A Day Which Will Live In Infamy: Iowa 6, Penn State 4

By John Morgan on June 4, 2017 at 11:01 am
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Today is June 4th -- yes, 6-4. Penn State and Iowa are forever linked to those numbers in one of the more forgettable yet memorable games of all time. The final score resembles anything but football, but in October 2004, it was indeed the final score of a terrible Big Ten Football game.

The Penn State 2004 team struggled to score most of the time, but featured a defense that got better as the year went on. Iowa came into Beaver Stadium ranked 25th in the country with a 4-2 record. What ensued after was one of the worst offensive performances two teams could ever assemble (Oregon State's rancid 3-0 win over Pitt in the 2008 Sun Bowl gets a nod).

Clinging to a 6-2 lead with 8:04 remaining in the game and facing a 4th-and-17 from their own 1, Iowa elected to take an intentional safety to make the score 6-4. Kirk Ferentz's decision meant Penn State could win with a field goal, but he had a secret weapon: he had actually watched Penn State's 2004 offense. The decision proved to be the right one and the score held up and almost 13 years later it's still hard to believe.

David Jones from the Patriot News summed it up thusly:

Penn State football fans spent three hours yesterday grumbling and staring at gridlock.

Then they had to drive home.

...

It doesn't get any weirder than 4. And you can't add anything else to it and make it stranger.

The only score weirder than 4 is 1, which the Nittany Lions have not yet figured out how to do. Give them time.

Oddly enough, Matt Brown of Sports on Earth uncovered that Penn State beat Syracuse 6-4 in 1929.

It's fitting because I believed the PSU-Iowa turned football back 100 years, but it was actually just 75 years. Enjoy the day and be as reckless as possible because although "safety first" is an old adage, "safety second" could even result in a loss. 

Here are some "highlights" if you're crazy enough to watch them.

And if you must, the glorious tale of 6-4 from the Hawkeye perspective:

 

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