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KEYS TO THE GAME IN REVIEW: IOWA VS PENN STATE

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All is not well.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Fair warning: today’s rendition of this will be (probably mercifully) short. There’s only so many times we can repeat ourselves, and besides it’s already Monday, we don’t need to pile on. At this point nine games in, it’s obvious where Iowa’s deficiencies lie. It’s also amazing (and depressing, so sorry) to think back on the level of excitement most fans had back in August. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling wholly apathetic heading into the game against Michigan this week. And on that note, let’s take a look at some the things Iowa managed to not do en route to losing on Saturday.

Contain Saquon Barkley

Nope. Barkley further cemented himself as one of the nation’s best tailbacks with over 200 all-purpose yards on 21 touches. The key for the Hawkeyes was to minimize explosive plays by Barkley—I think we all know how that turned out.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Protect CJ Beathard

Four sacks by the Nittany Lions tell the story here. Not much more to say here at this point; Iowa just doesn’t have the depth or talent on the offensive line to compete this year.

Find Offensive Balance/Consistency

When the Hawkeyes can’t run, they lose.

Penn State completely shut down any semblance of balance in Iowa’s offense. 30 rushing yards on 1.2 yards per carry will never get the job done, let alone on the road against a top-15 team. This has been a trend all season for the Hawks: in its four losses Iowa has not run for more than 83 yards. In five wins, the lowest rushing total is 179 yards against Minnesota. That’s a pretty stark trend that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Prediction: 23-17 Penn State

I expected a lot more out of Iowa’s defense in this game, but obviously my faith was misplaced. I shudder to think about what next weekend might look like.