Penn State Beats Iowa on the Road
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Nittany Lions defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes in a defensive slugfest, as Penn State’s record now stands at 6-0.
To start the game, it was a struggle for Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, who started the game 0-for-5 and was sacked two times. This led to two straight three-in-outs for the Nittany Lions. However, the defense flew all over the field and stifled the Iowa offense throughout the entire first half, allowing only 49 rushing yards.
The biggest play of the first half came with just over eight minutes left in the second quarter when Sean Clifford found wide receiver KJ Hamler on an out route. Hamler turned upfield and flipped into the end zone for the touchdown, giving the Nittany Lions a 7-3 lead.
Although the offense only scored seven points, it was clear that Clifford's confidence grew as the game went on. He made plays with his legs and protected the football. It wasn’t the prettiest game for Clifford, but it was all that was needed in a low scoring game between two really good defenses.
The Hawkeyes would add a late field goal in the first half to cut the lead to 7-6 at halftime, in a half which saw a combined seven punts.
During the second half, it quickly became abundantly clear that Iowa had no answer for Noah Cain. The freshman running back ran all over the Iowa defense averaging an impressive 4.6 yards per carry.
“Noah Cain obviously played really well,” head Coach James Franklyn said. “He played extremely well.”
As the second-half wore on, the defense continued to play with an edge. Iowa’s first four possessions in the first half ended in: punt, fumble, punt, interception.
It would be the interception that would be the turning point in the game, as Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley airmailed a ball that landed in the waiting arms of Penn State defensive back Jaquan Brisker. The defense was dominant and shut down anything the Iowa offense threw at it.
“Defense has been playing great all year long and we were able to lean on them tonight,” Franklin said. “That was big time for us.”
Once Penn State got the ball back, it was a heavy dose of Noah Cain. He would have four rushing attempts and punched in a five-yard touchdown run with five minutes remaining in the game. This touchdown was a huge momentum boost for the Nittany Lions and would suck most of the air out of Iowa’s balloon.
Iowa would go on to put together their best drive of the game. The Hawkeye’s marched 87 yards down the field in 12 plays. The drive ended with their only touchdown on a 33-yard pass from Stanley to Brandon Smith who caught it over the head of John Reid. However, the touchdown was too little too late. On the next Penn State possession, Noah Cain would run out the clock on Iowa after converting a first down.
It was a big step in the right direction for Franklin and Penn State, as the win would be the first time that Franklin has beaten a ranked opponent on the road since taking over as head coach.
The Nittany Lions will take on the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, Oct, 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium. ESPN College GameDay also announced that theywill be at the White Out game for their third straight year.
Mitch Broder is a sophomore majoring in journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.
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