Hawkeyes ramp up run going into rivalry game with Huskers

Iowa offensive lineman Justin Britt (63) lifts running back Tyler Goodson (15) in celebration after Goodson scored a touchdown against Minnesota during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, in Minneapolis.

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Beaver Stadium.

TV: Big Ten Network (Joe Beninati play-by-play, Matt Millen color, Rick Pizzo sideline).

2019 records: Penn State 11-2, 7-2 Big Ten, Iowa 10-3, 6-3 Big Ten.

Last week: Penn State lost 30-23 at Nebraska. Iowa won 35-7 at Minnesota.

Series and last meeting: Penn State leads 17-12 and has won six in a row. The Nittany Lions won the last meeting, 17-12, Oct. 12, 2019 at Kinnick Stadium.

Coach: Kirk Ferentz, 22nd year at Iowa, (164-106), 25th year overall (176-127).

Iowa’s best player: Offensive lineman Alaric Jackson.

Injury update: Iowa has been without two starting offensive linemen, G Coy Cronk and T Kyle Schott, for the past two weeks. They are questionable. DL John Waggoneer is listed at out.

For Penn State, offensive lineman Des Holmes and TE Zack Kuntz are questionable. Both missed last week.

Las Vegas says: Iowa is a 2.5-point favorite. The line has been unchanged through the week.

Outlook/notes: The Hawkeyes are pretty close to being 4-0. They led Purdue in the fourth quarter of a 24-20 loss week one, and led undefeated Northwestern 17-0 and 20-7 before losing, 21-20.

The last two weeks they’ve been able to simply run over two bad defenses (Michigan State, Minnesota). Soph QB Spencer Petras threw just 18 times in the Northwestern game, and the Hawkeyes have averaged just 5.63 yards per pass. Petras, a big guy (6-5, 230) and not a run threat, has completed a modest 54 percent of his throws for three TDs and four interceptions.

In short, if Penn State can hold up against the run (the Lions are 32nd in the country) they have a chance to defend Iowa.

This is much more about Lions’ psyche, though. They were the No. 8 team in the country a month ago. This season is already unsalvageable. Not to sound like a self-help guru, but are they still working through their loss or ready to start chipping away at the long-term damage?

Prediction: Penn State 27, Iowa 24.