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But it's been more difficult to get a read on coach Joe Paterno's unblemished yet untested Nittany Lions in 2009.
The Nittany Lions' motivation, however, will be hard to miss.
A loss to the Hawkeyes spoiled
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL have made
The Nittany Lions came in 9-0 and ranked third in the nation on Nov. 8, but couldn't hold on to a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium. All-conference quarterback Daryll Clark threw for 86 yards and a late interception in his worst game of the season, and
"I don't know what revenge has got to do with it in football," Paterno said. "It's not like they sneaked up on us and stuck us in the back with a knife or something. They played a good football game and they beat us."
"Oh yeah, they are going to (want) some revenge on us," Klug said. "We are going to have to bring our 'A' game."
Clark bounced back by throwing for an average of 284.7 yards in the Nittany Lions' final three games - including a 38-24 Rose Bowl loss to
He's matched those totals exactly in
After Clark carried the offense in wins over
"I just think we were a little tougher across the line of scrimmage,'' Paterno said. "... We played with a little more bounce.''
The Nittany Lions have outscored their three opponents 90-20, though
Sean Lee missed the entire 2008 season with a right knee injury, but was named the Big Ten's defensive player of the week after recording 12 tackles and a sack against the Owls. But Lee left in the second half with a sprained left knee, and watched practice Tuesday without pads.
Navorro Bowman, who tied a team high with eight tackles and recovered a fumble in the loss to the Hawkeyes a year ago, hasn't played since the opener due to a groin injury. Bowman returned to practice Tuesday and was able to push off his right leg.
Lee and Bowman are both listed as possible on the depth chart.
"I don't really know whether (we'll) have either one of them,'' Paterno said. "You keep your fingers crossed that you'll have one or both of them.''
Johnson-Koulianos' absence could be critical, as he had seven catches for 89 yards and a touchdown in Iowa's upset of Penn State last season. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi, however, has found some other weapons.
Both senior Trey Stross and sophomore Marvin McNutt are averaging more than 15 yards per catch, but perhaps the most significant development for
Freshman Brandon Wegher gained 101 yards in a 35-3 victory at
"We have two guys that really haven't played very much, and I think probably what we saw with Adam today, he's benefiting from the experience a little bit," Ferentz said. "He's gaining ground (on
The Nittany Lions have won 24 straight home games against unranked opponents by an average of 26.4 points.
Posted: 9/22/09 8:37PM ET