Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says there are the same concerns just a different season as the Hawkeyes open the Big 10 race at home on Saturday night against Penn State. He says they have excellent players, good coaching and are the most stable program in the country.

Ferentz says they have had 51 wins in the last five years, including a couple of BCS Bowls and a Big Ten Championship. Iowa is 7-2 against the Nittany Lions under Ferentz but he says all the wins have been close. He says they don’t give up points, and the biggest margin of victory in the series has been 12 points. Ferentz says they have either had a close victory or gotten nailed pretty good by Penn State.

The Nittany Lions feature a true freshman at quarterback. Rob Bolden is connecting on 60 percent of his passes. Ferentz says he’s an excellent player who doesn’t look like he’s in awe of anything. Ferentz says while it is only the first game of the league race it is important to get off to a good start. He says the conference appears to be very strong and balanced and you can’t afford to wait around for Ohio State to lose a couple of games. He says to be at the top of the league you have to play your best every week.

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi is ranked fifth in the country in pass efficiency and has thrown nine touchdown passes against just one interception. He says Stanzi is off to a good start and has been leading the team well. Ferentz says he is like the rest of the team and the next eight weeks will define them.