Rapid Reaction: Iowa wins third straight, sends Penn State to 0-5
Kirk Ferentz didn’t leave all 3 timeouts in Happy Valley, but Iowa did depart Beaver Stadium with its 3rd win in as many weeks as the Hawkeyes beat Penn State 41-21 with ease to end a six-game losing streak to the Nittany Lions.
After allowing Penn State to march down the field on its opening drive for a touchdown, the Hawkeyes responded with 31 straight points to take a commanding lead and remove any spirit from the Lions’ sidelines.
Iowa rolled out to its big lead on the strengths of its offensive line and run game, as Tyler Goodson and Mekhi Sargent frequently ripped off runs of greater than 5 yards , including 2 runs of at least 25 yards in length. The Hawkeyes finished with over 170 yards rushing for the 4th time this year.
Spencer Petras was clean and efficient, throwing for 186 yards on 18-of-28 passing and added a score with his feet from 3 yards out in the third quarter. While he didn’t throw an interception, he fumbled a snap in the third quarter that led to a Penn State touchdown.
Penn State appeared all but finished in the third quarter when starting quarterback Will Levis was pulled in favor of Sean Clifford with the Lions trailing 31-7. Clifford, Penn State’s starter all of last year and through the first 4 games of this season, immediately sparked the offense and went 2-of-2 for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns as Penn State clawed to within 10 points in the blink of an eye.
Clifford subsequently threw an interception on the next series, and the Hawkeyes capitalized with a field goal to end the comeback effort. Iowa forced 3 turnovers against Penn State, and have now forced multiple turnovers in every game this season.
Linebacker Nick Niemann had the game of his career, finishing with 16 tackles, 13 of which occurred in the first half. By comparison all of Penn State’s linebackers had 6 tackles through first half.
The loss drops Penn State to 0-5 for the first time in program history. The Lions were without starting tight end Pat Freiermuth for the entirety of the game, and starting running back Devyn Ford left the game after the first series with an injury.
Iowa now returns home for the first time in 3 weeks to play Nebraska.