Final Thoughts: Penn State 17, Iowa 12

By Barry Leonard on October 12, 2019 at 11:18 pm
Oct 12, 2019; Iowa City, IA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver KJ Hamler (1) reacts with wide receiver Jahan Dotson (5) and wide receiver Daniel George (11) and running back Journey Brown (4) after scoring on a 22 yard touchdown reception from quarterback Sean Clifford (not shown) during the second quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

A slow start was almost certainly expected for the Nittany Lions at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa is always a tough opponent, especially at home in front of a gold and black stripe out crowd. Penn State sputtered for much of the first half, but held a slight 7-6 lead at halftime. 

Penn State battled penalties, a very questionable review, and an inconsistent offense to escape Iowa City with an important 17-12 win over No. 17 Iowa. 

  • Penn State's defense is more than legit. The Nittany Lions have stifled opponents all season, thanks in large part to the front seven. Penn State still hasn't allowed more than 13 points in a game this year and is making a strong case to be called the best defense in the nation. 
  • Even though he didn't put up huge numbers, it was nice to see Noah Cain established as the lead back. The true freshman has stood out in recent weeks and earned an opportunity to garner more carries. The running back by committee approach is a nice way to keep guys fresh, but it's nice to see a back stand out as the main guy. Cain finished with 102 rushing yards and had some huge runs late in the game, including a fourth-quarter touchdown
  • Sean Clifford's running ability is no longer a surprise. Clifford once again proved to be one of Penn State's weapons on the ground, making several great plays with his legs. Clifford ran the ball 16 times for 52 yards. 
  • Not to be "that guy," but there has to be something done about blatantly bad calls. Forget the missed holds, or non-holds that were called, that phantom reversal of the Pat Freiermuth touchdown was completely insane. It was another masterful performance by John O'Neil and his crew. 
  • Penalites. Thanks in large part to what I just mentioned above, Penn State committed far too many penalties. The Nittany Lions were whistled for eight penalties for 80 yards. That's something that needs cleaned up moving forward. Of course, there was a huge makeup call late in the game, when it was determined that Shaka Toney would not be thrown out for targeting. 

Getting out of Kinnick with a win is never easy, and this was a huge one for the Nittany Lions. Penn State heads into next week's big matchup with Michigan 6-0 and will look to keep things rolling in the Big Ten. 

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