Iowa-Penn State Game Preview

Will Bob Sanders Have a Happy Homecoming?

Iowa has won three of the last four games against legendary Penn State coach, Joe Paterno. Now Iowa must travel Saturday to play the revenge minded Jo Pa in recently expanded Beaver Stadium. All the 107,000+ seats should be filled as Nittany Lion faithful are smelling roses. ESPN will televise the game to a national television audience. Will this game be a coming out party for the Hawks?

Let's see how they stack up:

Quarterback

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.

Running Backs

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.

Advantage: EVEN.

Receivers

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?

Advantage: PSU.

Offensive Line

PSU: Lions have an experienced front wall rated third in the Big Ten.

Iowa: Iowa's line is one of the two rated above.

Advantage: Iowa.

Defensive Line

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?

Advantage: PSU.

Linebackers

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.

Defensive Backs

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?

Advantage: PSU.

Special Teams

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.

Intangibles:

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.

Advantage: PSU

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)

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