Sports

Clifford, No. 10 Penn State host 17th-ranked Iowa

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) passes over Purdue linebacker Ben Holt (44) in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) passes over Purdue linebacker Ben Holt (44) in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. AP Photo

No. 10 Penn State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 17 Iowa (4-1, 0-1), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT (ABC).

Line: Penn State by 3 1/2.

Series record: Penn State leads 16-12.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

The Nittany Lions expect to run into their first real challenge in Kinnick Stadium where the Hawkeyes will try to rebound from a close loss to Michigan in their Big Ten opener. Both teams are propelled by top 10 defenses.

KEY MATCHUP

Iowa's passing offense vs. Penn State's secondary: Iowa QB Nate Stanley was intercepted three times a week ago with two in the first half that spoiled Iowa's offensive rhythm. The Nittany Lions' talented secondary has been feeding off a frightening pass rush and probably should have more picks than the four they've been able to snag. They have given up big plays at times, however.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Penn State: QB Sean Clifford. Having thrown for 289 yards per game with 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions thus far, Clifford's career is off to a good start. Teammates feel his running and scrambling abilities are still under appreciated, however. He'll likely need to utilize them as the Hawkeyes' 12th-ranked passing defense has covered receivers well downfield.

Iowa: OTs Tristan Wirfs and Alaric Jackson. The Hawkeyes struggled to fend off Michigan's pass rush last week and surrendered eight sacks as a result. Penn State's starters Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney combined for five of Penn State's 10 sacks against Purdue and will have their ears pinned back for this one.

FACTS & FIGURES

Penn State is allowing just 7.4 points per game while Iowa is giving up just 8.8. . In the Big Ten, only Penn State and Wisconsin (4) have allowed fewer touchdowns than Iowa (5). . The last two meetings have been decided by a combined eight points. Penn State has won five straight in the series. . Iowa's last win came in 2010. . Penn State is 0-8 against Top 25 teams on the road since Franklin started in 2014. . Stanley needs one TD pass to tie Drew Tate for second on the program's all-time list with 61. . Iowa's Tyler Goodson leads all Big Ten RBs with 14 receptions.

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