Penn State, Iowa Prepare For "Tug-Of-War"

No. 17 Iowa and No. 10 Penn State square off at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, and points figure to be at a premium

October 10, 2019 - 8:46 am
Sean Clifford Penn State

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No. 10 Penn State (5-0) is off to a great start this season. They’ve won every game, and they’re allowing just 7.4 points per game.

But their rest-of-season schedule is brutal, and it begins this Saturday night at No. 17 Iowa (4-1).

“Iowa is going to play better in that atmosphere,” Penn State radio voice Steve Jones said on Ferrall on the Bench. “It’s going to be a stripe-out, they’re going to wear different uniforms, and (Nate) Stanley is a good quarterback. Their defense is really good. You can talk about the offense struggling at Michigan, but they only gave up 10 points. So they’ve got a defense that can really play. Penn State’s got a defense that can really play. This could end up being a tug-of-war out there.”

After traveling to Iowa, Penn State hosts No. 16 Michigan (4-1), plays at Michigan State (4-2), at Minnesota (5-0) and, a few weeks later, at No. 3 Ohio State (6-0).

“I thought this schedule was really perfect for this team,” Jones said. “Come out of the gate, easy game (Idaho), then you play another game (Buffalo), then you play Pitt, then you get a bye week to reassess. Then they went to Maryland, first road test, won big. Came back, played homecoming (Purdue). Now they’ve got this game, Michigan, Michigan State, then a bye week to heal up a bit, reassess, and then hit the stretch game. You have a lot of tough games in a row, but there’s that bye week built in the middle that allows you to pull back a little bit.”

Last year, Penn State took a step back without Saquon Barkley. The Nittany Lions, however, have performed well in the post-Trace McSorley era.

Sean Clifford deserves credit for that. He has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,443 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s also rushed for 200 yards and two scores.

“I thought defensively they’d be this good,” Jones said. “Offensively, Clifford hadn’t started a game since he was a senior in high school, but you could see that this guy can really throw the football. The element that’s really helped him is his ability to occasionally tuck it and run it. That really benefits you in the red zone.”

Click below to listen to Jones’ interview in its entirety.