A Brief Look At Penn State’s Past Visits To Kinnick Stadium

No. 4 Penn State will travel to Iowa City to take on No. 3 ranked Iowa on Saturday. The game will be a big test for the Nittany Lions this season, both due to the Hawkeyes’ talent and Kinnick Stadium’s challenging environment.

This is far from the first time that Penn State has visited Kinnick Stadium, though. The two teams actually have a history of playing each other that goes back almost 100 years.

Penn State has an all-time 10-5 record at Kinnick Stadium, with the first game between these two dating back to November 15, 1930, when the Nittany Lions lost 19-0.

The first time Penn State won at Kinnick Stadium was on September 25, 1971. In a 44-14 victory, the Nittany Lions controlled the game with their rushing attack that day. Franco Harris rushed 27 times for a total of 133 yards and four touchdowns, while Lydell Mitchell ran for 195 yards on 25 carries. The 1971 Penn State team finished with a 10-1 record after it beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl.

Some of Penn State and Iowa’s best games came more recently. 2017’s battle at Kinnick Stadium stands out as an immediate classic. The Nittany Lions won the game 21-19, but it was arguably one of the most entertaining Penn State football games of all time thanks to Saquon Barkley, who ran for 211 yards on just 28 carries with one touchdown, plus 12 catches for 94 yards.

Even with all of that work put in by Barkley, the Nittany Lions trailed 19-15 with just four seconds left on the clock. James Franklin put the ball in the hands of quarterback Trace McSorley, who threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Juwan Johnson in the back of the end zone as time expired to give Penn State the win.

The last time the Nittany Lions played Kinnick Stadium was in 2019. They won 17-12 in a low-scoring defensive battle. In that matchup, quarterback Sean Clifford struggled and completed only 50% of his passes for 117 yards.

Penn State was up just 10-6 in the fourth quarter when safety Jaquan Brisker saved the game for the Nittany Lions with a big interception with only 9:22 left in the game. His pick led to a five-yard Noah Cain touchdown that iced the game for Penn State.

Although Penn State has had its fair share of success at Kinnick Stadium, this top-tier Iowa team presents a unique challenge. In fact, it’ll be one of few matchups in Nittany Lions history between two top-five-ranked teams.

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About the Author

Ethan Bell

Ethan is a freshman majoring in journalism at Penn State. He loves all things Pittsburgh sports and is the best league commissioner of all time in Fantasy Football. He is from Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and he swears that Fiori's in Pittsburgh is the best pizza in the world. If you want to get a hold of him, follow him on Twitter @EBell45 or email him at [email protected].

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