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Penn State Football: Nittany Lions Thump Iowa 41-14

by on November 05, 2016 11:56 PM

As Saeed Blacknall jumped in the air the whole of Beaver Stadium rose with him in anticipation.

First he had to catch the ball.

And he did.

Then he had to land with at least one foot in the very back of the north end zone of Beaver Stadium.

He did that too. And 106,194 fans roared in approval as Penn State's six-play 51-yard opening drive ended with a touchdown. A 19-yard strike over the head of Iowa cornerback Desmond King, one of the best in the nation, that gave Penn State yet another fast start and the first points in a game that would see plenty of them.

Just 2:17 gone by and the Nittany Lions were ahead, and in truth they never looked back. Even so, despite Penn State dominating the first quarter of play, a blocked field goal stopped the Nittany Lions from extending their lead in the opening stanza. Things certainly felt inevitable though as Penn State managed 143 yards of offense and three conversions on third down in five attempts in the first 15 minutes.

On the other side of the field while Penn State moved the ball, the once ranked Hawkeyes looked like a team that had done little to prepare during the bye week. Often predictable and rarely creative, Penn State's defense was never really caught out of position on Saturday night. Something no more evident than a leaping Jason Cabinda hitting back Iowa quarterback CJ Beathard at the point of attack, preventing him from gaining a first down on a fourth-and-short early in the game.

With the game still close despite it being lopsided in the box score, it was Saquon Barkley who did what he does so well, evading tacklers and breaking through defenders en route to a 57-yard touchdown run. The run capped off a six-play, 80-yard drive that took just 3:07 off the clock and pushed Penn State ahead 14-0 early in the second quarter.

Just over two minutes later it was Trace McSorley punching it in from a yard out on a four-play, 62-yard drive that put the Nittany Lions up 21-0 in front of an increasingly energized Beaver Stadium. In total Penn State would score on seven of its 10 drives during the game, punting just twice. Equally impressive, Penn State has scored 11 touchdowns on its last 18 drives, 14 scores in total.

Predictably, finally found life on offense and a personal foul penalty by Cabinda extended a Hawkeye drive that ended as Akrum Wadley followed his blockers on a screen pass, slipping past would-be tacklers en route to a 12-yard score with 4:18 left in the half.

Once again though it was a methodical drive by Penn State that ended the opening 30 minutes of play, Tyler Davis connecting on a 30-yard field goal to end the half after the Nittany Lions drove 63-yards in 10 plays. Up 24-7 at the half it was Penn State's game to lose with 348 yards of offense and a 5-of-8 success rate on third down. Iowa on the other hand struggled, going just 1-of-5 and racking up only 128 yards of offense, just 34 on the ground. By the break Saquon Barkley had totaled 116 yards on the nearly out-gaining the entire Iowa offense.

The second half was largely more of the same, although Tyler Davis' 37-yard field goal were the only points to come in the third quarter as Penn State went up 27-7 heading into the final 15 minutes of regulation.

That margin didn't last for long as Barkley hauled in a wide open pass from McSorley, running 44-yards for the score just 19 seconds into the fourth quarter to blow the game wide open.

Five minutes later Penn State once again found itself driving, a six-play, 58-yard campaign lasting 3:26 and ending as quarterback Tommy Stevens lined up out wide before running a jet sweep past McSorley and battling his way through multiple defenders at the goal line for a 13-yard rushing touchdown.

With the game well in hand Jerminic Smith added one final highlight to the evening as he ran through Penn State's secondary for a 36-yard touchdown reception with 6:30 remaining. Down 41-14 though the touchdown did little but repair a small amount of lost pride on a dominant evening for Penn State.

Stevens would lose a yard on the game's final play giving Penn State "just" 599 yards of offense on the night while holding Iowa to 234, 81 of which earned on Iowa's late scoring drive. The Nittany Lions never went three-and-out all game, while Barkley generated 211 yards of total offense. McSorley went 11-of-18 for 240 yards and two scores. Chris Godwin led the way with four receptions for 87-yards and Mike Gesicki managed four of his own catches for 65-yards. 

Penn State improves to 7-2 on the year and will head on the road to face Indiana next week. Kick is slated for noon.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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