IN coach prepares for Penn State, praises Saquon Barkley, Trace McSorley

Penn State head coach James Franklin right shakes hands with stadium volunteers as the team arrives to take on Georgia State in an NCAA college football game in State College Pa. Saturday Sept. 16 2017
Sizing up Big Ten football as we (kinda) launch into conference season

26 September, 2017

On Saturday night the Nittany Lions went into one of the toughest night environments in the Big Ten at Kinnick Stadium and knocked off the Iowa Hawkeyes by a score of 21-19.

Starting this week against IN, IN a game PSU is favored by 18.

Save for Iowa picking off McSorley deep in Penn State territory which resulted in a touchdown throw on their first play of the drive, there's a good chance Iowa doesn't even score in the first half. Against the Hawkeyes, JoeMo's offense had five drives of 10 plays or Moor (head). The fifth? It was the game-winner. The Wolverines allowed just 12 yards to Purdue's rejuvenated offense during the second half on Saturday.

What a difference a year makes.

The Iowa offense, which had been dormant for most of the game, went 74 yards and 80 yards in the fourth quarter.

"Obviously the first thing you have to do is give the University of Iowa credit", Penn State coach James Franklin said. More vital: It also means the Nittany Lions are still in control of their destiny.

Here are some of the factors to consider as Penn State leaves Pennsylvania for the first time this season.

Set one was close early on, but the Nittany Lions used a strong, diverse offense to run away with the set late. MI is 3-0 but took a hit when leading receiver Tarik Black suffered a broken foot last week and is out indefinitely.

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Hidden statistic: The Lions converted 3-of-4 fourth downs, including the last one. That would be the 1996 squad, which opened the season with identical 24-7 wins over USC and Louisville and shutouts against Northern Illinois and Temple. It's the first time an Auburn player has scored five rushing touchdowns since Peyton Barber did it against San Jose State Spartans in 2015.

For Penn State the objective is simple: keep winning. I want to apologize to (Iowa) coach (Kirk) Ferentz, to (linebacker) Josey Jewell, their quarterback (Nathan Stanley), their entire team. A Big Ten program playing better than they had in generations, heading into Iowa City as a favorite in a night game, sees their entire team slip into neutral under the lights at Kinnick Stadium. I don't think Penn State will be able to move the ball as easily as it has.

Take the turn of events before halftime, for example. That place is going to be rocking Saturday night. He finished with seven tackles and two sacks. "The approach to the first half was great, the kids battled and worked hard, but we made too many mistakes that cost us points". "That's what we do all day". We made an emphasis on that over the off-season. Iowa tried for two again and failed to connect on the pass. It's a matter of us doing well against them and them doing well against us. Whether we got exhausted or got undisciplined with that one play. "It's just iron sharpening iron". What's important is that Michigan State won the 2016 edition of the rivalry and that they would not win another game the rest of the way. The Nittany Lions never flinched. Hand it to Cabinda: For him, and led by him, the Penn State defense has emerged from the shadows.

Should Penn State leave Iowa City unscathed, it still must survive MI and at Ohio State on October 21 and 28.

Worst kick: Tyler Davis pulled a 41-yard field goal left in the second quarter. So far, the Iowa defense has struggled with uptempo, mobile teams.

For Cabinda, it is a matter of that confidence now manifesting itself. After a timeout, Sweet posted a kill and Penn State hit wide to put NU back in front, 21-20. They have scored on just six of them.

"Night games at Kinnick are just awesome, " Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

We all thought we had seen this game before. That's where it comes from.

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