Iowa Football

Fun Facts, Iowa-Penn State: Justin Timberlake Edition

Nittany Lions play at Beaver Stadium, Beavers do not

Justin Timberlake (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Justin Timberlake (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Two ranked teams, an ESPN audience, a series with a lot of memorable games between the two … what else does Iowa-Penn State need to be fun?

Oh yeah, a bunch of random facts. So here are Fun Facts:

1. Both teams are nationally ranked. Both are 0-1 against ranked teams.

2. Quarterback sacks is a great statistic for Iowa all the way around. Iowa’s 3.14 per game is tied for 13th in the nation. It is tied for 10th nationally in fewest sacks allowed with 0.86 per game.

3. According to @ESPNStatsInfo, Iowa has trailed in games (Iowa State, Wisconsin) for a total of 69 plays this season. Only Alabama has trailed for fewer plays (three, against Mississippi), and just three other teams have been behind for less than 100 plays.

4. Penn State has outscored its opponents by 20 points per game, yet has just one more first down this season than its foes.

5. This series is tied 9-9 since Penn State joined the Big Ten for football in 1993. Yet, the Nittany Lions have outscored the Hawkeyes, 454-326.

6. Penn State and Iowa both had 43 wins in their previous five seasons.

7. Nittany Lion first-year freshman kicker Jake Pinegar is from Ankeny, Iowa. He has made 6 of 10 field goals. His brother, Hunter Pinegar, is a sophomore kicker at Iowa Western Community College. He has made 3 of 4 field goals. Seven Ankeny kickers have played Division I football including former Hawkeye Kyle Schlicher.

8. Iowa’s Nate Stanley has completed 45 of 66 passes on third-down for 68.2 percent. Penn State’s Trace McSorley is 19-of-53 for 35.8 percent.

9. McSorley is fourth in the nation in rushing yardage by a quarterback, with 554 yards and eight touchdowns on 98 carries. Stanley has 18 carries for 17 yards.

10. Iowa is 10-of-15 in fourth-down conversions. Its opponents are 0-for-7.

11. Penn State has a 4-game winning streak over Iowa. The only team with a longer current win streak against the Hawkeyes is USC, which beat Iowa six straight times between 1962 and the 2003 Orange Bowl. The Hawkeyes also have lost their last four games against Great Lakes. They have little chance of ever snapping that streak.

12. Nittany Lion starting defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos is from Spotsylvania, not Pennsylvania.

13. Penn State’s average Big Ten home crowd this season is 108,787. Its average Big Ten road crowd is 38,129.

14. The 1990 vote of Big Ten presidents to admit Penn State into the conference was held in Iowa City. It needed seven votes to pass, and the vote was 7-3 in favor. Iowa voted “yea.”

15. Penn State plays at Beaver Stadium, though its nickname is the Nittany Lions. The stadium was named for James A. Beaver, Union Army brigadier general and later the governor of Pennsylvania from nearby Bellefonte.

16. Oregon State’s team is nicknamed the Beavers, but it plays in Reser Stadium. That was named for Al and Pat Reser, the owners of Reser’s Fine Foods.

17. This is Penn State’s first non-State home opponent. The Lions have hosted Appalachian State, Kent State, Ohio State and Michigan State.

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18. In his preseason “Herbies,” ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit named Penn State and Iowa as two of his five best stadium atmospheres.

19. Princess Nittany is “the Nittany Valley’s answer to Hercules, King Arthur, and Luke Skywalker — she’s a legendary champion who embodies virtues such as strength, heroism, wisdom, and compassion, and whose story helps define and strengthen a people’s sense of themselves.” So says this essay at Statecollege.com.

20. Justin Timberlake performed at Penn State’s Jordan Center on Oct. 15. It was a stop on his “Man of the Woods Tour.” Timberlake is a Memphis native who lives in Los Angeles.

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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