This weekend also marks the Lions’ first game on the road. Where might they be headed, you may ask?
To Hawkeye territory in Iowa.
A formidable opponent, Iowa has been known to give Penn State some trouble in the past. Last year, however, the Lions hosted the Hawkeyes and crushed them 41-14.
Iowa is currently 3-0 after defeating Wyoming, Iowa State and North Texas. However, as we all know, early season games are hardly indicators of how conference play will pan out.
Penn State has defeated the Hawkeyes in their last three meetings, and they look to continue to do so for a fourth time this Saturday.
Head Coach James Franklin addressed Iowa’s potential physical prowess straight on during his weekly press conference.
Lucky for Penn State, offensive anchors like quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) and running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) are up to the challenge. Barkley is currently second in the nation for rushing and receiving yards, averaging over 200 all-purpose yards per game.
Coach Franklin also noted increased usage of quarterback Tommy Stevens (Indianapolis, Ind.) so far this season as a playmaker.
“It allows us to get another guy involved in our game plan. It allows us to get Tommy game experience and get him on the field, which is always a challenging thing to do at the quarterback position,” noted Franklin. “It also puts another weapon on the field. He's a big, strong, fast guy, and defenses have to be concerned about him throwing the ball, as well.”
Stevens has already helped the Lions achieve a number of touchdowns, and fans should look for Stevens to make an appearance on the field yet again this Saturday against the Hawkeyes.
Defensively, the Lions are prepped and ready to take on whatever physicality Iowa may throw at them.
Senior linebacker Brandon Smith (Winfield, Pa.) is relaxed yet focused about this weekend’s game.
“We're really excited to get into Big Ten play. Iowa is going to be a great environment for us to play in,” said Smith. “They have had a lot of success at home the last few years. We're just going to have fun and do our process...and just enjoy it and make the most out of it.”
There you have it, Penn Staters. Can’t make it out to Iowa this weekend? Cheer on your favorite team from home by tuning into ABC for the 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff.