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Penn State Football: Nittany Lions Come Back, Hang On to Beat Iowa

by on October 27, 2018 7:34 PM

No. 17 Penn State overcame a sloppy start and held on to beat No. 18 Iowa, 30-24, in a wild game on a rainy Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions secured bowl eligibility for the fifth straight season thanks in part to Nick Scott’s clutch interception near the goal line with 3:18 remaining.

How It Happened

After a quick three-and-out, punter Blake Gillikin bobbled the snap and Iowa batted the ball through the back of the end zone for a safety. The Hawkeyes made it 5-0 on their next drive following a 27-yard Miguel Recinos field goal.

Iowa extended its lead on a fake field goal, as punter Colten Rastetter hit defensive lineman Sam Brincks for an impressive over-the-shoulder 10-yard touchdown.

Trace McSorley answered by marching Penn State 85 yards down the field and finding tight end Pat Freiermuth for an 18-yard touchdown.

Iowa took a 14-7 lead with 13:39 left before the half on Penn State’s second safety of the afternoon. This time, Gillikin couldn’t corral Kyle Vasey’s errant snap and the ball scooted through the end zone again.

After seeing some snaps at his “Lion” position, Tommy Stevens entered the game at quarterback for an injured McSorley, who walked gingerly off the field on Penn State’s previous drive. Stevens scored on a 3-yard touchdown run after an interception and 43-yard return by John Reid.

Recinos then gave Iowa a 17-14 lead thanks to a 49-yard field goal.

Despite James Franklin icing his own kicker, Pinegar tied things up on a 45-yard field goal just before the intermission.

Back in the game to start the second half, McSorley gave the Nittany Lions their first lead of the game, 24-17, on a 51-yard rushing score down the sideline.

Pinegar drilled a career-long 49-yard field goal that barely squeaked over the uprights with 4:10 to go in the third quarter to extend Penn State's lead to 27-17 at the end of the third quarter

Geno Stone returned a McSorley interception 24 yards to the house to cut Penn State’s lead to three with 10 minutes to go, but less than two minutes later, Pinegar converted a 44-yard kick to make it 30-24.

On the ensuing drive, Penn State looked like it might be on its way to surrendering another double-digit fourth quarter lead. The Hawkeyes drove all the way down to the Penn State 3, but Nick Scott picked off a Stanley pass to end the threat with just over three minutes to play.

The Nittany Lions ran nearly two minutes off the clock before punting. Iowa got into Penn State territory, but on fourth and 10 with time running out, Stanley was pressured and forced to pitch the ball to lineman Tristan Wirfs, who rumbled for  15 yards before being taken down to end the game.

Sophomore defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos delivered a second consecutive standout performance with a game-high nine tackles (two sacks). KJ Hamler, who had a 67-yard kick return, led all receivers with 96 yards on five catches.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) travel to Ann Arbor to face No. 5 Michigan next Saturday at 3:45 p.m. 


Ethan Kasales is a Lemont native and staff writer for Onward State.
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