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Three Takeaways: Penn State Finally Finds a Way to Finish at Home

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Iowa gave Penn State a few scares late, but the Nittany Lions held on for a 30-24 victory.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Yetur Gross-Matos show

Yetur Gross-Matos may have had his coming out party on Saturday afternoon against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The sophomore out of Virginia had a career day for the Nittany Lions, collecting nine tackles with four for losses and two sacks. Prior to the last two weeks, the Penn State pass rush was having a hard time getting home but Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney have a combined six sacks against Indiana and Iowa. Tremendous performances to say the least for both players.

Penn State’s defense comes up big

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen Penn State’s defense tire out by the fourth quarter and crashing and burning. This week, it was faced with the same situation it’s faced in three out of the last four weeks. While they didn’t make it easy for themselves, the Nittany Lions were able to get the job done.

Nick Scott’s interception with 3:18 left in the game was Iowa’s best chance to win the game but the senior safety came up with a big play.

Iowa got the ball back in the final two minutes and was able to get off 11 plays but, in the end, Penn State’s defense was able to make the stops. When looking at the big picture, defensive effort was a huge improvement. Brent Pry’s unit pitched a second-half shutout only gave up 13 points (one touchdown and two field goals) in the game. The defense gave up 350 yards, but overall it was a fantastic performance.

Pinegar has a career day against Iowa

Penn State freshman kicker Jake Pinegar had a career day against the Hawkeyes and has seemed to turn the corner this season. After struggling early beyond 40 yards, Pinegar made three from that range on Saturday including a career-high 49-yard field goal in the third quarter. James Franklin pointed out in his press conference following the game that Pinegar has now made six of his last seven kicks and it was all part of a “storybook” day for the Nittany Lions against the Hawkeyes.