UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa (WTAJ) — The story of Penn State football this year has been a myriad of tests, one seemingly stacked after another.
In the season opener, Penn State went to Wisconsin. Not only was playing a Big Ten team in week one unusual, so was playing a top-25 team. That was something the Nittany Lions hadn’t done in 20-years.
When the Nittany Lions came home, it was a homecoming of sorts as the team welcomed fans back to Beaver Stadium for the first time since 2019 for a game that was the most attended home-opener in more than a decade.
The following week Penn State hosted Auburn for the White Out.
An FCS game against Villanova gave fans a breath of air, but only for a moment as Indiana came to town for “The Revenge” game.
Now Penn State travels to Iowa for the one to rule them all.
In a battle of top-5 teams, this is the biggest of Penn State’s first-half schedule. It could be the most important on the books. Emotional fatigue is a real thing in sports.
When asked about that, defensive end Nick Tarburton echoed James Franklin’s favorite line “1-0, 1-0” and Franklin himself seeming to downplay the magnitude of not just Saturday’s game, but all of them.
“If you would spend a week with us, I think you’d see that our tone, our approach, our demeanor, our process is pretty consistent,” he said. “They’re [players] going to hear enough outside noise I want them to come into Lasch Building and know what to expect and what they’re going to get. I think the routine is important.”
Penn State ranks fourth in the AP poll, Iowa ranks third this week making this the 11th Penn State game with both teams ranked inside the top-5, but the first since 1999.
Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium is historically one of the toughest in the Big Ten, but Penn State is 10-5 all-time in Iowa City.