Penn State and Iowa squared off Saturday night in a top-25 White Out matchup. The Nittany Lions entered the game as double-digit favorites against the Hawkeyes but the final outcome was even worse than imagined.

When it was all said and done, Penn State shut out Iowa with a dominant 31-0 showing in Happy Valley. And while the story of the night belongs to the Nittany Lions for what they did to the Hawkeyes, there should be more than enough heat to go around for Kirk and Brian Ferentz and the rest of the Iowa program.

Here are the key takeaways from the Week 4 outing:


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Drew Allar surgical in rout

Anyone looking at Allar’s 166 passing yards as the full story would be remiss. Yes, Allar did go 25-for-37 passing to get those yards, but other circumstances need to be considered.

One of the factors being the weather on a rainy Saturday night. With the conditions soaked, there was no reason to risk deep down the field throws.

Instead, Penn State used Allar to slice up the Hawkeye defense with 4 total touchdowns, including 2 to Tyler Warren that covered 9 total yards. Going against a Phil Parker defense, it was a major win for Allar and the offense.

Iowa offense reaches rock bottom

Heading into the game, it was always going to be a tall task for the Hawkeyes offensively. The struggles in Iowa City are well-documented, but Iowa entered the game without leading receiver Luke Lachey and the team’s two top running backs in Kaleb Johnson and Jaziun Patterson.

Still, it’s hard to find words for the complete ineptitude of the Hawkeyes for a team that finished with 76 total yards and 4 first downs. Cade McNamara — long viewed as the necessary upgrade at QB — finished 5-for-14 and 42 yards passing. The issues are far from solely on the QB however with 20 yards rushing yards on 17 carries. Iowa also lost 4 fumbles in the rout.

Penn State’s defense might be for real, but that does not fully explain the complete travesty that is Iowa’s offense.

Is this James Franklin’s best team?

Okay, okay, I understand the message will be “pump the brakes.” Especially when one considers that if this year’s team is Franklin’s current best, the 2024 squad should be even better. Still, let’s ask the question.

Throughout various times of Franklin’s tenure, Penn State has had strong teams, but it’s debatable whether those teams lacked a complete element. Some were dynamic defensively, others were electric offensively, but it’s rare to have a squad that possesses both aspects.

The full test of Penn State’s ability will always be how the team fares against the heavy hitters in Columbus and Ann Arbor, but it’s hard not to get excited about this team. Franklin has his dynamic QB with arm for days, the defense can get after the passer, and the ground game is strong behind a talented offensive line.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to dream a little bigger for Penn State.