Friday, September 25, 2009

Hope for the Hawkeyes? 

The undefeated but unranked Iowa Hawkeyes face their stiffest test so far this football season, traveling to Beaver Stadium to face the fifth ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in one of the biggest college football games of the week.

Last year, Iowa stunned an undefeated and highly ranked Penn State that had national championship aspirations 24-23 in Iowa City, on a last second field goal. The game this week is being viewed as a "revenge" game for Penn State and is getting a lot of hype despite Iowa's non-ranking. The game will be nationally televised Saturday night on ABC and ESPN will be broadcasting "Gameday" from State College. Penn State has called for a "white-out" game, encouraging all fans in attendance to wear white.

The odds would not seem to favor the Hawkeyes, who come in without last year's primary offensive weapon, Shonn Green, who rushed for more than 1,800 yards and now plays with the Jets. His backup is out for the year, leaving the Hawkeyes to rely on two freshmen running backs in what will be an extremely high pressure environment. The offense has had its problems as a result, most notably in the Hawkeyes season opener against the University of Northern Iowa, in which the heavily favored Hawkeyes had to do something that had never been done before in college football to escape with a 17-16 victory. Penn State has breezed to a 3-0 record and has yet to trail in a game this season.

Iowa fans are left to hang their hat on the fact that under Kirk Ferentz, the Hawkeyes have compiled a 6-2 record against the Nittany Lions. There is also the momentum factor. Iowa has not lost a game since defeating Penn State November 8 and has displayed its characteristically tough defense in victories over Iowa State and Arizona. Plus, most of the pressure would appear to be on Penn State, heavy favorites in the game.

Once again, however, the game is more critical to Penn State than to the Iowa Hawkeyes, who are underdogs on the road. Iowa can still have a decent season after losing this contest in Happy Valley.

For Penn State to lose at home to an unranked team would throw Joe Paterno's team out of the top 10 and make capturing the Big 10 title very difficult.
So the stage is set. In anticipation, the Bleacher Report considers four players who will be key to Iowa's chances for an upset.

Let's go Hawks!


By Blogger Kuhse, at Fri Sep 25, 09:39:00 AM:

Iowa 20, Penn State 13 - Stanzi throws for two TDs, but also gives Penn State a TD by either an interception or fumble. Iowa's defense is on the verge of greatness.  

By Anonymous iowahawk, at Fri Sep 25, 01:40:00 PM:

I'm usually a doom-and-gloomer when the Hawkeyes play a ranked opponent, especially on the road. That said, I think the current 10 point spread favoring Penn State is kinda ludicrous.

My guess:

Penn State 21
Iowa 17  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Sep 25, 09:22:00 PM:

I will be in attendance in State College, wearing the colors. If I don't come back, Iowahawk, I hope you explain my death in hilarious terms.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Sep 25, 10:43:00 PM:

Last year the Hawks did Penn State a favor, by saving them from the eventual humiliation of losing 63-0in the national title game. Look for another upset.  

By Blogger Kuhse, at Sun Sep 27, 12:58:00 AM:

Awesome game. The defense is unbelievable.
Best quote of the night was from Kirk Ferentz when asked after the game what he thought when Penn State scored the 79 yard touchdown on the first play. He echoed the thoughts of all Iowa fans when he said "crap".  

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