One key running back involved in preparations for Saturday’s Penn State-Iowa game has fully recovered from an ankle injury.
And this one doesn’t play for the Hawkeyes.
Penn State running backs coach Charles London said sophomore Bill Belton benefited from the Nittany Lions’ bye week.
Belton suffered a high ankle sprain against Ohio University on Sept. 1. He missed three straight games, rushed for 65 yards on 16 carries at Illinois and only appeared in the first half of this month’s 39-28 victory over Northwestern.
London hinted in a conference call with reporters Thursday that Belton will play a bigger role in Penn State’s offense Saturday.
“Bill is fully recovered from his injury,” London said. “The bye week really helped him heal up. He’s still developing as a player. He hasn’t played the position for that long of period of a time, but he still does some things really well. He’s going to be a big part of our game plan come Saturday.”
Iowa also has a prominent back trying to recover from an ankle injury.
Mark Weisman, who has four straight 100-yard games, sprained his ankle in last week’s victory at Michigan State.
Weisman isn’t listed on the Hawkeyes’ depth chart. Ferentz said in his weekly radio show that the sophomore has returned to practice.
Greg Garmon, who played at McDowell High School in Erie, will likely slide into Iowa’s top spot if Weisman can’t play.
Scoring more points
Offensive junkies haven’t admired recent Penn State-Iowa games. The teams have combined to eclipse 40 points just once in their past six meetings. The stretch includes Iowa’s ugly 6-4 victory at Beaver Stadium in 2004.
Last year’s meeting proved easy on the Beaver Stadium scoreboard bulbs. Penn State won 13-3, and neither team eclipsed 170 passing yards.
One prominent player said he doesn’t expect an offensive clunker this year.
“It won’t be a low-scoring game,” Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin said. “We are very confident in our offense and our ability to put up points. Iowa has a very experienced quarterback. They have a good football team. They will be able to put some points up. I don’t think it will be low-scoring because everybody will be juiced up, ready to go and understand that you have to score to win in this game.”
Smith’s hand broken
Coach Bill O’Brien revealed during his weekly radio show Thursday that redshirt freshman left tackle Donovan Smith is playing with a broken right hand.
Smith started and wore a large cast around the hand during this month’s game against Northwestern. Smith, who missed two games last month because of an ankle injury he suffered at Virginia, will continue wearing the cast until the hand heals.
Follow Guy Cipriano on Twitter @cdtguy.