Rapid Reaction: Penn State holds on for win over Iowa
All the fans inside Beaver Stadium were holding their breath. The final minutes of the fourth quarter looked all too familiar.
First it was Ohio State with a late scoring drive to take a lead in the B1G East. Then it was Michigan State that eliminated the Nittany Lions from College Football Playoff contention. It looked like Iowa might be handing Penn State its third loss of the season.
This time, though, the Nittany Lions were able to hang on in a 30-24 win. Despite some late miscues, a struggle to move the football and a few turnovers, Penn State improved to 6-2 on the season and 3-2 in the B1G.
Penn State’s win over Iowa was a total team effort, too.
The offense sprung to life after a sluggish first quarter, outscoring the Hawkeyes 23-12 in the final three periods. The defense forced two turnovers. Kicker Jake Pinegar converted on all three field goal tries.
Sure, Penn State tried to gift wrap another game in the fourth quarter. It kept fans on the edge of the seat. With a 10-point lead and the ball late in the fourth quarter, you’d have thought James Franklin and the offense would’ve figured out a way to put the game away. Instead, McSorley through a pick-six, turning a 27-17 lead into a 27-24 dogfight.
And it was a fight until the very end.
But this was one that Penn State won. And while fans will wish the Lions would’ve figured out a way to close out games sooner, it’s an important realization even now. The next two weeks, Penn State takes on Michigan and Wisconsin before closing out the year with Rutgers and Maryland.
A B1G title and CFB Playoff berth may no longer be in the picture, but a New Years Six bowl game is certainly still in the cards.
It was another ugly day in Happy Valley. But this time, the Nittany Lions came out on top. And Penn State fans will gladly take the win, regardless of how it looked.