There’s no trophy between the two, but one could argue the Iowa/Penn State games have been more thrilling than many trophy games since the Moon Family Head Football Coach took over. What would that trophy even be named? How do trophy games get named? My vote is for the Golden Singlet Trophy. A trophy you can wear. Add some fashion to this fierce rivalry.
It seems more times than not, whenever these two matchup, there’s something more on the line than just a tally in the W column. And the moments have lived up to the stakes. Of the 17 times the two have played in the Kirk Ferentz era, eight have been one-score games.
Here are some of the best:
A seemingly meaningless game between what would end up being two non-bowl eligible teams, ends in double overtime with 26-23 Iowa win. Finally, the Kirk Ferentz era gets moving in a positive direction. That was one of three wins for the Hawkeyes that year.
What would end up being two teams with Heisman finalists, in Brad Banks and Larry Johnson, goes to overtime. And that’s after Iowa held a 35-13 lead with eight minutes to go. What? Iowa pulls out the victory though, 42-35.
Everyone knows the personal circumstances surrounding this game. The weather matched the emotion and was the backdrop to maybe the strangest score line in recent memory; a 6-4 barn burner. Seven turnovers, 14 combined punts, two safeties and barely 300 combined yards. That’s a football game, folks. I’ve seen worse though.
No. 3 Penn State comes to town with national championship aspirations. Let’s get JoePa number three! Things are looking good too, with a 23-14 lead in the fourth quarter over the unranked Hawkeyes. But here comes Shonn Greene and Co. with a furious comeback; and unlike Penn State in 2002, they complete it. Daniel Murray, who hasn’t made a field goal in six weeks, hits one in 25 mph winds to win it. Talk about drama. Time to storm the field. That’d be the Nittany Lions’ only regular season loss.
Revenge time! This year, No. 5 Penn State welcomes Iowa to Happy Valley and it’s a whiteout. Spooky! Again the Nittany Lions jump out to a 10-0 lead. Not so fast! There’s the block. Well, maybe not the block. Adrian Clayborn blocks a punt and takes it 53 yards to the house for an 11-10 Iowa lead. Iowa would win it 21-10. Again, any thoughts of a championship dashed by those meddling Hawkeyes.
Again, a top-5 Penn State team rolls into Kinnick, but they have something they didn’t have a decade ago: “Saquads” Barkley. Those massive thighs carry him to a 358 total yards, a school record. And even then, the Nittany Lions needed a last second touchdown from the now best relief quarterback in the NFL. More drama, Penn State wins 21-19.
A ranked matchup. No. 18 Iowa at No. 17 Penn State. Another close one (shocker). Iowa is on the three-yard line with five minutes to go. Nate Stanley throws a back-breaking pick. But wait! Conspiracy time: was the ref about to stop the game? I don’t know. You be the judge. Penn State 30-24.
New alternate uniforms! Be Bold, Wear Gold. Any time new uniforms are unveiled, its reason for celebration. Sadly, there’s no favorable memories associated with these. Penn State wins another slugfest, 17-12.
Not a ton to say about this blowout, but everyone loves a good big man TD. A pick six no less!
Phew! That was exhausting to write about. I can’t imagine being emotionally attached. Regardless of the result, Saturday is another riveting chapter in this trophy-less rivalry. It’s sure to be looked back on in glory by the winner and painfully remembered by the loser. Both teams are in the top 5, and adding a top 5 win to either resume would be a giant step towards taking Ohio State’s playoff spot.
Now let’s take a look at who experts think that will be.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 9, 3 p.m.
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
Spread: Iowa -1.5
Dennis Dodd: Iowa
Tom Fornelli: Penn State
Chip Patterson: Iowa
Barrett Sallee: Penn State
David Cobb: Iowa
Shehan Jeyarajah: Iowa
Jerry Palm: Iowa
John Garcia: Iowa
Molly Geary: Penn State
Ross Dellenger: Iowa
Pat Forde: Penn State
Richard Johnson: Penn State
Kerry Miller: Iowa 21, Penn State 17
Mike Bainbridge: Iowa 20, Penn State 18
Chris Hummer: Iowa 17, Penn State 14
Brad Crawford: Penn State 20, Iowa 17
Stewart Mandel: Penn State 21, Iowa 20
Dan Santaromita: Penn State
Jason Starrett: Iowa
Chris Vannini: Penn State
Hawkeye State Predictions
Quad City Times
Steve Batterson: Iowa 21, Penn State 20
Remember Iowa’s 6-4 win at Penn State in 2004? With the two stingiest defenses in the Big Ten on the field at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, this may look a little like that. Iowa is allowing 11.6 points per game, Penn State 12, so yards and points will likely be at a premium. The Hawkeyes find a way at home, winning on a late touchdown, 21-20.
Scott Dochterman: Iowa 16, Penn State 13
Brendan Stiles: Iowa 23, Penn State13
Tyler Tjelmeland: Iowa 20, Penn State 16
Jack Brandsgard: Iowa 17, Penn State 16
John Patchett: Iowa 24, Penn State 17
Cody Hills: Iowa 27, Penn State 13
Totally relevant irrelevant prediction simulation
The artist formerly known as HawkeyeHQ.com’s Ryan Jaster: Iowa 17, Penn State 7
Consensus: More experts are picking the Hawkeyes than they did last week against Maryland, though the national media is split right down the middle. It’s the highest ranked game at Kinnick since 1985. Coach Ferentz knows that better than anyone. The players know how big this game is, but have made a point to block the outside knows. Both defenses are among the best in the country. Iowa’s is the best in a couple categories. It may come down to which unit blinks first and the Hawkeyes haven’t blinked all year.