#3 Iowa Slips Past #4 Penn State

Iowa's Spencer Petras connected with Nico Ragaini for a 44-yard touchdown with 6:26 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the #3 Hawkeyes a 23-20 lead. The score proved to be the game-winner for the Hawkeyes as they outlasted #4 Penn State in a sloppy, but entertaining affair in Iowa City.

After giving up an early field goal, Penn State took a 17-3 lead and it looked like the Nittany Lions were ready to roll the Hawkeyes. Then starting quarterback Sean Clifford was slammed into the Kinnick Stadium turf and the momentum changed.

Clifford, who rushed for an early touchdown, was escorted to Penn State locker room. This forced the Nittany Lions to turn to backup quarterback Ta'Quan Roberson. The wheels began to fall off for the Nittany Lions.

Roberson's first drive went like this:

  • Fumbled snap
  • Incomplete pass
  • Three straight false start penalties
  • 3-yard rush
  • Punt on 4th and 26

It became painfully obvious that offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich was content with having the sophomore signal-caller run the same game plan as the more experienced Clifford. This would become Penn State's fatal flaw as the game moved forward.

The Hawkeyes scored a touchdown and cut the Penn State lead to 17-10 at the half.

Penn State and Iowa would trade field goals in the third quarter. The Hawkeyes would add another field goal at 8:13 of the fourth to creep within four of the Nittany Lions, 20-16.

Penn State responded with a three-play, negative 19-yard penalty-filled "drive" that included a crucial chop block penalty. The penalty negated a 28-yard scamper by Roberson that would've given Penn State a first down. A false start pushed the Nittany Lions back another five yards, an incomplete pass followed to force a punt from the Penn State six-yard line.

Iowa scored the game-winning touchdown on the next play and sealed the game with two turnovers on downs and an interception.

Penn State falls to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are off next week and return to action on Saturday, October 23 against Illinois in Happy Valley.