LG&T: Penn State Outlasts Iowa 30-24Posted: Updated:
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A gutsy effort by senior quarterback Trace McSorley, big stops on defense and three 40-plus yard field goals by true freshman kicker and Iowa native Jake Pinegar led No. 17/16 Penn State past No. 18 Iowa, 30-24, in Big Ten football action Saturday in Beaver Stadium.
Iowa (6-2, 3-2) threatened late, but the Penn State defense (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) came up with two big stops in the final minutes to preserve Penn State’s lead. Senior safety Nick Scott halted a drive at the Nittany Lion 2-yard line with his second interception in as many weeks with 3:18 remaining, and then after Iowa regained the ball at its own 23 with 1:23 remaining and managed one first down, but time ran out after three-straight incomplete passes brought up fourth down. On the fourth down play, Iowa's Nate Stanley was forced to pitch in desperation to offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs. Wirfs gained 15 yards but was pulled down by Penn State defenders Micah Parsons and John Reid to end the game.
Penn State’s defense shutout Iowa’s offense in the second half, as the Hawkeyes’ only second-half points came on a pick-six by Geno Stone with 10:00 remaining in the fourth quarter. The only other touchdown for Iowa came on a fake field goal play in the first quarter.
McSorley, who missed three offensive drives in the second quarter due to an apparent injury, scored his first touchdown of the game with a 51-yard run less than three minutes into the third quarter to give Penn State its first lead over the Hawkeyes, 24-17.
Pinegar added two field goals in the second half, including a career-long 49-yarder, to give the Nittany Lions a 27-17 advantage with 4:10 left in the third quarter. His 44-yard field goal at the 8:24 mark in the fourth quarter gave him three field goals of 40 or more yards, marking the first time this feat was accomplished by a Nittany Lion since Sam Ficken vs. Maryland in 2013.
KJ Hamler set a career long with a 67-yard kickoff return to set up the Nittany Lions' final scoring drive and Pinegar's field goal. He finished with 188 all-purpose yards, as he also led the team with five receptions for 96 yards. Quarterback Tommy Stevens stepped in for an injured McSorley in the first half and scored on a 3-yard run to tie the game at 14-14 with 6:45 left in the second half.
McSorley (63 yds.), running back Miles Sanders (62 yds.) and Stevens (18 yds.) combined for 143 yards rushing against Iowa’s defense, which entered the game ranking second in FBS with an average of just 79.8 yards per game allowed.
Penn State outscored Iowa 13-7 in the second half after the teams went into the locker room tied at 17 after a wild first half that included Iowa tallying two safeties.
For the first time since 1894, Penn State has played four-straight games decided by six or less points.