On national television, with a transfer and former conference champion quarterback, Iowa had an opportunity to change the narrative about their offense. A chance to show an improvement and competitive nature against a national power. Instead, Iowa only further reinforced what’s proven to be the correct narrative. The Iowa offense is inept. It doesn’t matter what quarterback is under center, it doesn’t matter who is lined up out wide. Iowa failed to convert a first down for an entire 43:17 minutes of game time and ran a total of 33 offensive plays. Penn State, on the other hand, kept the Hawkeyes defense on the field for 97 plays, and won handily, 31-0. It was Iowa’s first shutout loss since 2000 when they lost 31-0 against Illinois.
Iowa’s second drive of the day began with an 18-yard quarterback run by Cade McNamara. Leshon Williams followed that up with a five-yard rush to get to the Penn State 25-yard line. In a 0-0 game, Iowa was looking to build some momentum. The ensuing play was a 12-yard pass to Erick All, and he fumbled on the tackle. Penn State caught their sliding momentum as they regained possession. They then drove 17 plays and 56 yards for a field goal. It was a drive that consumed 7:38 of the game clock.
Penn State would punt on their next possession after Iowa looked to stabilize things in their favor. The punt bounced off of the back of an Iowa gunner, and Penn State recovered in plus territory. The Nittany Lions then drove 39 yards in 10 plays, taking nearly five minutes off of the clock. A touchdown made it a 10-0 lead, and Iowa would never recover. Penn State took that lead into the half, and the deficit felt insurmountable. The Nittany Lions had run 48 plays to Iowa’s 21 and held the ball for nearly 22 minutes of the first half.
In a game like this one, Iowa is a team that needs to play a nearly perfect game. The whiteout crowd, rainy conditions, and top-10 opponent are a combination that allows no room for error. Iowa had costly errors early and never found an edge for the remainder of the contest. Penn State won the turnover battle 4-0, scoring 10 points off of Iowa’s turnovers.
Penn State Reinforces the Narrative of the Iowa Offense
After All’s fumble, Iowa proceeded to take the field for seven consecutive drives of three plays or less. The offense recorded zero first downs in the second and third quarters. It took until a Kamari Moulton first down run with 5:42 remaining in the fourth quarter for Iowa to register another first down. The Hawkeye offense finished with four total first downs and 76 total yards. They held onto the ball for less than 15 minutes of game time and never ran a play inside the Penn State red zone.
The offensive line gave up three sacks, five tackles for loss, and six quarterback hurries. It didn’t matter who was under center. McNamara was replaced by Deacon Hill in the fourth quarter and felt the same pressure. Hill was stripped for Iowa’s fourth turnover of the game late in the fourth quarter. The quarterbacks finished 6-16 for 56 passing yards. The rushing game gained 42 yards when adjusted for sacks. Only two Iowa receivers were targeted. They had one catch each.
Penn State Offense
Drew Allar finished 25 of 37 with 166 yards and four touchdowns in the rain. Keandre Lambert-Smith caught eight of those passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. Iowa did a good job of keeping him from having a huge game, but Penn State found other ways of success. That came in the form of 215 rushing yards. Penn State nearly tallied 400 total yards on Iowa’s defense with 27 first downs. The Nittany Lions proved to be a legitimate contender in the Big Ten conference with their performance over the Phil Parker defense. Iowa will look to Michigan State next week for Homecoming.