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Clobbered In 2016, Can The Hawkeyes Get Revenge Against Penn State?

Clobbered In 2016, Can The Hawkeyes Get Revenge Against Penn State?

With all the focus on Penn State's prolific offense and Heisman candidates, it might be easy to overlook the Nittany Lions' defense.

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Now the stakes get cranked up a notch.

SUN-GAZETTE FILE Lewisburg High School graduate Brandon Smith and Penn State open Big Ten play this weekend at Iowa.

Iowa has been pretty middle-of-the-road on both sides of the ball, averaging 398 yards on offense and allowing 335 yards on defense.

Iowa also stunned then-No. The Nittany Lions picked off three passes last week in a shutout of Georgia State, and Allen, in his 42nd game, snagged the first interception of his career.

"The coaches are preparing us for all those things, all the way down to the pink locker room", offensive tackle Andrew Nelson said. "Coming off the Loyola game, where we didn't have our best performance, I was really proud with how our kids responded".

The Nittany Lions have only given up one touchdown all season. Wisconsin will look to continue its winning ways at home against Michigan State and Michigan next.

By contrast, future Big Ten opponents are 17-7 so far this season.

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Penn State coach James Franklin is a perfectionist when it comes to detail in preparation for the team's next game, and that routine was ramped up this week as he readied the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions for their Big Ten opener and first road game of 2017, Saturday night at unbeaten Iowa.

"I don't know all the seniors in the country, but my guess is he would have been pretty high a year ago".

Kinnick Stadium will be rocking and the Hawkeyes have a chance to start out their Big Ten season with a huge win over the defending conference champs.

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For more insight on the Hawkeyes, we caught up with Marc Morehouse - the Iowa beat writer for the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

"We're just going to step up to the challenge and have our own energy, have our own standard, regardless of what the crowd is doing".

Cothren was a key cog in Penn State's improbable run to the Big Ten title previous year, starting 13 games and earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from the league coaches.

In that span, the Nittany Lions will host No. 8 Michigan in a "white-out" night contest on October 21, then visit No. 10 Ohio State on October 28 and the east's other consistent threat, Michigan State, on November 4. Although with this game being quite out of reach for a win, that's what we said against MI in 2016. But if Penn State can answer this challenge, things could be going right along according to plan to defend the conference crown later on.

PennLive's Bob Flounders, Greg Pickel and Dustin Hockensmith also talk Penn State football on the Keystone Sports Network.

But none of those three wins came against above-.500 teams. 3 MI 14-13 a year ago as a 24-point underdog.

"The fact that our defense is getting people to third down, I think, is a positive", Franklin said about his team forcing 55 third downs. "Each game stands alone". We respect them. We want to be prepared.

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Junior running back Saquon Barkley has backed up the hype surrounding him to begin the 2017 season.

"You can't give the ball away and hope to win against great teams, " Easley said.

This season, Barkley has accounted for 300+ yards on 38 attempts with three touchdowns.

Last season, schedule of strength was the primary reason for Penn State's exclusion from the CFP, and a loss to Pitt, and blowout loss to MI, really spelled the end for that dream, even with the Nittany Lions going undefeated the rest of the way, beating Ohio State in Happy Valley, and winning the B1G Championship at the end of the season. Penn State in giving up 126 ypg rushing on their end which to a Penn State fan could be concerning. "I think we have a team that should and will do well in the Big Ten, but we have to get complete buy-in from everybody, and when we have opportunities, we have to score goals, and we can't break down defensively like we did against Loyola".