Up Next: Iowa almost upset Penn State, now comes to Spartan Stadium

Sizing up Big Ten football as we (kinda) launch into conference season

Sizing up Big Ten football as we (kinda) launch into conference season

And when a game is statistically lopsided as this one was, it's on the coaches when the score isn't as decisive. The Nittany Lions didn't need any of that mojo through the first three games of 2017.

Half full: A win is a win is a win, especially on the road in conference.

Iowa hits the road this week with games at Michigan (Friday) and Michigan State (Sunday). MI is 3-0 but took a hit when leading receiver Tarik Black suffered a broken foot last week and is out indefinitely.

Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead dialed up the play early in the week and surprised Stevens with it in practice.

"People that appreciate football, (that last drive) was a clinic", Barkley told reporters after the game, per The Daily Collegian. The Nittany Lions needed every one of them.

Trace McSorley made his share of mistakes. They missed golden opportunities. They were all on display Saturday night. They let an inferior team hang around. The Lions finished with 599 yards of offense and 359 yards rushing, while holding the Hawkeyes to 234 total yards and just 30 on the ground. There's nothing wrong with the offense that a few tweaks in certain situations won't fix. Franklin said. "I think the first one was a bobbled hold that didn't get down clean, and the second one was on him".

As of now, 26 is one of the two leading favorites to win the Heisman alongside of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. Saquon Barkley accounted for 211 yards and two touchdowns against Iowa a year ago in the trashing in Happy Valley.

Kinnick Stadium has been an upsetting place to unbeaten teams ranked high in recent years. The Hawkeyes defended Penn State's corner routes tightly all night.

Half full: Trace McSorley is a victor, clutch and a great leader. With the loss went a chance to prove they could win a marquee game and reach a lofty status in the SEC.

"Coach Moorhead found different ways to get him the ball without handing it to him", Huff said, "which still allows your elite players to have an effect on the game". James Franklin agrees. "That's not who we are, and that's not who he is".

Sizing up Big Ten football as we (kinda) launch into conference season
Previously cancelled Nebraska vs. Iowa women's soccer match changed to Oct. 18

Stanley has been the lynchpin for a much-improved passing attack for the Hawkeyes. It can be viewed as the Chris Godwin effect. He caught 12 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. This season, he's 55th at 12.65.

"The value of a running back who can catch a lot of passes in the game is huge", Barkley said. Plus, McSorley was sacked four times. "We've got to be ready to deal with that". He's only going to catch more passes, particularly if defenses press the run.

Saquon Barkley was a 99-overall player all night long.

Those two games could decide who gets a spot in the Big Ten championship game, as well as one invitation to the national semifinals.

But Penn State got to work from their own 20-yard line to put together what must be considered this generation's version of "The Drive". All season. That's phenomenal. PSU had second-and-goal at the 2, but two runs by McSorley produced just 1 yard to set up fourth down.

The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 15-7 lead after three quarters, but Iowa scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the last with 1:42 remaining, to take a 19-15 lead. "We just do whatever the coaches say and go on from that".

Seven seconds left, and Penn State faced a fourth-and-goal from the Hawkeye 7-yard line.

The Carroll Kuemper alum and junior walk-on grew up dreaming about making that kind of play.

Iowa is a very good football team, and the Nittany Lions took their best shot and outlasted them - even if it took them each of the 60 minutes on Saturday night to do so.

Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM.

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