No. 12 Penn State Stays Hot In 41-14 Hawkeye Thrashing
No. 12 Penn State (7-2, 5-1 Big Ten) showed why the College Football Playoff Committee thought so highly of it earlier this week, crushing Iowa 41-14 under the lights in Beaver Stadium.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions knew how important this game was and wasted no time in getting on the board. A Saquon Barkley leap followed by a beautiful keeper from Trace McSorley set up a wide open find to Saeed Blacknall in the corner of the endzone over potential first round pick Desmond King. The (semi) White Out crowd erupted, and the Lions grabbed hold of the momentum battle.
The Lions furthered that effort on the next drive by forcing the Hawkeyes to turn the ball over on downs after Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell combined to stuff Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard on fourth and one. Despite returning to the red zone after a bomb by McSorley to Godwin, Tyler Davis’ field goal attempt was promptly blocked.
The Lions stood tough, however, battling back against the Hawkeyes and keeping them out of the end zone. Two failed drives kept the score at 7-0 after one quarter. The Lions kept the Hawkeyes off the board once again after another successful defensive stand that resulted in Cabinda standing up Akrum Wadley to force the Hawkeyes to boot it away.
Saquon Barkley blew the lid off the stadium after his third down conversion attempt went 57 yards to the house. The carry brought him to 11 touchdowns on the season and gave the Lions a 14-point lead on the Hawkeyes. Momentum would remain on Penn State’s side. The Lions took the ball right back and led a commanding drive down the field. McSorley found his tight end Gesicki for what looked like a 44-yard pitch and catch, but Gesicki’s knee would later be called down. McSorley was unfazed; the mobile runner opted to take matters into his own hands and rush it himself to give the Lions a 21-0 lead over Iowa midway through the second quarter.
Iowa, in desperate need of a score, finally got on the scoreboard after a questionable roughing the passer call on Jason Cabinda put Iowa in optimal position. Wadley broke a pair of tackles before finding the open field and eventually the end zone.
The Lions kept momentum going coming out of halftime with a crucial sack by Evan Schwan and Kevin Givens to give the Lions another possession. Saquon Barkley led the charge with 2:58 to go in the third quarter, but it was Saeed Blacknall who took the Lions to the one — or so it seemed. The ball evidently hit the ground upon further review, and the play was called incomplete.
The Lions once again stole momentum after the Tyler Davis field goal. Troy Apke jumped in front of an errant Beathard pass to record his first-ever interception that set up McSorley’s find of a wide-open Barkley to put the lions up 34-7 early in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Tommy Stevens would take a jet sweep in for the touchdown from 13 yards out to cap the scoring for Penn State. Apke slipped over the middle and Jerminic Smith closed things out for the Hawkeyes, 41-14.
Player Of The Game
Trace McSorley | Redshirt sophomore | Quarterback
The Ashburn, Va., native finished with 280 total yards (40 rushing) and accounted for three touchdowns in the lopsided win.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Bloomington next Saturday for a conference tilt with Indiana. Kick time and network coverage has yet to be announced.