Penn State Football: Nittany Lions survive at Iowa

IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 23: Running back Saquon Barkley
IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 23: Running back Saquon Barkley /

Penn State got all it could handle from Iowa on Saturday night. 

No. 4 Penn State was seconds away from seeings its hopes of a special season go by the wayside. However, quarterback Trace McSorley hit wide receiver Juwan Johnson in the end zone and sent the Nittany Lions home from Iowa City happy with a 21-19 victory.

The Nittany Lions, although leading the majority of the game, struggled for much of the time against Iowa. The curse of Kinnick Stadium and its effect on top teams was in full force, as the Nittany Lions could never put the Hawkeyes away.

Two fourth-quarter touchdowns put Iowa up by four points with under two minutes to go.

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Needing a late-game drive, the Nittany Lions didn’t panic. McSorley marched his team down the field on a 12-play 80-yard drive that culminated with the game-winning score. After struggling all night, McSorley completed seven passes on the final drive.

Penn State was able to move the ball the entire game, but failed once it entered the red zone. Two missed field goals, including a block, helped to make the game close at the end.

McSorley finished the game with 284 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He added 61 yards on the ground.

The story of the game for Penn State was star running back Saquon Barkley. He put up 358 all-purpose yards and firmly placed himself on the short list for the Heisman Trophy. Barkley rushed for 211 yards and a touchdown and led the Nittany Lions with 12 receptions for 94 yards. He also added 53 return yards.

Despite out-gaining Iowa 579-273, the Nittany Lions were unable to put up points like in weeks past. Fortunately, the defense played well for most of the game and kept Penn State alive. Senior linebacker Jason Cabinda led the team with six total tackles.

Penn State was given all it could handle in its first Big Ten game.  A game like this is just what the Nittany Lions need if they hope to make a push for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Up next for the Nittany Lions is a home matchup with Indiana. Kick time is set for 3:30 p.m.