The Nittany Lions will return home to Happy Valley on the wings of a four-game winning streak after having trounced Purdue in Indiana. They face an Iowa Hawkeyes squad that is 5-3 on the year and extremely hungry for a victory that would keep their hopes of entering a respectable bowl game intact.
State has as much confidence as they have had in nearly a decade after knocking off Ohio State two Saturdays ago and scoring 62 points on the road this past weekend. The offense is clicking, and running back Saquon Berkeley is quickly running himself into Heisman Trophy contention. Sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley is coming along far more quicker than former quarterback Christian Hackenberg did to this point in his career, and that has also bode well for a team that is clearly hitting their stride.
Iowa is always a gritty team that very rarely loses a game by more than a touchdown. They have coaching that knows how to matchup against opponents and neutralize their strengths while exploiting their weaknesses.
It is actually no secret that the Hawkeyes will be loading the box and hoping to shut down Barkley at the line of scrimmage, forcing McSorley into a situation where he will have to throw far more than his typical number of passes. McSorley has only thrown more than 27 passes once over the last six games after averaging 33 passes per game through the first two.
But all signs indicate that he is ready to do just that. The 6′ 0″ Virginia native can really put his name into the minds of NFL scouts with a solid performance against an always stout Iowa defense this weekend. The Nittany Lions are an eight point favorite in this game, a clear nod to just how far they have come over the course of the last month and a half.