It wasn’t meant to be. Then, it was. Fourth-ranked Penn State defeated Iowa 21-19 when Nittany Lions QB Trace McSorley hit WR Juwan Johnson with a seven-yard TD pass as time expired on Saturday night. Head coach James Franklin’s squad dominated several facets of the game but could never take control in a game that seemed destined to fall to the Hawkeyes’ curse.
It was just last season that a third-ranked Michigan traveled to Iowa City and lost 14-13. It appeared as if Penn State would crush the Hawkeyes as they outgained their opponent 219-54 in the first half, but the Nittany Lions trailed after two quarters, 7-5. For the game, Penn State totaled 579 yards to Iowa’s 273 and ran 99 offensive plays to the Hawkeyes’ 45. Still, Iowa RB Akrum Wadley’s two fourth-quarter touchdowns gave the Hawkeyes a 19-15 with just 1:42 to play.
Wadley caught a 70-yard touchdown pass from QB Nate Stanley and then ran 35 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. The Iowa Hawkeyes win was not meant to be though as McSorley and the Penn State offense calmly marched 80 yards in 12 plays for the game-winner as the game clock expired.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley proved why he is worthy of Heisman Trophy hype. The 5-foot-11-inch, 230-pound junior rushed 28 times for 211 yards and was the team’s leading receiver with 12 catches for another 94. Barkley established a new Penn State school record for all-purpose yards with 358 against the Hawkeyes.
Barkley’s brilliance was epitomized on a 3rd down-and-6 midway through the fourth quarter. With Penn State leading 15-13 at the time, McSorley threw a pass in the flats to Barkley who was pinned to the sideline by an Iowa defender. Barkley continued upfield anyway, hurdled the Hawkeye defender, and got the first down.
McSorley finished the game completing 31-of-48 passes for 284 yards and the touchdown to Johnson. Johnson caught seven passed for 92 yards. Penn State faces Indiana at home this Saturday. Iowa, now 3-1, travels to Michigan State.
For a complete list of custom college football jerseys go to:
Week 1: Michigan State 35 Bowling Green 10
In the season opener, the Spartans hosted Bowling Green and dominated the game. The Falcons got on the board first with a 36 yard field goal before the Spartans ran off 35 unanswered points. A fourth quarter touchdown by Bowling Green on a 46-yard fumble recovery ended the scoring, culminating in a 25-point win for Michigan State.
Brian Lewerke lead the Michigan State attack with 250 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also lead the Spartans on the ground with 69 yards on eight attempts. Lewerke found Felton Davis III twice for touchdowns, one from 4 yards out and one from 8. Matt Sokol also found the endzone on a 13 yard strike from Lewerke.
Darrell Stewart Jr lead the Spartans with 6 receptions for 85 yards. On the ground, Madre London gained 54 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown. On the downside, LJ Scott gained only 39 yards on 15 carries and lost two fumbles.
On the defensive side of the ball, Tyson Smith got the only interception of the game, returning it 38 yards for a touchdown to end the scoring for the Spartans. Overall, the defense dominated, allowing only 2.8 yards per attempt and 212 total yards.
Week 2: Michigan State 28 Western Michigan 14
The Spartans continued where they left off in week one against the Western Michigan Broncos, productive on offense and dominating on defense in a 28-14 win.
Quarterback Brian Lewerke threw for a modest 161 yards and a touchdown, but lead the ground game again, rushing for 81 yards on nine attempts and two touchdowns. His favorite target was Felton Davis III, who hauled in four passes for 69 yards.
Running back LJ Scott rebounded after a poor game against Western Michigan, rushing for 86 yards on 18 carries. He found the endzone twice, one on the ground and one in the passing game.
Defensively, the Spartans were in shutdown mode for the second week, allowing only 2.9 yards to pass and 3.2 yards on the ground. All told, the Broncos managed just 195 total yards.
The Broncos only scores were on a 100 yard kickoff return and a 67 yard fumble recovery. It's worth noting that this is the second straight game that the Spartans have had a fumble returned for a touchdown. Against better teams, this could pose a problem.
All told, another solid win for the Spartans, who are now 2-0 heading into play versus Notre Dame on September 23.
I love college sports, especially football. You may not always agree with me, but you will see I'm passionate.