116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
No. 3 Iowa. No. 4 Penn State. It lived up to the hype. The Hawkeyes rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Nittany Lions 23-20 in a Big Ten battle of unbeatens.
» Box score: No. 3 Iowa 23, No. 4 Penn State 20
» Hlas column: Nico Ragaini went to the house and brought down the house
» Gallery: 78 photos from Iowa’s win over Penn State
4th Quarter updates
Final: Iowa 23, Penn State 20
Iowa rallied to beat Penn State for its 12th-straight win.
Spencer Petras’ 44-yard touchdown pass to Nico Ragaini in the fourth quarter provided the go-ahead score.
The Hawkeyes are now 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten. Penn State falls to 5-1, 2-1.
2:13 4th: Iowa 23, Penn State 20
Penn State got the ball back at its 8 with 2:38 remaining, but the Iowa defense didn’t let it go anywhere.
Matt Hankins put a bow on it with an interception on fourth-and-10. It’s the Hawkeyes’ fourth interception of the game.
6:26 4th: Iowa 23, Penn State 20
Once again, Iowa punter Tory Taylor backed up Penn State against its goal line. This time, the Hawkeyes took advantage of a field-position win.
Seth Benson drilled Ta’Quan Robinson in the end zone on third down to force an incompletion and punt.
On the first play of the ensuing possession, Spencer Petras hit Nico Ragaini for a 44-yard touchdown to give Iowa the lead.
8:08 4th: Penn State 20, Iowa 16
Freshman receiver Keagan Johnson gave Iowa a huge spark, breaking a tackle and making something happen with a 42-yard catch to the PSU 8.
But the Hawkeyes did nothing from there, settling for a field goal on a drive that started at the 50 after Tory Taylor’s punt pinned the Nittany Lions at their 2 and led to a three-and-out. Tyler Goodson lost 4 yards on first-and-goal, a 2-yard completion followed, then Spencer Petras was sacked by Daequan Hardy for a loss of 8.
Caleb Shudak kicked a 36-yard field goal to cut the lead to four.
3rd Quarter updates
1:36 3rd: Penn State 20, Iowa 13
Caleb Shudak kicked a 48-yard field goal to cut Penn State’s lead back to seven.
The first four plays of the drive were Tyler Goodson runs that went for a total of 29 yards. After an 8-yard pass from Spencer Petras to Sam LaPorta, the offense did little else.
Meanwhile, boos have taken over Kinnick Stadium as Penn State players continue to go down injured.
6:40 3rd: Penn State 20, Iowa 10
Iowa’s Deontae Craig sacked Ta’Quan Roberson on third-and-6 from the Iowa 15 for a loss of 11, forcing a field-goal attempt.
Jordan Stout converted from 44 yards.
Roberson, filling in for starter Sean Clifford, who’s in street clothes to begin the second half, was otherwise effective on the drive, running three previous times for 26 yards and completing 2 of 3 passes for 17 yards.
2nd Quarter updates
Half: Penn State 17, Iowa 10
Riley Moss reeled in Iowa’s third interception of the game at the Iowa 45, but hobbled off with an apparent knee injury.
The Iowa offense couldn’t take advantage, going three-and-out and punting back to Penn State with 37 seconds left in the half.
5:46 2nd: Penn State QB Sean Clifford out of the game
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford went to the locker room after taking a big hit on the Nittany Lions’ previous possession.
Clifford was 15 of 25 for 146 yards and two interceptions.
They turned to Ta’Quan Roberson to start the next drive, and it was ugly. He fumbled the first snap, then threw an incomplete pass. Three straight false start penalties followed as the Kinnick crowd crescendoed. On third-and-29 from its own 6, PSU handed it off for a 3-yard gain and punted.
7:08 2nd: Penn State 17, Iowa 10
A crucial touchdown drive for what had been an inept Iowa offense up to this point.
Charlie Jones dove for the pylon and scored on a 9-yard pass from Spencer Petras. It was an 11-play, 75-yard drive.
Petras started the game 1-for-9 passing but was 3-of-4 on this drive, including a 22-yard strike to Nico Ragaini on third-and-9 that he delivered while taking a big hit.
12:31 2nd: Penn State 17, Iowa 3
Penn State put together another solid drive, converting two third downs, including a 22-yard Sean Clifford run on third-and-7 from the Iowa 39.
Later on third-and-7 from the Iowa 14, Jack Campbell blitzed and hit Clifford as he threw, leading to the Hawkeyes’ first third-down stop of the game on seven attempts.
Jordan Stout then kicked a 32-yard field goal.
It was a 14-play, 66-yard drive that took 3:25.
1st Quarter updates
3:21 1st: Penn State 14, Iowa 3
Iowa picked off Sean Clifford for the second time when Jack Koerner ran down a pass in the end zone, but Penn State returned the favor on the Hawkeyes’ next possession.
Jaquan Brisker corralled a tipped pass from Spencer Petras at the Iowa 39 and the Nittany Lions turned it into a TD with a four-play drive, highlighted by Clifford’s 30-yard pass to a wide-open KeAndre Lambert-Smith.
Clifford found the end zone two plays later on a 4-yard run.
8:37 1st: Penn State 7, Iowa 3
Immediate response from Penn State.
The Nittany Lions went 75 yards on nine plays in 2:31 and took the lead on a 2-yard Noah Cain touchdown run.
Sean Clifford bounced back from the first-possession pick with a 5-for-7 effort for 57 yards. A pass interference penalty on Jack Koerner near the goal line set up the TD.
11:08 1st: Iowa 3, Penn State 0
OK, this is getting ridiculous.
Special teams prowess. Takeaway. Points. Again.
Tory Taylor’s punt bounced on the PSU 1-yard line and was downed at the 2. Then Seth Benson pressured Penn State QB Sean Clifford in the end zone on the Nittany Lions’ first play and he threw it right to Iowa’s Jestin Jacobs for an interception.
But the Hawkeyes couldn’t find the end zone. An Arnold Ebiketie sack on third-and-goal from the 7 forced a field goal attempt, which Caleb Shudak made from 34 yards.
“Saturday’s game against Penn State could be a program-changer for Iowa, an immediate lift into a higher level of college football.”
That’s how The Gazette’s Mike Hlas led off his column this week previewing Saturday’s showdown.
Yes, we remember Iowa’s 55-24 win over No. 3 Ohio State in 2017, but beating Penn State this year would keep Iowa in the top three in the AP poll and firmly in the CFP conversation. That’s a different level.
It’s a level where this defense seemingly belongs.
The Gazette’s John Steppe wrote about how the secondary is producing FBS-best results without gimmicks like a turnover chain.
“We just get a pick and then we’ll walk off and, ’Atta kid,’” cornerback Riley Moss said. “Then you’ll go back out and try to get another one.”
The Hawkeyes picked off seven passes against Maryland last week, but face a daunting challenege Saturday against Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson.
How to watch Iowa vs. Penn State (Oct. 9, 2021)
Time: 3:05 p.m. CT
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network
Listen online: The Varsity Network