Penn State Hosts Iowa im ersten Ausweißenspiel
Pardon my phony Pennsylvania Dutch, but the first white-out game of the 2023 campaign is upon us, and Iowa is what Iowa is, and everybody knows what they are. According to James Franklin, “They are a base defense. They do what they do, and they do it extremely well and have been doing it a long time.” So, they are what they are. Great. Both teams are 3-0, and this is Iowa’s Big Ten opener. I won’t give rankings because they’re bullshit at this early juncture.
All this drivel recalls 6-4. Please, damnit, purge that memory sometime! Can’t … get … it … outta my head!
But it’s true. You know what you’ll get with Iowa. Serviceable defense with an occasional offense. They are what they are. And I’m Gumby, damnit!
No Offense, But…
They’ve got ex-Michigan QB Cade McNamara doing his Sean Clifford Act. He’s a 23-year-old, sixth-year senior at this point. His numbers, even behind a beefy offensive line averaging 310 lbs, have not been good. His August injury to his right quadriceps might have something to do with his less than sparkling performance in the first three games of 2023, where his QBRs have been 14.9, 48.0, and 32.4. Despite his big O-Line, he was sacked four times in the Western Michigan game last week. Methinks that his mobility, never very rabbit-like, is impaired even more than that which God stingily handed to him at birth.
Couple the ineffectual QB with the loss for the season of hotshot tight end Luke Lachey, the Hawkeyes’ leading receiver, and you reduce the aerial offense to short, safe passes. They’ll rely on the running game, where a trio of talented running backs might be trying to exploit Penn State’s undersized defensive front seven, where other teams have experienced success in the young season. Unfortunately, it will be a different trio than that which they employed last week. Two of those talented Iowa running backs were announced as injured and unavailable for the Penn State game, namely Kaleb Johnson and Jaziun Patterson, who have produced 195 yards between them. Leading rusher Leshon Williams is healthy, and he’ll be backed up by promising freshmen Kamari Moulton and Terrell Washington, Jr.
I think Iowa will be gaining some yards on the ground despite the absence of two leading rushers.
A Pitcher’s Duel?
Oh, no — don’t mention that 6-4 game again, ever! Yet, this could be a defense-oriented game. On the defensive side of the rock, Iowa is tied for 18th in scoring defense and 31st in total defense. They haven’t played anyone of note this year, but then again, neither has Penn State, so who knows what that means. Nevertheless, the prospect of defensive game on both sides of the ball looms large. In dat case, Penn State’s scoring defense ranks 13th and total defense ranks 16th, just for shits and grins.
Focus, Boys, Focus!
Facing three bye weeks (Northwestern, then a bona fide week off, then UMass) before their big denouement at the Horseshoe, Penn State better focus on this game and keep the mistakes to a minimum. Thinking ahead to a 6-0 record going into the Ohio State game is something for Sanguinarians, not for young college entrepreneurs who should be concerned about their NIL worth. Yea, verily, this is a game where we must go 1-0. So, no bullshit, guys. Penalties’ll killya, particularly crap like clocking a guy after the play is whistled dead, giving the enemy a cheap first down. The Paterno doghouse is no longer a threat to these guys, and it shows. “Fix mah arm, so mah NIL stock don’t go down!”
I believe that the punting game will be important against Iowa, so I hope they’re working on it. Both teams have some real return talent, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a punt returned for a touchdown on either side.
Now, the forecast calls for a chance of rain later in the day with a high of 68 and a low of 53. Inasmuch as the game will be played at 7:30 PM, this might be a factor. Too early to tell.
Da Bottom Line
Well, Mateys, you’ve reached the section of this column that is called the Official Turkey Poop Prediction, which is as good as the paper it isn’t written on because no one would ever print this crap out. I pride myself in being just as inaccurate as some of the weenies we see on pregame shows, and it shows.
Penn State is favored by 14.5 points. That’s a pretty big spread, given that they’re Iowa and they are what they are and they do what they do. And Popeye am what he am and that’s all what he am. Not surprisingly, the over/under is only 40. That would work out to a break-even final score of 26.5 – 13.5. Now, listen to me — Sanguinarians will tell you that Penn State has the longest streak of breaking 30 points in the entire world of college football profiteering, so we must — yes WE MUST score at least thirty points. Oh yeah? Penn State 27, Iowa 12. (The 12 is from a punt return for a TD, plus a field goal and a safety. The game will be tied 3-3 at halftime.). In any event, I’ll cover your spread already! And yeah, take the under. (Can’t shake that 6-4 game, ever).
I’ll be back in clean underwear after the game for a recap, a nightcap, and some typical Turkey bullshit.