The Iowa football team and Penn State face off for just the 29th time Saturday and own a 5-game winning streak. Here’s a look at the history of this series.
Most people probably forget that Penn State didn’t join the Big Ten until the early 90s, and since that time the Iowa football team is 9-10 versus the Nittany Lions which is significantly worsened by a five-game losing streak to their Big Ten foes in Pennsylvania. Including the full history of this series, the Iowa football team is 12-16 versus Penn State in a series that dates back to 1930.
But while the Hawks have not been successful recently in terms of wins and losses, that five-game winning streak isn’t as bright as it may seem for Penn State (and yes, I am aware that I am about to use an argument many Iowa State fans use when discussing their losing streak to Iowa).
The last three times these two teams faced off, Penn State was ranked while the Hawks were ranked just once, and in two of those matchups, it was a one-score game that Iowa very much could have won.
This year, however, the tides have turned.
Both teams are talented and ranked, but instead of playing in Happy Valley like last year in averse conditions or playing against a future superstar running back in Saqoun Barkley that made the Hawks defense look like they were playing in slow-motion, things should be equal this year.
Equal in the sense that Penn State has to head to Kinnick where they have won at just twice in the last twenty years. And equal in the sense that Penn State, while talented, doesn’t have a guy who automatically makes them a favorite in games like this.
So while Penn State is the winner of this series all-time and in recent history, when these two teams meet Saturday, it presents an ideal opportunity for the Iowa football team to begin cutting into the Nittany Lions four-game series lead.