IOWA CITY, Iowa — It's been almost 36 years since the last time Top-5 AP Ranked opponents faced off at Kinnick Stadium. That'll change Saturday when No. 3 Iowa hosts No. 4 Penn State.
It's a battle of 5-0 teams, each 2-0 in Big Ten conference play, and it's a game that has fans across the country buzzing.
The buzz is so big that council members from Pennsylvania and Iowa decided to get in on the action with a friendly wager for Saturday's contest.
Councilmen from the cities of Altoona, Iowa, and Altoona, Pennsylvania, each located in the central regions of their respective states, have agreed on a bet that involves some local favorites.
- If the Hawkeyes win: Pennsylvania council members will send a package of Mallo Cups, chocolate-covered marshmallows created by Boyer candy which they described as, "decadent, delicious and full of chocolaty goodness."
- If the Nittany Lions win: Iowa council members are sending a box of steaks from Big Steer restaurant, voted Iowa's best steakhouse in 2016.
According to the Des Moines Register, the proposition originated from one of the Altoona council members, who pitched the idea to Iowa members that quickly accepted.
"We were a little bit taken aback by their prize," Altoona Mayor Matt Pacifico said Monday. "I'm definitely really curious to see what the best steak in the entire state of Iowa tastes like after Penn State comes to Kinnick and wins on Saturday."
As for the game itself, the Hawkeyes are one of the hottest teams college football having won 11 straight going back to last season. In that span, Iowa has outscored opponents 380-141, averaging 34.5 points per game on offense while allowing just 12.8 ppg defensively.
Through five games this season, Iowa's defense leads the country in forced turnovers (16) and interceptions (12), and they've given up the second-fewest points (11.6 ppg) in all of college football.
Overall, Iowa defenders have scored 68 points off turnovers, with 24 of them coming last week in a 51-14 win against Maryland.
Offensively, the Hawkeyes' 320.0 yards per game are last in the Big Ten, but the team still ranks fourth in points per game (33.2) thanks to takeaways that set up prime scoring chances.
The strength of the Iowa offense comes from their rushing attack, led by junior Tyler Goodson (86.0 ypg) the team has averaged 126 rushing yards and totaled 10 touchdowns.
It won't be easy scoring on Penn State who has a defense just as tough, and they're coming off a 24-0 shutout of Indiana last week.
The Nittany Lions defense has allowed 12.0 points per game, good for the second-fewest in the Big Ten and third-fewest in the country.
Penn State's offense is also similar to Iowa's, averaging 30 points per game and using a (+6) turnover margin to set up scoring chances.
On paper, this matchup has all the makings of grind-it-out and gritty type of low-scoring game that old-school football fans live for.
That style of play is what Hawkeyes fans were treated to the last time two Top-5 teams took the field at Kinnick Stadium. That game ended with a 12-10 win by No. 1 Iowa over No. 2 Michigan on October 19, 1985.
We'll see if history has a way of repeating itself.
Kick-off between the Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions from Kinnick Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday.