No. 9 Penn State Downs No. 17 Iowa in Kinnick

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — No. 9/10 Penn State capitalized on two University of Iowa turnovers to hand the No. 17/18 ranked Hawkeyes a 17-12 loss on Saturday night inside Kinnick Stadium.
The Hawkeyes out-gained the Nittany Lions, 356-294, but Penn State turned two second-half turnovers — a third quarter fumble and fourth quarter interception — into 10 points to hand Iowa its second straight loss.
Senior Nate Stanley completed 25-of-43 attempts for 286 yards and a touchdown.  Junior Brandon Smith made seven catches for 86 yards and a touchdown, while redshirt freshman Nico Ragaini (seven catches, 55 yards) and junior Ihmir Smith-Marsette (five catches, 72 yards) combined for 12 catches for 124 yards.
Penn State limited Iowa’s rushing attack to 70 yards on 30 attempts with freshman Tyler Goodson leading the way with eight carries for 35 yards. 
The Nittany Lions’ Noah Cain rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Sean Clifford completed 12-of-24 attempts for 117 yards and a touchdown, and KJ Hamlin had seven receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, redshirt freshman Jack Koerner had a career-high 13 tackles, while senior Kristian Welch and junior Chauncey Golston had eight stops apiece.  The Hawkeyes had three sacks and six tackles for loss in the game.
“It was a tough, hard-fought game by both teams. Two weeks in a row, two really good defensive football teams played against each other. We came up short.

“I’m proud of our effort, players’ effort. They worked extremely hard out there, competed extremely hard. Penn State made it rough on us in some areas where we weren’t able to execute some critical situations, do some things a little bit better.

“It’s a tough game for us, but we’ll get back on our feet tomorrow. That’s going to be the biggest challenge I think for our football team, get back on our feet, take a look at this, then we have to try to move on, see if we can’t do some things next week to push forward, get back where we want to go.

“We have to clean up our play with turnovers, takeaways. It’s a major factor the last two weeks. We did better in the penalty situation, certainly our defense answered some tough situations, did a good job there. All in all, not enough to get over the hump against a good football team.”


  • Iowa scored the game’s first points, using an 11-play, 38-yard drive late in the first quarter.  After forcing its third straight three-and-out, Iowa took over at its own 33. Stanley completed consecutive passes of 8 and 9 yards to Smith-Marsette before a 17-yard completion to Ragaini moved the Hawkeyes to the Penn State 32. 
    • Iowa moved to the Penn State 20 on a 10-yard screen to Mekhi Sargent, but a 9-yard sack on second down stalled the drive, forcing the Hawkeyes to settle on a 47-yard field goal from Keith Duncan.
  • After gaining 10 yards in the first quarter, Penn State put together an 85-yard scoring drive over 15 plays on its first drive of the second quarter.  The Nittany Lions converted three third downs on the drive, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to Hamlin to give Penn State a 7-3 lead.
  • Iowa took possession with 1:46 remaining in the first half and drove 84 yards over 10 plays.  Stanley opened the drive with consecutive completions of 25 and 11 yards to Nate Weiting before later connecting with Smith-Marsette for 36 yards to the Penn State 4. 
    • After losing 1 yard on a Toren Young run, Iowa called a timeout with 34 seconds to play.  Stanley misfired on a slant to Smith and he was hurried on third-and-goal, forcing a 24-yard Duncan field goal that cut the lead to 7-6.
  • Penn State forced the game’s first turnover midway through the third quarter. On first-and-10 from the 22, PJ Mustipher met Tyler Goodson in the backfield, forcing the ball loose and Jan Johnson recovered at the Iowa 16.
    • After moving the ball to the 6, Penn State was penalized for holding on first and goal.  On the next play, Clifford connected with Pat Freiermuth for a 16-yard touchdown, but the play was reviewed and overturned, setting up a second-and-goal from the 1/2 foot line.
      • After bottling up a run on second down, Penn State was flagged for back-to-back holding calls, pushing the ball to the 21.  The Nittany Lions settled on Jake Pinegar’s 33-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 10-6 with 2:08 left in the third quarter.
  • Penn State forced the game’s second turnover in the fourth quarter when Jaquan Brisker intercepted an errant Stanley throw at the Iowa 39 and returned it 4 yards to the 35.  The Nittany Lions followed with eight rushes into the end zone with Noah Cain scoring from 5-yards out to give Penn State a 17-6 lead with 5:17 to play.
  • The Hawkeyes kept their hopes alive by responding with a 12-play, 87-yard touchdown drive. Stanley connected with Wieting and Brandon Smith for 13 and 15 yards to move Iowa to midfield. The Hawkeyes converted a fourth-and-5 with a 9-yard completion to Ragaini before Smith made the catch of the year to pull the Hawkeyes to within 17-12. 
    • On third-and-1 from the 33, Stanley targeted Smith along the Penn State sideline and he went up and over John Reid to haul in the touchdown reception.  Iowa’s two-point conversion failed, making the score 17-12 with 2:31 left.


  • Jack Koerner had a game and career-high 13 tackles, the most by a Hawkeye since Josey Jewell had 13 against Purdue in 2017. Four more Hawkeyes set career highs in tackles: Cedrick Lattimore (7), Brady Reiff (6), Dillon Doyle (5), and Austin Schulte (4). Chauncey Golston tied his career high with eight tackles.
  • Nate Stanley set season highs in completions (25), attempts (43), and passing yards (286).
    • Stanley threw one touchdown pass, raising his career total to 61 and tying Drew Tate for second all-time in program history. He trails Chuck Long (74) on the all-time list.
    • Stanley passed for 286 yards, raising his career total to 6,862. He passed Matt Rodgers (6,725) for fifth in school history.  Stanley totaled 281 yards of offense tonight, raising his career total to 6,720 yards of total offense, fifth all-time. He passed Chuck Hartlieb tonight on Iowa’s all-time list.
  • Three Hawkeyes set career highs in receptions and receiving yards: Brandon Smith (7-86), Nico Ragaini (7-55), and Nate Wieting (4-54). WR Ihmir Smith-Marette set a career high in receptions (5).
  • Redshirt freshman Mark Kallenberger made his first career start at right guard.


  • The last three games in the series have been decided by one possession.
  • Iowa scored three points in the first quarter. It is the first time this season Penn State allowed points in the first quarter.

The Hawkeyes host Purdue on Oct. 19 at Kinnick Stadium. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. (CT). The game is televised on ESPN2.
Iowa football hosts Minnesota in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale on Saturday, Nov. 16.  Fans are encouraged to wear black for the Blackout game, and it is the annual military appreciation celebration. Active duty military and veterans are eligible for a military ticket discount. Click HERE for tickets and pre-paid parking and additional game information.