Despite defeating Iowa 41-13 last year, the Lions faced difficulty against the Hawkeyes’ strong defense.
Head Coach James Franklin opened his postgame press conference by giving credit where credit was due: to the Hawkeyes’ defense.
In true Big Ten fashion, this was a low scoring game.
In the first half, Penn State clinched just a field goal and then a safety to give them a 5-0 lead for much of the first half.
Shareef Miller (Philadelphia, Pa.) tackled Iowa’s Nathan Stanly eight minutes into the second quarter to give Penn State its second safety of the season.
Although Penn State’s offense was looking good, Iowa’s defense held strong. Just before halftime, the Hawkeyes broke through the Lions’ own defense and got the first touchdown of the game to bolster Iowa into the lead 7-5.
Penn State utilized Tyler Davis (St. Charles, Ill.) early on in the third to regain the lead with a 21 yard field goal after the team worked its way down the field.
An Iowa fumble led to Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) locking in the first Penn State touchdown of the game by methodically moving the chains with help from quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) and tight end Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.). Barkley ran for eight yards to secure the touchdown, giving PSU a 15-7 lead at the time.
Coach Franklin noted that he believes Barkley is currently the greatest player in college football.
“Then Saquon Barkley, I cannot imagine that there’s a better player in all of college football,” commented Franklin. “I’ve been doing this for 23 years and this guy is special, I don’t know what his stats were or what he did, but every time he touched the ball, I don’t care if it was a 20-yard run or an 8-yard run, it was something special, it really was.”
Despite Barkley’s magic, in a move uncharacteristic of Penn State, the Lions fumbled, but luckily, Iowa missed their field goal attempt.
Soon after, however, the Hawkeyes scored a touchdown after making three plays for 84 yards to bring the score alarmingly close, 15-13 with just minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
After Davis missed a PSU field goal attempt, Iowa secured yet another touchdown to give them a 19-15 lead. It would all come down to the final play of the game.
McSorley kept composed, and worked his magic on 12 plays for 95 yards. On the fourth down and goal line with four seconds remaining in the game, McSorley expertly found Juwan Johnson (Glassboro, N.J.) who caught the ball to give Penn State a touchdown and 21-19 victory in Hawkeye territory.
The team will have plenty of time this week to review tapes and prepare for a showdown against Indiana on Saturday at home with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. Let’s start the Big Ten home games off right, so come out and enjoy a fall Saturday with your favorite team!