The #18 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1 Overall, 3-1 Big Ten) visit the #17 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2 Overall, 2-2 Big Ten) today for a 3:30 p.m. E.T. game. Iowa is third in the Big Ten West with Northwestern sitting in first and Wisconsin second. The Nittany Lions are fourth in the East of the Big Ten, as Michigan leads the division and OSU and MSU follow. This matchup is huge for both teams in terms of national ranking as well as their position in their respective divisions. Our Week 9 NCCAF Iowa plays Penn State pick has the Lions at either -5.5 or -6.5. Here is how we envision this Big Ten matchup playing out today at rainy and damp University Park, PA.
Ground Game Rules
The Nittany Lions come into this game averaging 240.7 YPG rushing. They pass for just about the same number of yards per game. Along with 11 passing TDs, QB Trace McSorely has eight running scores. He’s averaging 5.7 YPA. Junior RB Miles Sanders, who also has eight rushing TDs, is good for 6.5 yards per carry. The Lions will pass with freshman K.J. Hamler being the prime target.
The Hawkeye rush attack is less vibrant. Two sophomore running backs, Toren Young (4.9 YPA, 2 TDs) and Mekhi Sargent (4.1 YPA, 4 TDs), will share the ground attack duties. Iowa is averaging 165.4 YPG on the ground. QB Nate Stanley is a pocket passer who’s connecting on 61% of his tosses with 16 TD throws and six picks.
The bottom line, State has more offensive tools and punch. The Nittany Lions are averaging 42.6 PPG, while today’s opponent is good for 30.6.
Edge: Penn State
Will Defense Reign?
Our Week 9 NCCAF Iowa plays Penn State pick sees Iowa as having the edge on defense. The Hawkeyes are holding teams to 14.1 PPG, while the Lions are keeping teams at 22.0 PPG. Against Iowa, teams are averaging just 79.6 YPG on the ground.
They have 36 TFL. In the air, opponents are good for 178.6 YPG. PSU is giving up 392.0 YPG overall with 226.9 through the air. The Penn State defense does have 56 TFL. They’ve also posted two-dozen sacks.
Edge: Iowa Slight
History, Road/Home, and Weather
As of late, Penn State has dominated Iowa. They’ve won the last three, gone 2-1 ATS, and hit the over twice. In that time, the Nittany Lions have beaten the Hawkeyes by an average of 17 points. The Lions have a definite home field advantage. Plus, the weather, which is cold ansd rainy, will feature the Penn State rush attack.
Edge: Penn State
Our Week 9 NCCAF Iowa Plays Penn State Pick
Here’s how our Week 9 NCCAF Iowa plays Penn State pick sees this game unfolding. We like the Nittany Lions at -5.5. We think their diverse attack will help them in this game. Also, we envision their numerous offensive weapons offsetting the Iowa defensive advantage. Home field will be huge today.