First Road Test: Penn State vs Iowa
The No. 4 Nittany Lions traveled to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday and barely escaped with a win. I was at a friend’s wedding in the middle of nowhere when Penn State narrowly escaped an upset against a stingy Iowa defense. I found a screen just in time to see the walk-off touchdown pass from Trace McSorley to Juwan Johnson on fourth down with four seconds left on the clock. Penn State escaped an upset against Iowa and won 21-19. The Nittany Lions remain undefeated as they return home to face Indiana.
Penn State Escaped an Upset Against Iowa
Saquon Barkley is no longer perceived as arguably the best player in the country. He is the best player in the country. According to Penn State head coach, James Franklin, Barkley “…was unbelievable.” Franklin further stated in his postgame interview with ABC, “I didn’t get to watch it from a fan’s perspective, but from a coach’s perspective, I’m not sure there is a better player in the country than this guy.”
Barkley’s impressive night included 211 rushing yards, 94 receiving yards and 53 return yards. A new Penn State record of 358 all-purpose yards. In addition, he entered the end zone on an impressive showing of footwork. Finally, Barkley’s most impressive play came in the third quarter when he hurdled a defender. This is nothing new for Nittany Lion fans, but he then broke another tackle on his way down and stayed on his feet for a first down. Showcasing his athleticism and strength.
The Penn State offense racked up 579 total yards in a game where they only scored 21 points, but it was enough to escape an upset in Iowa. Trace McSorley continued a record season, passing for 284 yards, one touchdown and one interception. McSorley spent another game spreading the ball around, utilizing eight different receivers. The upset was avoided when wide receiver Juwan Johnson got his first career touchdown reception to win the game in the final seconds. It was not pretty. The Nittany Lions committed too many penalties and there was a lack of production in the red zone. Overall, the offense got the job done, and Penn State escaped an upset in notoriously difficult Kinnick Stadium.
The Penn State defense will be without defensive end Torrence Brown for the remainder of the season. In Brown’s absence, Shareef Miller stepped up in a big way to ensure that Penn State escaped an upset against Iowa. Miller switched his jersey to Brown’s #19 and played his heart out with five tackles, two of which for loss. This effort helped hold the Iowa offense to 273 total yards and only 82 rushing yards. Iowa running back, Akrum Wadley, continued to show his skill with 155 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. The Nittany Lions forced a Wadley fumble, caused by safety Marcus Allen. Allen continued his dominating season with five tackles, two for loss, one sack, and a safety (whom he shared with Miller). The total defensive effort helped Penn State escape an upset in Iowa on Saturday night.
Next Saturday, the Nittany Lions return home to play Indiana. It is a 3:30 pm EDT kickoff in Beaver Stadium. Penn State will face an improving Hoosiers football team whose only loss is to Ohio State. The Nittany Lions will have to continue the entire team effort to stay undefeated and improve to 5-0 on the season.