After a poor season in 2022 following a Big Ten championship game appearance in 2021, Iowa football brought in some transfers on the offense to fix the scoring woes from last year. Quarterback Cade McNamara and tight end Erick All both played together at Michigan, and now they are both with the Hawkeyes. With those guys on the offense, specifically McNamara as QB1, fans were expecting a much improved unit this season. However, so far, the Iowa offense hasn't looked that much better than they did a year ago.
So far, the Hawkeyes are 3-0 with wins against Utah State, Iowa State and Western Michigan, and they are ranked #24 in the country, so that's a good sign. Iowa football has never been a team to put up a lot of style points, and just getting the win is all that matters. In three games, Iowa has scored 24, 20 and 41 points. Hawkeyes fans were thrilled last week seeing a 41 on the scoreboard, as that doesn't happen too often for Iowa. Still, it was just Western Michigan, and Iowa fans would like to see a score like that in conference play.
The Hawkeyes have their first conference test this week and it is going to be a tough one. Iowa football is hitting the road to take on Penn State under the lights in State College. This game is Penn State's annual white out game, and the environment is going to be electric. This is going to be a big challenge for Iowa, and they will need to bring their A-game to have a chance in this one. Here are four predictions for the big game in the Big Ten.
Iowa will punt at least eight times
This is going to be a busy day for the Iowa punter. This offense hasn't done enough to prove that they can find success against a team as good as Penn State. Add in the fact that it's a white out at night, and it's not a good recipe for the Iowa football offense. The Nittany Lion's defense has looked good this season, and they have a lot of playmakers on that side of the football. It's going to be a long night for the Hawkeyes on offense.
Cade McNamara will throw for under 150 yards
With the style of offense that Iowa plays, it will be hard for them to generate a lot of success in the passing game against the Penn State defense. Iowa will have to lean on the run game, and if they can't get things going on the ground, they aren't going to have any success. They are a physical team, and they need to play to their strengths. If the game ends up coming down to making plays through the air, Iowa will be in trouble.
Iowa will not have any touchdown receptions
If Iowa is going to have success on offense, it's going to be on the ground, and even that will be difficult. The Hawkeyes can run the ball pretty well, and that is how they can wear down the Penn State defense. If they get the ball in the red zone, it will be smash mouth football for Iowa. The Hawkeyes aren't going to find the end zone throwing the football. If they can get the run game going, they can hang around. If not, things will get ugly quick.
Iowa will score single digit points
All signs point to this being a low scoring game for both teams, but specifically for Iowa. Penn State is favored by 14.5 going into the game, and they're not going to have to score a lot to cover that. Points are going to be tough to come by for the Hawkeyes on Saturday night, and Penn State very well could hold them to under 1o points. Expect the Nittany Lions to win this one easily.
Iowa vs. Penn State kicks off on Saturday night at 7:30 ET from Beaver Stadium in State College, PA.