Behind Enemy Lines: Getting to know the Iowa Hawkeyes with John Steppe of The Gazette

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The massive showdown between undefeated Penn State and Iowa is nearly upon us, and the anticipation for this year’s meeting is unrivaled in the history of this Big Ten series. With both teams ranked in the top four of the major polls behind Alabama and Georgia, the stakes have never been higher either.

To get a better feel about Iowa, we talked to John Steppe who covers Iowa for The Gazette in Iowa.

1. What were your initial thoughts when you saw Penn State on the Iowa schedule?

John: Iowa and Penn State have played a lot of great games over the years, so it was definitely a matchup that caught my eye.

2. Who on Iowa’s offense should Penn State be concerned with the most?

John: Quarterback Spencer Petras has shown improved accuracy as the season has progressed, so I think he will be interesting to watch. Iowa’s receiving corps has a lot of depth, so it’s hard to predict which receiver will stand out on any given day. Iowa had four different players lead the team in receiving yards in the first five games.

3. For those who don’t follow Iowa, what makes this matchup very interesting?

John: A win could mark a turning point for the trajectory of Iowa’s football program. This is already the Hawkeyes’ longest stretch in the top five of the AP Poll since 2002. A loss, on the other hand, would mean Iowa would likely have to wait for the Big Ten Championship Game for its next chance at a signature win.

4. What did you take away from last year’s encounter?

John: I wasn’t covering the Hawkeyes at the time, but I see some similarities between how Iowa won last year in State College and how Iowa has won in the first five games this season. The Hawkeyes forced four Penn State turnovers and turned that into 24 points. That has been the recipe for success for Iowa this season, too.

5. What is one reason why Iowa defeats Penn State?

John: I think whichever team wins the turnover battle Saturday will win the game. Iowa has certainly succeeded in that category through the first five games. Does that continue Saturday? If so, I see Iowa winning.

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