Let’s see how they stack up:
PSU: Zack Mills, 6-3, 215, is an experienced player although only a sophomore. Zack led the Lions to three come from behind wins last year. He is also capable of scrambling for yardage.
Iowa: Brad Banks, 6-1, 210, is a great athlete still learning the complex Iowa offense. He is going to have win a game sometime by himself.
Advantage: EVEN. With four starts under his belt, Banks is not a rookie anymore.
PSU: Senior Larry Johnson, 6-2, 222, is a very good and complete running back. Sean McHugh is a bruising 6-5, 264 pound fullback AKA TE.
Iowa: Is Iowa’s ‘Mighty Mouse’ Fred Russell, 5-8, 190, ready to play? At full speed, his quickness adds verticality to the Iowa attack. Jermelle Lewis needs more reps to learn the nuances.
PSU: Penn State has the best set of receivers that the Hawks will play this year. Bryant Johnson, 6-2, 210, has all the tools. Tony Johnson has the talent we know goes with the name.
Iowa: The Bucknakeds, as C.J. Jones calls the wide receivers need to be exposed on national TV. Freshman Solomon is future all-star material. TE Dallas Clark is now healthy. Will the Lion backers be able to cover Dallas?
PSU: Lions have an experienced front wall rated third in the Big Ten.
Iowa: Iowa’s line is one of the two rated above.
PSU: DT’s Jimmy Kennedy, 6-5, 330, and Anthony Adams both have 1st round potential in next year’s NFL draft. DE’s Michael Haynes and Jeremiah Davis make this a formidable front wall.
Iowa: The Hawk DL will be facing the best offensive that they have faced so far this year. Do they answer the call?
PSU: Linebacker U. has talent but not their usual experience here.
Iowa: Barr, Worthy, Steen, Hodge, Follett and Greenway are the best 6 pack in Iowa City.
Advantage: Iowa. This would be considered heresy in State College.
PSU: The Lions should be strong here although their Pass D numbers don’t reflect that. The yardage given up to Central Florida and La. Tech is not indicative of the talent.
Iowa: Iowa’s inexperience has shown here. The small Iowa corners must cover the tall, swift Lion receivers without giving up too much ground. Can they do it?
PSU: PK Gould is a good kicker while Royer is an accurate placement punter.
Iowa: PK Kaeding is the best in the league. Bradley is an improved punter.
Advantage: IOWA. I hope we get into a FG battle.
PSU: Lions clobbered the dreaded Cornhuskers 40-7. Joe Pa has lost the last two games to a coach that played in his yard as a boy. The legend didn’t win 330 games by being a gracious host.
Iowa: Hawks need to win a big national game to get to the next level.
The ESPN National telecast begins at 11 a.m. The game should be a chess match. Brad Banks needs to step up and play a great game. I think he will. This could be an overtime thriller that will be determined by Nate Kaeding. Nate never misses!
HAWKS 27 LIONS 24 (OT)