1: Grind it out
Regardless of our wildest wishes, we knew this game would be a slog. It didn’t help that the weather resembled that of the 17-7 win over Northwestern almost a year ago. The Nittany Lions scored the first half’s lone 10 points, even though they held the ball for the majority of the half. Iowa, as they are prone to doing, made the Lions work for every single yard gained.
When yards and points are hard to come by, any sizeable lead becomes insurmountable. When the Nittany Lions went up 17-0, it seemed that would be the end. Penn State had another 14 points in the cards, and, while Drew Allar threw for four touchdowns, it was the running game that put this one away. Grinding.
2: Choose your own adventure
Some of you will you believe Penn State’s defense made it a miserable night for the Hawkeyes. Others may be of the opinion that Iowa doesn’t need help in being inept on offense. Whichever side you stand on aside, Iowa simply couldn’t do anything on offense. Their lone promising drive, their opening drive, ended in a fumble deep in Penn State territory. From there, it was Penn State slowly, but surely, sucking the life out of the Hawkeyes.
3: Oh, the irony
A team that relies almost entirely on turnovers and special teams plays came undone by both in this game. The aforementioned turnover in the opening drive, then a muffed punt later in the first half stalled any momentum, if you believe in that kind of thing, out of Iowa. Penn State capitalized, and scored just enough to keep the Hawkeyes at arm’s length. Two more turnovers in the second half all but sealed their fate, making the shutout all the sweeter, as the last turnover came in what could have possibly been the drive that broke the shutout once the backups were in.
BONUS: Suck it
Yes, there were some questionable calls in this game that favored the Lions. We’ll call that payment for 2021. Go eat your donut and enjoy you 21 points-per-game average on the season.