IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa leads the nation in interceptions and Penn State features one of the most dynamic passing combinations in Sean Clifford and Jahan Dotson.
How the third-ranked Hawkeyes fare in their showdown with No. 4 Penn State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday could hinge on whether they can keep Clifford and Dotson under control.
Clifford has thrown for more than 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns. Six of those have gone to Dotson, who has 446 receiving yards on a Big Ten-leading 35 catches.
In the 28 games Clifford and Dotson have played together they have connected a program-record 18 times for touchdowns.
"A lot of it will come down to execution," said Iowa quarterback Spencer Petrus. "They know what we are going to do and we know what they are going to do. And that really is the fun part. It's what makes it good, it's basically saying let the best man win."
The game needs no build-up. It's No. 3 vs. No 4. Another step towards a Big Ten title and a playoff spot. But in the end, it's just another chapter in the budding rivalry.
"If you talk about programs that really don't need much explanation, Penn State is in that handful of national teams," said Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz. "So, it's a challenge when you play them. One thing for sure, going back a long ways, if you're not ready to play it could be embarrassing so you better get ready to play."
This Saturday will mark the sixth time these teams have met as ranked opponents, but none of those times were they both ranked as high as they are this week.
"Penn State plays in a lot more of these than we do right, I haven't done the research, but it's just what you want to play for," Ferentz said. "It's fun when the chips are on the table, and that's good, it's still about trying to beat your opponent, and that's what it boils down to."
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