October 8, 2011; State College, PA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz during the game in the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

Penn State Football: Revisiting the Iowa Rivalry

Let’s take a look back at the Iowa/Penn State rivalry since I stepped on campus in 2004, and why Penn State’s players and fans may have little love to show for Iowa…

Iowa (3-1) at Penn State (3-1)
Final Score: Penn State 13-3
Penn State held an Iowa team, averaging 41 points per game coming in,  to 3. They forced 3 turnovers and out-gained Iowa 395 to 253. Penn State would end up 9-4, while Iowa finished 7-6.

#22 Penn State (3-1) at Iowa (3-1)
Final score: Iowa 24-3

While Iowa out-gained Penn State by a mere 48 yards, 3:36 in time of possession, was similarly lousy on third-down conversions (sub-23%) and turned the ball over the same amount, Iowa was able to average 10.3 yards per attempt on its way to a 21-point win — the largest in series history for Iowa. Iowa would end up 8-5, beating #12 Missouri in the Insight Bowl, while Penn State finished 7-6.

Iowa (3-0) at #5 Penn State (3-0)
Final Score: Iowa 21-10
Penn State was looking to have a solid season with a likely BCS run until a rain-soaked White House was turned upside down. Penn State jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter after Daryl Clark connected on his first five passes, including a 79 yard TD pass less than two minutes into the game. A safety, field goal and blocked punt for a TD would completely flip the script as Daryl Clark would complete only 7 of his next 27 passes. Penn State was shut out in the final three quarters in a nightmare of a game. Iowa would end up 11-2, beating #9 Georgia Tech in the BCS Orange Bowl, while Penn State finished 11-2, beating #12 LSU in the Capital One Bowl.

#3 Penn State (9-0) at Iowa (5-4)
Final score: Iowa 24-23
On the stat sheet, this game looked as close as the score. Only 17 yards separated these teams, and both had two turnovers. As he did in 2009, Daryl Clark struggled with Iowa, going 9 of 23 for an average of 3.7 yards per attempt. Despite being up 6 at half, and 16 to begin the fourth, Iowa would score the last 10 points. This one stings extra for Penn Staters as Clark threw an interception in the fourth that led to a questionable pass interference call on third and 15 from Iowa’s own 24. After continuing to march down the field, Iowa kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired. Iowa would end up 9-4, beating South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, while Penn State finished 11-2, their only other loss coming to #5 USC in the Rose Bowl.

Iowa (2-3) at Penn State (3-2)
Final Score: Penn State 27-7
Despite Iowa going without a turnover and forcing three by Penn State, the Nittany Lions didn’t allow an Iowa score until the fourth quarter and out gained Iowa 489 to 194, only 48 of those coming on the ground. This game included a career-long field goal for Kevin Kelly of 53 yards. Penn State would end up 9-4, beating Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl, while Iowa would finish 6-6, not selected for a bowl game.

Off schedule, did not play.
Penn State would end up 9-4, beating Tennessee in the Outback Bowl,
while Iowa finished 6-7.

Off schedule, did not play.
Penn State would end up 11-1, beating Florida State in the BCS Orange
Bowl, while Iowa finished 7-5.

Iowa (4-2) at Penn State (2-4)
Final Score: Iowa 6-4
To put it lightly, this was the worst football game I have ever witnessed in person. Penn State took a 2-0 lead after a bad snap on an Iowa punt led to a safety. From there, Iowa added a field goal in each of the first two quarters. The game would be scoreless until Kirk Ferentz had Iowa strategically take a safety at the end of the game. Iowa would end up 11-2, beating LSU in the Capital One Bowl, while Penn State finished 4-7, not selected for a bowl game.

In summation, since 2004, Iowa is 4-2 versus the Nittany Lions, despite Penn State often dominating the box score and heralding a top-five ranking. To make matters worse, Iowa was off the schedule for Penn State when the Nittany Lions had one solid and one great year –feasible to think Penn State could have added two wins there. If we start doing some scheduling gymnastics and give wins to the 2005 and 2006 squads, and place Iowa off the schedule instead in 2008-2009 or 2009-2010, we could trick ourselves into thinking Penn State would be able to boast the 4-2 record instead. However, that is not the case and Iowa has a right to brag – boasting season-damning wins over the then-ranked #3 and #5 Nittany Lions.

It is important to note that Penn State is traveling to Iowa City off a bye week this year. The last three times Penn State has played Iowa off a bye – 2003, 2004, 2008 – Iowa has come away with the victory.

Despite all this, Penn State fans should feel optimistic this go-around. This is a new year. A new coaching staff. A new philosophy. And even some new players. Kinnick Stadium is no walk in the park; however, you have to believe that Bill O’Brien and his staff understand the importance of this game and will have the attention of every Nittany Lion this week in practice. I believe they will be ready this year to prove – under the lights – that Penn State is indeed the better program.

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Tags: Football Iowa Hawkeyes Penn State Nittany Lions

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