Iowa hosts Penn State in the Big Ten opener for both. The Hawkeyes are hoping to win their third straight game in the series and open the league race with a win. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says each conference game is going to be important, and while he says it’s not the end of the road if you don’t win the first one, it makes it a lot tougher to win the conference.

Ferentz is 7-2 against the Nittany Lions. He says the Hawks have played well against Penn State over the past few years and that’s what it will take in this one. He says historically against Penn State you have to play your best football and that’s what they have done in the games they have won.

Ferentz calls this a typical Penn State team which are always good defensively and can run the ball. He says they take care of the basics and are well coached.

Iowa State returns to Big 12 action at home against Texas Tech. Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads said this week he expects Austen Arnaud to start at quarterback but Jerome Tiller could see time as well. In the midst of the toughest part of their schedule the Cyclones need more points. Rhoads says the offensive line and quarterback are the two key areas of the offense and he says there’s plenty of room for improvement in their offense.

Rhoads says the defense needs to remain strong in the red zone and force teams to settle foe field goals and not touchdowns. He says they are giving up a lot of yardage, but he says they don’t have to let a team score a touchdown in the redzone. Rhoads says the field shrinks in the red zone and that makes it tougher to score.

Tommy Tubberville is in his first season as the head coach at Texas Tech but their style still resembles that of former coach Mike Leech. Rhoads says they still throw the ball a lot, and he says that’s not Tubberville’s style, but Rhoads says Tubberville will do what works for his football team.

Two teams that are better than their records meet in the UNI-Dome on Saturday when UNI hosts South Dakota State.

UNI coach Mark Farley says they are in conference play now and that means everything. He says they had to learn the hard way in the nonconference games, and hopefully that will pay off.

He says the Jackrabbits are much better than their 0-3 record as the losses to Nebraska, Delaware and Illinois State are all to teams that haven’t lost a game yet.

U.N.I. is 1-2 but it is all about the Missouri Valley Football Conference now, as he says the win-loss records don’t mean anything until the teams start playing each other in the conference.

Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein contributed to this story.