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Old 09-27-2002, 04:13 PM   #1
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Default Iowa at Penn State Selection

PENN STATE -7Ĺ over Iowa

The undefeated and 12th-ranked Nittany Lions open their 10th season of Big Ten action when they play host to the Hawkeyes. Iowa jumped out to a 2-0 start before dropping a 36-31 decision to in-state rival Iowa State on Sept. 14th in a PRO INFO SPORTS winning selection. The Hawkeyes responded by beating up on visiting patsy, Utah State, last Saturday, 48-7. Iowa has won their last two meetings with PSU -- 24-18 in the league opener in Iowa City last year, as well as a 26-23 double-overtime thriller at Beaver Stadium in 2000. These new-and-improved Nittany Lions will be looking to avenge those defeats as they come into this contest with the confidence of being one of the hottest teams in the country right now. Coach Joe Paterno's squad has really turned it on since opening the season with a less-than-inspired 27-24 win over UCF. Since then, the Lions have mauled both nationally-ranked Nebraska and Louisiana Tech at home. They will look to continue the momentum here before heading out on the road for the first time this year next week.

Penn State has used a run-stuffing effort to force opponents into a passing mode. The PSU defensive front has been spectacular here in the early going, and we look for them to effectively shut down the Iowa running game, forcing Hawkeye QB Brad Banks to beat them, which we don't see as likely. Even against the likes of Utah State last week, Banks finished 15 of 29 for 185 yards. Meanwhile, Penn State jacked-up for double-revenge vs. Iowa, especially for the huge 26-23 OT upset loss in "Happy Valley" in 2000. These more-aggressive Lions already have 8 takeaways in 3 games after only 12 all of last year. As Iowa State showed in their come-from-behind win at Iowa, the Hawekeys will cough it up against big, physical teams. We expect Penn State to take several away from Iowa here. State's collection of skill-position players (QB Zack Mills, RB Larry Johnson, WRs Bryant Johnson and Tony Johnson, and QB/RB/WR Michael Robinson) are among the country's best. And now, the play calling and the offensive philosophy have caught up to the talents of the players and should be no match for a game, but simply less-skilled Hawkeye defense.

Iowa is just 7-12 ATS as road dog since '97, and 9-14 ATS as a conference road underdog. It's usually in the early going when the Hawkeyes are exposed as over-rated. Iowa's "M-O" is to schedule poor teams to run up the score and some easy wins; however, this usually leaves them in a position of not being prepared to scuffle with the big boys. In the past 10 years, Iowa has gone just 2-8 ATS in their first dog role of the season. Penn State, on the other hand, is for real, without question, and the resurgent Lions should be more than happy to bring the Hawkeyes back to reality. After his team got spanked in Happy Valley last week, 49-17, Louisiana Tech coach Jack Bicknell said "I really feel like Penn State is one of the top teams in the country." We havenít' heard anyone say that about Iowa this year, and we're not holding our breath. Penn State is 7-2 ATS vs. the Big 10, 6-1 ATS off a SU win, 7-1 ATS vs. .600 or better opposition, and 6-1 ATS as a favorite off a spread win of 10 points or more. Finally, they are 11-0 ATS when scoring at least 28 points, and 15-1 ATS in their last 16 SU wins. The Lions should roar to a comfortable win here.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: PENN STATE 30 IOWA 17
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Old 09-27-2002, 09:36 PM   #2
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I think the score will be a wider margin than that with Penn State winning, but that's why they play the games!
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Old 09-27-2002, 10:20 PM   #3
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Could very well be. We certainly wouldn't mind, of course, but we like to be somewhat conservative on any given side, and if they still look very solid, we usually have a play. Such is the case here.
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Old 09-29-2002, 12:05 PM   #4
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Iowa not only covered the spread, they won the game! Was a very entertaining game though, and I would have selected Penn State to win this game as well!

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Old 09-30-2002, 04:01 PM   #5
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LOL...I'm not going to give you to much crap because I thought PSU would win as well, but weird how your wrong again.
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Old 09-30-2002, 06:07 PM   #6
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Ricky,

Yes, well, that's the chance we take in posting a single play. Our top play on Saturday happened to be Iowa State over Nebraska. 'Dems da breaks.
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