Halftime: Penn State 17, Iowa 10

By Joel Neuschwander on October 9, 2021 at 6:00 pm
Oct 9, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Noah Cain (21) runs for a 2 yard touchdown during the first quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State narrowly avoided disaster in the first five minutes. Then, it was relatively smooth sailing until Iowa cut into the lead a bit...and then things got pretty wild.

Here are some halftime thoughts as the Nittany Lions take a 17-10 lead into the locker room.

  • Backed up inside the five, Sean Clifford did what you can't do against Iowa: give them the ball in prime scoring position — although the Nittany Lion defense minimized the damage by holding the Hawks to a field goal.
  • Clifford and Penn State bounced back in a big way immediately after the pick. A perfect response from the Nittany Lions was the fuel for 17 unanswered points.
  • Under duress several times, Clifford has extended plays and picked up first downs with his legs.
  • On the other hand, Spencer Petras has largely been rattled by the Penn State pressure.
  • Iowa looked to be on life support for most of the first half, but the Hawkeyes put together a grinding seven-minute drive to swing the momentum back in their favor. The touchdown itself was questionable.
  • Nittany Lions went down with injuries left and right in the first half. PJ Mustipher, Clifford, Jonathan Sutherland, Keandre Lambert-Smith. Dvon Ellies also left the game before returning later in the half, and so did Jaquan Brisker who missed just one play.
  • Of course the big injury came at the worst possible spot, Sean Clifford
  • The offense with TaQuan Roberson was not ideal. Clifford's status is uncertain.

Buckle up, because if the first 30 minutes are any indication, it'll be a fight to the finish.