Everybody knows the potential and high hopes that Penn State had for the 2018 but quietly and steadfastly it’s been the Iowa Hawkeyes that are making their way towards a possible conference title game berth. In the NCAAF week 9 Big 10 free pick the 6-1 Hawkeyes travel to Beaver Stadium to face the 5-2 Nittany Lions who are listed as -5.5 home favorites. This was a 2-point affair a year ago, is it time to take the points again today?
Will Iowa Simply “Outphysical” Penn State Today?
The Iowa Hawkeyes beat you down, it’s their M.O. The Hawks boast the nation’s 2nd ranked defense in total yards allowed and are also #2 in the country in rushing yards given up per game and 5th in points at just 14.5 per contest. Iowa seems to be cresting on that side of the ball too after shutting out Maryland 23-0 last week and beating Indiana 42-16 two weeks ago. Comparitively, PSU had to squeak out a 33-28 win over the Hoosiers last week. Something to be aware of in the NCAAF week 9 Big 10 free pick is that today will be Iowa’s 3rd road game in the last 4 weeks.
The name of the game for the Iowa offense is to protect QB Nate Stanley today as Penn State ranks 3rd in the country in sacks-per-game with 3.57. That’s actually a strong point for the Hawkeyes as they have given up just 6 sacks all year. Iowa has struggled to put points on the board against PSU their last two meetings however, scoring just 19 points last year and 14 the prior game. Even so, today’s total is 51 – does that mean a blowout is coming – and on which side?
Penn State Rushing Attack Faces Their Toughest Test
One of the reason that Iowa’s physical defense is a concern is because Penn State QB Trace McSorley has already run the ball 98 times this season (Iowa’s leading rusher Toren Young has 82 carries). PSU has been in three consecutive close, tough contests settled by a combined 10 points – although there was a bye week mixed in there. Also how will Penn State replace Saquon Barkley, who had 211 yards to lead the 21-19 Nittany Lions win in last year’s game? Obviously Miles Sanders has picked up the slack well, running for 772 yards this season but can he do that against Iowa’s defense that is allowing less than 80 ypg on the ground?
The Penn State defense has held Iowa in check over their last two meetings but they have shown signs of cracks in the foundation recently this season. The Nittany Lions have allowed 21+ points in four straight games including 28 last week to Indiana. The Hoosiers put up 554 total yards in that game including running the ball 45 times for 224 yards. That’s not exactly the type of momentum you want heading into this matchup of ranked teams. Will the home field ultimately get things turned around for the Nittany Lions in the NCAAF week 9 Big 10 free pick?
NCAAF Week 9 Big 10 Free Pick Betting
This contest feels like a field goal affair yet oddsmakers are confident that PSU will bounce back from losing 2 of their last 3 games, setting the line at PSU -5.5. The Hawkeyes may be getting a bit road weary, but they’re also playing with unabashed momentum right now. After today, Iowa plays Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, and Nebraska – all winnable games. Therefore a win today paves the way for a potential Big Ten West crown for the Hawkeyes. You have to think they bring their A game this afternoon in that regard.
Big Ten Free Pick: Iowa Hawkeyes +5.5