The defense was dominant again, Tory Taylor was brilliant and the offense made plays when they needed to, helping the Hawkeyes to 23-20 win over the Nittany Lions.
The defense got off to a fast start with a interception of Penn State’s Sean Clifford on their first offensive play of the game. The offense though, started slow once again, had to settle for a field goal, despite getting the ball inside Penn State’s 10.
It was all Penn State for the rest of the first quarter. The two teams traded picks and Clifford engineered two touchdown drives to give the Nittany Lions a 14-3 lead. One of the biggest plays of the game happened on Penn State’s next drive however, when Sean Clifford took a hit on a third down incompletion. He stayed down for a minute and ultimately would leave the game. Penn State only scored three points the rest of the way.
From there it was a slow, methodical climb back from a 17-3 deficit with for the Hawkeyes. The next drive was an 11 play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 9-yard pass from Spencer Petras to Charlie Jones, making it a 17-10 game. That’s where the score would sit until halftime.
The second half was all about the defense. They surrendered a field goal to Penn State early in the second half, widening the deficit to 20-10. They pitched a shutout the rest of the way.
Though they only got one sack, the Hawkeye defense harrassed Penn State’s backup QB Ta’Quan Roberson the whole time. Roberson finished seven of 21 for 34 yards and two interceptions.
Caleb Shudak kicked a couple field goals to make it 20-16 with eight minutes to go in the game.
On the first play of the next Hawkeye posession, Petras found Nico Ragaini wide open for a 44-yard touchdown to take a 23-20 lead. It was Iowa’s first lead since 11 minutes left in the first quarter.
From there the Hawkeye defense, specifically corner Matt Hankins, who had big tackle on fourth down and a interception on two of Penn State’s final drives.
Punter Tory Taylor played a huge part in the game, flipping the field all game. He had nine punts, with four landing inside the 10. That earned him come MVP chants from the crowd.
The Hawkeyes kneeled out the rest of the game and fans stormed the field. It was the Hawkeyes’ first win over a top-5 team since 2017 when they beat No. 5 Ohio State.