IOWA CITY, Iowa – The 18th-ranked Hawkeyes face their toughest road test of the season on Saturday at No. 17 Penn State.
Beaver Stadium is always a tough place to play, so the rallying cry around Iowa City is 70 versus 107, meaning the 107,000 people expected to cheer on the Nittany Lions.
“It’s a challenge as a team to go into an environment like that and try and get a win, but it’s something you look forward to as a football player and a competitor,” Iowa senior safety Jake Gervase said. “Hopefully at the end of the game, we walk off the field as the winners of that game.”
The 6-1 Hawks are embracing the challenge.
“It’s gonna be loud in there, we practice with noise out on our fields,” Iowa sophomore offensive lineman Tristian Wirfs said. “You know, we just gotta come out ready to play just like every week and try and start fast. You know, communication’s gonna be big…and we just have to make sure everyone is on the same page.”
Playing at Penn State actually hasn’t been a house of horrors under Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes are 4-3 since 2000 at State College.
“One thing about playing Penn State — this has been true for a long, long time — you’re guaranteed they’re going to have good players,” Ferentz said. “They’ve recruited well forever up there. The other part about it, any time you go to State College, you’re going to play in a great venue. A very challenging place to play, a great college venue, loud crowd and enthusiastic crowd.”
The Hawkeyes haven’t come away victorious against a ranked opponent on the road since beating No. 20 Northwestern 40-10 in 2015.
For more Hawkeye coverage, follow @AdamJRossow and @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter and Facebook — and Hawkeye Headquarters on OurQuadCities.com all season. We’re the only Quad-Cities station to follow Iowa at home and on the road, so travel with us to Penn State, Purdue and Illinois to finish off the season.