No. 3 Iowa beats No. 4 Penn State 23-20, fans storm field.
As darkness fell over Kinnick Stadium, Iowa was in victory formation, and the passion was ready to boil over.
Spencer Petras took the last snap, knelt,
and bolted, presumably hoping to escape off the field before the students and other spectators streaming out of the end zone bleachers could reach him.
He barely made it to the middle of the field.
To celebrate No. 3 Iowa’s hard-fought 23-20 win against fourth-ranked Penn State on Saturday,
he and his teammates were mobbed and a mosh pit erupted on the Hawkeyes emblem.
“When the lights go on and the sun goes down, it’s a very magical location,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Petras completed Iowa’s comeback from a two-touchdown deficit with a 44-yard touchdown throw to Nico Ragaini,
all while Penn State’s offense did almost nothing after quarterback Sean Clifford was taken out of the game.
With their 12th consecutive win, the Hawkeyes (6-0, 3-0) seized control of the Big Ten West and pushed themselves into the College Football Playoff discussion.
“This was like the big-time of the big-time,” Ragaini remarked. “You don’t have opportunities like this every day, so take advantage of it.
It was certainly a psychologically and physically demanding game.
“I was so emotionally exhausted on the sidelines that I nearly cried out there because we care so much about each other.” We all want the best for one other.”
Ferentz choked up an hour after the victory as he thought on his teammates’ locker room celebration.
He paused and added, “It’s fun.” “That’s what they’re meant to do,” says the narrator.
Penn State (5-1, 2-1) dropped its first game in ten games and returned to Happy Valley with a slew of ailments that may complicate the remainder of the season.
Arnold Ebiketie, a Lions defensive end, remarked,
“It’s simply a hiccup on the road.” “We have to improve.”
The Hawkeyes’ gritty attack isn’t designed to come back from a deficit,
but it did it in the most important game at Kinnick Stadium since then-No. 1 Iowa defeated then-No. 2 Michigan in 1985.
After Clifford went out in the second quarter,
Iowa dominated the field-position fight due to the efforts of punter Tory Taylor,
who frequently trapped Penn State deep in its own end.
Caleb Shudak’s field goals helped Iowa close the gap to 20-16.
With 6:35 remaining in the game, the Hawkeyes received the ball at the Penn State 44 and ran the winning play.
Ragaini was alone on the left side while Petras rolled to his right. Curtis Jacobs, a linebacker, knocked him out of bounds, but not before he crossed the goal line. Tyler Linderbaum, an All-America center, was the first to meet him in the end zone.
Clifford’s injury was not disclosed by Penn State coach James Franklin.
He was injured after he took a hard hit from linebacker Jack Campbell with the Lions ahead 17-3, and he was out of uniform on the bench in the second half.
Penn State only gained 50 yards on 46 plays after Ta’Quan Roberson took over for Clifford in the middle of the second quarter.
“We speak about all of the key numbers all of the time,” Franklin said, ”
and we didn’t do a good job on any of them.” “We didn’t win the fight for field position, we didn’t win the battle for turnovers,
we didn’t win the penalty battle, and we didn’t win the battle for explosive plays.”
Five of Roberson’s series began within the Penn State 10 yard line,
while a sixth began inside the Penn State 11 yard line.
When the Lions were in their own end, the sellout crowd of 70,000 made a big difference,
causing many false starts as Roberson’s claps for the snap went unnoticed by his linemen.
On their last three drives, the Nittany Lions gave the ball over on downs,
Matt Hankins came up with Iowa’s fourth interception of the game and then turned it over on downs once more.
“We weren’t expecting the interceptions, but you did a fantastic job there,” says the coach, “Ferentz said.
“We were physical, and we knocked down their quarterback – I hope he’s okay.” That’s the group we’ve assembled.”
Franklin did not reveal the nature of Clifford’s injuries at Penn State. A number of important defensive players were also lost by the Lions.
P.J. Mustipher, their 326-pound run-stopper, went off with a left knee injury less than two minutes after kickoff and did not return.
Neither did safety Jonathan Sutherland,
who departed with an unexplained injury in the second quarter.
Iowa: This squad continues to be all about defense.
In the second half, the offense came through when it needed to, but the defense was outstanding throughout.
The Hawkeyes now have a nation-leading 16 interceptions.
The lone blemish was CB Riley Moss’ injury, which looked to be to his left knee after an interception.
KNOCKING OFF THE RANKED
For the first time since 1960, Iowa has beaten a Top 25 club three times this season and has won six straight games against ranked opponents.
Iowa has not beaten a top-five team since defeating No. 3 Ohio State in 2017.
Iowa hosts Purdue on Oct. 16. The Hawkeyes have lost three of the last four in the series.