Game Ball & Helmet Stickers: Iowa
As for the Game Ball? This week it's awarded to who else but the King himself, Saquon Barkley. He zigged, he zagged, he stutter-stepped, he cut on a dime and yep, he hurdled his way to a school record 358 total yards from scrimmage. In the process, he left jaws dropped and eyes wide open across America. If they didn’t know who my man was before Saturday night, they all do now as King ‘Quon finds himself back in the driver’s seat of the Heisman Trophy race after that spectacular performance. As much as I admittedly thought Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield may have locked up that trophy when he planted the OU flag on the Buckeye 50-yard line, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Mr. Barkley is head and shoulders above the rest.
McSorley garners the first Helmet Sticker for his performance in a more than hostile environment. He was harassed all night long but came through in the clutch. Juwan Johnson had his coming-out party to the tune of five catches for 92 yards and a ‘one for-the-ages’ touchdown. DaeSean Hamilton made some clutch catches of his own and inches ever-so-close to that all-time reception mark. One week after making his first appearance of the season, Saeed Blacknall made a crucial catch on fourth and two to extend the final drive. Defensively, enough can’t be said about Shareef Miller and how tough he's looked on the D-Line as he wore #19 in honor of the injured Torrance Brown for inspiration. The senior trio of Jason Cabinda, Marcus Allen, and Grant Haley played their guts out and Manny Bowen finally looked like a force to be reckoned with. Truth be told, the entire D was lights out up until the very end; a pleasant surprise.
After all the dust settled, it was clear that Penn State walked away with national respect. We were favored coming in, but the chance for Iowa to pull the upset was ripe. Most of the talk all week long leading up to this one was how the Hawkeyes had beaten the last three Top-5 opponents at home, including our own Nittany Lions in 2008. As much as they fought, as much as they clawed their way to another near upset, it was not meant to be for Iowa on this night. Penn State was the better team this week, no matter how close the score may have been, but the end, it was that heart of a champion that came shining through when we needed it most!