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Big 10 Football
Pick With Analysis
Even after six games for each of these teams, it's still hard to get a read on either school. Penn State started the season with two losses to out of conference opponents. Since, they have won four straight including their most recent win over Northwestern. That was Northwestern's first loss, but they are another Big 10 squad people have questions about. Iowa has been even more up and down losing at home to Iowa State (9-6) and Central Michigan (32-31), both in very different games. The Hawkeyes most important win of the season came on the road last week at Michigan State when they pulled out a fourth quarter comeback and won in two overtimes. Because neither school has lost in Big 10 play, they each sit near the top of their respective divisions.
Both defenses have been solid for most of the season. Iowa had a small hiccup giving up 32 points to Central Michigan, but haven't given up more than 17 points otherwise. The Nittany Lions gave up 28 points to Northwestern last week, but no one scored more than 17 on them either outside of that game. There's no doubt this one will be an ugly Big 10 battle with Iowa only being favorites because they are at home.
James Vandenberg is not having the type of season many people envisioned for him in his senior year. Through six games, he only has two TDs and three INTs. In 2011 he managed to throw 25 touchdowns. The loss of wide receiver Marvin McNutt (1,315 yards, 12 TDs) has been more of a problem than anyone could have guessed. Vandenberg's top two wide receivers are catching a lot of balls (57 combined); they just aren't doing anything with them (one TD between them). An even bigger problem for this game is that their two starting RBs, Damon Bullock and Mark Weisman, will be out. Freshman running back Greg Garmon will get the start for the Hawkeyes, he only has 14 carries this season.
The Nittany Lions should be feeling pretty good about this matchup as their defense hasn't had many problems this year. In addition, their offense has gotten things going lately, scoring 37 points per game in their first two Big 10 games. Matthew McGloin doesn't have Silas Redd at his disposal anymore, but he's having by far the best season of his career. He already has 1,499 yards, 12 TDs and only two interceptions. Wide receiver Allen Robinson has been a beast for him with 41 catches and seven TDs. Zach Zwinak has taken over as the team's top tailback with at least 18 carries and 94 yards in three straight games.
When these teams faced off last year, neither offense could do much as it finished 13-3 in Penn State's favor at home. Vandenberg finished with zero TDs and two picks while McGloin threw for the game's only touchdown. This one could be much of the same.
The Nittany Lions have covered in five straight games while the Hawkeyes have covered in three of their last four overall. In this meeting, the home team is 4-1 ATS in their last five matchups and Penn State is just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 meetings. The under is 6-1-1 in the last eight games between the schools
We see a repeat of last years game here. Points figure to be hard to come by. Our model actually predicts a 15-14 final with Iowa on top. If the game plays out as expected, the +3 could come in real handy. The under 42 also looks to be worth a shot here. Penn State +3 and Under 42
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