IOWA AT PENN STATE
WEEK 5: 2:30 P.M., BEAVER STADIUM
RADIO: WOC (1420 AM)
LINE: Iowa by 2.5
SERIES: Penn State 17-12
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Tyler Goodson’s feet: Working behind an offensive line that has developed the cohesion it takes for the Hawkeyes to top 200 rushing yards the past two games, the Iowa sophomore ranks third in the Big Ten with an average of 93.8 rushing yards per game. Goodson and Mekhi Sargent have combined for nine of the 11 touchdowns Iowa has run for this season as part of a ground game which is averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
Whoever is under center: Penn State coach James Franklin hasn’t named a starting quarterback this week, saying both Sean Clifford and Will Levis could see action. Levis replaced the 6-foot-2 junior following a pair of early turnovers in last week’s 30-23 loss at Nebraska. Clifford, 11-2 as a starter last season, has completed 56.9% of his passes this season. Levis, a 6-3 sophomore, completed 14-of-31 passes for 219 yards and rushed for 61 more last week at Nebraska. Clifford is the team’s second-leading rusher.
Jack Koerner’s hands: The Iowa safety has intercepted a pass in Iowa’s last three games, extending a string of games where the Hawkeyes have had at least one interception to 11. Riley Moss and Barrington Wade join Koerner with multiple picks this season. Iowa has eight interceptions as team, second in the Big Ten to Indiana’s 11. Opportunities could exist. Penn State quarterbacks have thrown six picks through four games.
Productive pass catchers: With top projected running backs Journey Brown and Noah Cain out because of health issues, Devyn Ford leads a Penn State ground game which has served as complement to talented receivers. Veteran tight end Pat Freiermuth and Jahan Dotson share the team lead with 23 receptions. Dotson is fifth in the Big Ten with 97 receiving yards per game and leads the league with five touchdown receptions. Receiver Parker Washington is the only freshman in the nation to have three 70 or more receiving-yard game.
Iowa’s front four: Led by Daviyon Nixon at a tackle spot and Zach VanValkenburg from an end position, the Hawkeyes’ rotation with its defensive front four has been disruptive. The pair combine for half of the 24 tackles for a loss Iowa has recorded this season. Nixon currently leads the Big Ten with seven tackles for a loss and VanValkenburg is third in the league with five tackles behind the line of scrimmage and shares the Big Ten lead with 3.5 sacks. On the other end of the front four, Chauncey Golston has recorded four tackles for a loss.
— Steve Batterson
IOWA (2-2, 2-2)
INTERCEPTIONS: Jack Koerner 3, Riley Moss 2, Barrington Wade 2
SACKS: Zach VanValkenburg 3.5, Daviyon Nixon 3
TACKLES: Nick Niemann 32, Seth Benson 28, Jack Koerner 25, Daviyon Nixon 23, Riley Moss 21
PUNT RETURNS: Charlie Jones 10-150-15.0
KICKOFF RETURNS: Ihmir Smith-Marsette 4-98-24.5
PENN STATE (0-4, 0-4)
INTERCEPTIONS: Brandon Smith 1, Lamont Wade 1
SACKS: Brandon Smith 2, Shaka Toney 2
TACKLES: Ellis Brooks 31, Jayson Owen 27, Jaquan Brisker 24, Jesse Luketa 24, PJ Mustipher 21
PUNT RETURNS: Jahan Dotson 2-32-16.0-0
KICKOFF RETURNS: Devyn Ford 4-89-22.3-0, Parker Washington 3-57-19.0-00
IOWA LB NICK NIEMANN VS. PENN STATE TE PAT FREIREMUTH: Hawkeye linebackers and defensive backs will need to keep an eye on the 6-foot-5, 258-pound junior. Freiremuth holds the Penn State record for touchdowns by a tight end with 16 scoring receptions, passing Mike Gesicki on the all-time list this season. He has caught at least one pass in 29 straight games and enters the Iowa game after catching seven balls for a career-high 113 yards last week at Nebraska. Niemann leads the Hawkeyes with 32 tackles through four games.
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