Sitting in the locker room at halftime, Penn State’s defensive ends agreed they were onto something.

Having suffocated Iowa to that point, the Nittany Lions were confident they could keep it up.

“We felt like it should be a shutout,” defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton said.

Mission accomplished.

Drew Allar threw four touchdown passes and Penn State’s defense forced four turnovers to lead the seventh-ranked Nittany Lions past No. 24 Iowa 31-0 on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes hadn’t been shut out since 2000. Iowa has blanked 14 opponents since that loss to Illinois 23 years ago.

Tyler Warren caught two touchdowns and Khalil Dinkins and KeAndre Lambert-Smith each caught one for the Nittany Lions (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who possessed the ball for more than 42 minutes.

A cold mist settled over the stadium midway through the first half. The soggy weather didn’t deter the 110,830 fans — nearly all of them dressed for the whiteout — from bouncing up and down, rumbling the bleachers in response to every defensive play.

And they had plenty to be excited about. Linebacker Curtis Jacobs recovered two fumbles and Adisa Isaac and Zuriah Fisher grabbed each grabbed loose balls for a Penn State defense that allowed just 76 total yards.

With Iowa driving in Penn State territory on its second possession, Nittany Lion defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton jarred the ball loose from tight end Erick All. Jacobs jumped on it to spoil what turned out to be the Hawkeyes’ best chance of scoring.

Allar turned the mistake into a 17-play scoring drive that ended with a 46-yard field goal by Alex Felkins.

Jacobs made another heads-up play minutes later when a Penn State punt caromed off Iowa’s Mason Stahl. Jacobs fell on the live ball, and Allar hit Dinkins 10 plays later on a short crossing pattern in the end zone for a 9-yard score to make it 10-0.

The Nittany Lions held the ball for more than 21 minutes in the first half and continued to eat clock when they got the ball to start the third. They drove 75 yards in 6:40 and went up 17-0 on a short cross-body throw from Allar to Warren for a 2-yard score. Allar hit Warren for a 7-yard touchdown later in the third.

Iowa turned it over on its very next play when Penn State’s Chop Robinson flew around the Iowa line and stripped the ball from quarterback Cade McNamara. Isaac recovered it and Allar hit Lambert-Smith on another short end-zone route eight plays later — this one a 3-yard score — to make it 31-0.


Iowa: The Hawkeyes were shorthanded on offense without their top offensive weapon, tight end Luke Lachey, and two of their top three rushers. With Lachey out for the season, the Hawkeyes will need someone to step up to get the offense rolling again.

Penn State: Manny Diaz’s defense is the real deal. It seemed to improve as the game progressed. Robinson, Isaac, Jacobs and Dennis-Sutton were forces all night while running backs Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton continue to show they’re capable of getting hard inside yards to wear defenses down.


Iowa only had four first downs to Penn State’s 27.

McNamara was 5 of 14 for 42 yards. He was sacked three times and hurried six more.

“I can promise you that we will be motivated for the rest of the season, but we have to get better after today,” McNamara said. “This is the worst feeling in the world. I don’t remember the last time I’ve ever felt this bad about a game let alone a day in my life.”


Iowa hosts Michigan State (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) on Saturday.

Penn State visits Northwestern on Saturday.

For more Hawkeyes coverage, follow @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter and Facebook.

Penn State linebacker Curtis Jacobs (23) celebrates after recovering a fumble during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)