NCAA sanctions in coach James Franklin's second season.

For a program that has been mostly on an upward trajectory since it surged to a Big Ten title in 2016, the next three weeks will determine whether Penn State is in the midst of a small-step-back season. Against these three teams, the offense has to execute smart, efficient game plans that feature McSorley in space as a runner, as well as wide receiver KJ Hamler. McSorley has added eight rushing touchdowns prior to the matchup with Iowa.

"Bottom line, he's a victor", Ferentz said.

The No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes are in the midst of a heated battle for the Big Ten West in ways that weren't totally expected.

"We were hoping to get him back in the game on Saturday and weren't able to do that", Franklin said. He has crunched the numbers and discovered a crucial x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-play Saturday.

Tommy Stevens played the next two series at quarterback for Penn State, scoring on a 3-yard run that was set up by John Reid's 41-yard interception return. Hockenson and Fant have combined for 736 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Between the injuries and inconsistent play, there could be an opportunity for some younger players like Jahan Dotson, Cam Sullivan-Brown, and Daniel George to play.

It's also probably not a good day for the offensive line when its starting quarterback is forced out of the game due to injury. The senior won't start, but should see time in reserve.

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