PSU vs. Iowa will be intriguing, different from past encounters
It’s been a decade, but when I think of Penn State-Iowa, I still think of 6-4. That Hawkeye win may have been the worst college football game I’ve ever watched.
Penn State’s offense was so awful that day that Iowa preferred to take its second safety of the day and kick from its own 20 late in the game, so confident were the Hawkeyes that the Lions wouldn’t even be able to get in field goal range to try and win it.
They were right.
Of course, so much has changed since then. Kirk Ferentz seemed to have Joe Paterno’s number, not quite the way Lloyd Carr at Michigan did, but enough that in a close game you just felt Ferentz would find a way to win it.
Not so with daredevil O’Brien at the helm. While some of the chances the Lions have taken have been out of necessity because of the non-existent field goal kicking, the success on so many fourth downs and on other gambles has given this offense a confidence it definitely lacked in prior years.
While Illinois is a bad team and may not be a fair barometer, the gusto with which PSU played on the road in the Big Ten shows that will likely be the style from here on out, at least as long as O’Brien is around.
Iowa, to me, is a bit of a suspect 4-2. Their QB is no game breaker, and they masked that last week by running on Sparty in that exciting overtime win at Michigan State. I don’t see that happening against this Penn State defensive front, and if the Lions can force Iowa to throw, that’s a good thing.
But, Kirk Ferentz showed last week in East Lansing he still knows how to pull out the close ones. He may well have a close one at home Saturday.
Just don’t expect it to be 6-4.