This Big Ten showdown was a must win for both teams.
No. 17 Penn State needed the momentum heading into the brunt of its schedule and No. 18 Iowa hoped to hold onto its new spotlight in the AP Poll with a victory. However on Saturday, fortune favored the home team, who took the game 30-24 at Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) used the duo of dual threats in the No. 1 and 2 quarterbacks. After Trace McSorley left the end of the first half with an apparent leg injury, backup Tommy Stevens showed off his mobility. McSorely would return after halftime, and do so in only the way a true dual threat can with a 50-plus yard touchdown run.
The Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-2) had an early lead, thanks for the effort of their defense and special teams, but couldn’t keep up with Penn State, which outscored Iowa 13-7 in the second half.
Three takeaways from No. 17 Penn State’s win over No. 18 Iowa
It just takes one play
How big is one play in October? Penn State will tell you its very big.
The Nittany Lions were trying to halt the momentum of the visiting Hawkeyes, who just scored on a pick-6 thrown by McSorley. Iowa responded with a field goal on the ensuing play to pull within six points of Penn State, 30-24. The Hawkeyes were eyeing the end zone on the Nittany Lions’ 3-yard line, and then Nick Scott happened.
Senior savior. ?
Iowa had one last chance, but this INT by @NittanyKidNick2 helped seal @PennStateFball’s Top 20 win in Happy Valley: pic.twitter.com/gDtQTXHGRI
This one play all but sealed the win.
Penn State without Trace McSorely isn’t so different
After an injury late in the second quarter took McSorley out of play for a few series, Penn State got a taste of what play could be like without its illusive quarterback — and it wasn’t awful.
Stevens came in and showed similar mobility as the senior starter and led the Nittany Lions final two first-half scoring drives, including an impressive dive into the end zone.
All tied up at Beaver [email protected]_II powers into the end zone to draw @PennStateFball even. pic.twitter.com/V3ZkLvMGqk
Stevens’ time was cut short after McSorely returned for the second half. His ability to use the run-pass option was in question after suffering the apparent leg injury, but McSorley quickly silenced any doubt with a 51-yard touchdown run to give Penn State its first lead of the game.
We’re no doctors, but sure looks like @McSorley_IX’s leg is [email protected] takes the lead early in the second half. pic.twitter.com/N6Hq5ofpIW
Stevens finished just 2-of-4 passing for 27 yards. He also rushed for 18 yards on five carries and the first-half touchdown. McSorley recorded 63 yards on the ground with the bulk coming after his injury. He had 12 carries. McSorley completed 11 of his 25 passes for 167 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Iowa got a special performance from its special teams and defense
You know what they say, offense wins games but defense wins championships. Well for Iowa, the Hawkeyes defense didn’t get them a win or a championship, but it put them awfully close to a big upset.
Iowa got out to an early lead in the first half with the help of two safeties. It was the first time a Big Ten team did that since Wisconsin faced Minnesota in November 2008. But, the Nittany Lions scored a touchdown to tie the score at 14 points apiece. The Hawkeyes answered with a field goal to retake the lead with less five minutes left in the second quarter, but after that Iowa couldn’t score.
The Hawkeyes turned it over on downs before halftime and came back out of the locker room to punt on their next five drives. Meanwhile, Penn State was building its lead, until the defense struck again. A pick-6 from Geno Stone kept Iowa in the running.
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Another @HawkeyeFootball non-offensive score:@GenoStone22 houses the INT to make it a three-point game. pic.twitter.com/EdW30mmt5p
In total, the defense and special teams scored 18 of the Hawkeyes’ 24 points.
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