No. 10 Penn State holds off No. 17 Iowa to stay unbeaten | TribLIVE.com
Penn State

No. 10 Penn State holds off No. 17 Iowa to stay unbeaten

Associated Press
1799022_web1_1799022-164e22d4a17d4db6bb9d8f55f357824a
AP
Penn State running back Noah Cain, center, celebrates his touchdown during the second half against Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Iowa City, Iowa.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — On the road against one of the best defenses in America, 10th-ranked Penn State won the turnover battle and converted on third downs to survive yet another tough trip to Iowa.

Noah Cain ran for a 5-yard touchdown with 5 minutes, 17 seconds left, and Penn State held off the 17th-ranked Hawkeyes, 17-12, on Saturday night, its first win over a ranked opponent this season.

Cain finished with 102 yards for the Nittany Lions (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten), who extended their winning streak over the Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-2) to six games.

“This is a team. You’re going to have to earn it,” Penn State coach James Franklin said about the Hawkeyes. “The defense has been great all year. We leaned on them heavily.”

A matchup between two of the nation’s top defenses turned when Iowa’s Nate Stanley threw an interception near midfield with 9:22 remaining. Penn State drove 35 yards on a gassed Iowa defense, and the last of three straight runs by Cain made it 17-6.

The Nittany Lions gained just 294 yards. But they were 10 of 19 on third downs against a defense ranked fourth in scoring defense entering play, and they scored 10 points off of two Iowa miscues.

“We grinded it out,” Franklin said.

Iowa pulled within 17-12 when Stanley found Brandon Smith for a 33-yard TD pass with 2:31 to go. The Hawkeyes’ two-point try failed though, and Cain converted a crucial third down that ensured that Iowa never saw the ball again.

The Hawkeyes have dropped back-to-back games by just 12 points after its first 4-0 start since 2015.

“We’re doing the right things. We’ve just got to do a little better,” Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa said.

Up 7-6 late in the third quarter, Penn State recovered a fumble at Iowa’s 16 and Sean Clifford connected on an apparent touchdown pass to Pat Freiermuth that was overturned on review. Iowa then held the Nittany Lions at the 1-foot line, and two straight holding calls forced them to settle for a 33-yard field goal.

KJ Hamler caught seven passes, including an acrobatic 22-yarder for a TD, for Penn State.

Stanley threw for 286 yards, but the Hawkeyes ran for just 70 yards on 30 attempts.

One of the key plays came when Penn State was facing a third-and-10 at Iowa’s 35 after Stanley’s interception. But Clifford broke right on an option, kept it, burst through a hole and gained 11 yards to extend what proved to be the game’s winning drive.

“He didn’t necessarily play his best game. But he was gutsy,” Franklin said. “That was a big-time play.”

Notes: Clifford was 12 of 24 for 117 yards, snapping his streak of five straight games with at least 200 yards passing. … Penn State punter Blake Gillikin placed five of his seven kicks inside Iowa’s 20-yard line. … Penn State has 52 points off of turnovers through six games.

Categories: Sports | Penn State
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.