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Penn State vs. Iowa

Betting Line: Iowa -7 o/u 41.5

10/2/10

The Iowa Hawkeyes were on upset alert two weeks ago when they played Arizona on the road, and it turns out it was for good reason. They got down early and tried to comeback, but ended up losing 34-27. The season is far from over, but every game is a must win from here on out if they want to keep their BCS hopes alive. The reigning Orange Bowl winners will host the Penn State Nittany Lions this week. Both teams are 3-1. The Hawkeyes are ranked #17 in the nation, and the Nittany Lions are #22. Iowa has opened a 7 point favorite.

Penn State is 1-5 ATS in it's last 6 games against Iowa. The Hawkeyes are 7-1 SU in their last 8 games against Penn State, and 18-3 in their last 21 home games. They were 3-3 as home favorites in 2009. The Nittany Lions finished 4-0 ATS when traveling in 2009.

Injuries have plagued both of these teams. The Hawkeyes will be without RB Jewel Hampton. He tore his ACL against Arizona. Sophomore Adam Robinson will take over as the fulltime RB after missing last year due to an injury. Penn State will have to make do without TE Andrew Szczerba. This won't be the first game he has missed. Talented WR Shawney Kersey will be out for the Nittany Lions after missing practice due to discontent about lack of playing time. His team will be thin at the WR position.

HC Kirk Ferentz has put together a strong offense. It all starts with QB Ricky Stanzi. The senior has passed for 999 yards and 9 TDs thus far in 2010. That is pretty impressive through 4 games. Sophomore RB Adam Robinson has chalked up 385 yards and 6 TDs while averaging 5.6 YPC in 2010. Senior WR Darrel Johnson-Koulianos has been rock solid so far in 2010 with 17 catches for 270 yards and 3 TDs. The offensive line is young and has been hot and cold. They allowed Stanzi to go down an unacceptable 6 times against Arizona, but have done well otherwise.

Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions haven't had the easiest go of things on offense. They had 439 total yards against the Temple Owls, but only scored 22 points. If not for a stout effort from the defense, Penn State may have dropped a game to a team that we would never think capable of beating them. The offensive line is doing their job very well. They have allowed only a single sack this year. It's up to the skill players to get the job done. That starts with freshman QB Robert Boulden. The youngster has displayed plenty of potential tossing 3 TD passes for 823 yards, but his team needs more if they are going to compete in the Big 10 in 2010. 

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The Penn State defense is giving up 275.5/YPG. They have sacked opposing QBs 7 times so far in this young season. One of the biggest failures of this team has been in the turnover department. The offense is still getting its bearings under a young QB. If the defense could produce key INTs it would go a long way towards getting a victory on the road. Expect JoePa to have them playing big time football.

The Hawkeyes defense features 1st Team All Big 10 DE Adrian Clayborn. The big 'fella can keep pressure on a QB like its going out of style. SS Tyler Sash is also a pivotal cog in the defense. He was 1st Team All Big 10 after grabbing whopping 6 INTs in 2009. The Iowa defense has produced 6 sacks in 2010, and has allowed an average of 228.5/YPG.

Both teams have played and beaten 3 cupcakes and both have lost to the only "good" teams they have played. Can't learn much from that. Penn State has an offensive yards per point number of 16 while Iowa weighs in with a 12.4. Edge to Iowa, but remember, Penn State played Alabama. The defensive ypp numbers favor Penn State slightly as their number is 21 with Iowa at 19. Both solid numbers.

We lean towards taking the touchdown here with Penn State but will back off the side here for now. Iowa figures to get a boost from the home crowd with this being a rare night game at Kinnick Stadium, but this game opened up Iowa -4.5 and is now -7 so the value here is clearly with the Penn State side. We also favor the under here. It's a low total at 41.5 but we see this one as a low scoring affair, likely in the 30's or even lower.

Just opinions at the moment, but that could change. Check back. Penn State +7 and Under 41.5
 

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