IOWA CITY, Iowa — Penn State once again is in the national spotlight as it faces Iowa on Saturday afternoon at Kinnick Stadium.
The No. 4 Nittany Lions and the No. 3 Hawkeyes are both 5-0 after impressive starts to the season. Iowa has done it with one of the nation’s best and most opportunistic defenses. Penn State has combined a stingy defense with a solid offense behind a resurgent Sean Clifford during its first five games.
The 69,250-seat Kinnick Stadium is sold out for Saturday’s game, and there appears to be a decent smattering of blue and white among the black and gold of the Hawkeyes fans as the stadium starts to fill in.
It’s a humid, overcast day in Iowa City with some breezy winds and temperatures in the low 80s.
PennLive will bring you updates throughout the game below from PennLive reporters Daniel Gallen and Dustin Hockensmith. Be sure to follow Daniel on Twitter at @danieljtgallen for complete updates and analysis, and also follow the rest of PennLive’s Penn State team: Dave Jones, Bob Flounders and Joe Hermitt.
Second quarter, 12:31 | Penn State 17, Iowa 3
Penn State extended its lead to 17-3 with a 32-yard field goal by Jordan Stout. The drive was 14 plays, 66 yards and took a bit more than three minutes off the clock. The big play was a 22-yard scramble by Sean Clifford on third-and-7.
First quarter, 3:21 | Penn State 14, Iowa 3
Sean Clifford has thrown two interceptions, but Penn State leads Iowa by two scores. That’s not really how anyone drew it up. Clifford threw his second pick of the game when he tried to hit Jahan Dotson on a deep ball but Iowa’s Jack Koerner hauled it in. The Hawkeyes, though, gave it right back when Spencer Petras threw a pass off wide receiver Nico Ragaini’s hands that Jaquan Brisker hauled in.
Four plays later, Clifford ran it four yards up the middle for a touchdown to make it 14-3. The big play to set up that touchdown was a 30-yard pass from Clifford to KeAndre Lambert-Smith.
First quarter, 8:37 | Penn State 7, Iowa 3
Penn State answered Iowa’s field goal nicely with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that took only 2:31, and running back Noah Cain capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Sean Clifford had completions of at least 15 yards to KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Parker Washington and Brenton Strange, and the Nittany Lions got help from a defensive pass interference penalty to set up Cain’s touchdown run.
First quarter, 11:08 | Iowa 3, Penn State 0
The game started about as poorly as it could for Penn State. Nittany Lions defensive tackle PJ Mustipher went down with an apparent left knee injury that didn’t look good on the fifth play of the game, and while Iowa was forced to punt, the Hawkeyes pinned the ball at the 2.
On Penn State’s first play, quarterback Sean Clifford threw his fourth interception of the game. He was running left, got tripped up in the end zone by linebacker Seth Benson and tried to force the ball to Jahan Dotson on the left sideline, but linebacker Jestin Jacobs was waiting at the 8.
Defensive end Arnold Ebiketie sacked Spencer Petras on third-and-goal to force the Hawkeyes to settle for a 34-yard field goal by Caleb Shudak to make it 3-0.
Pregame | Penn State 0, Iowa 0
Penn State has won its past three matchups at Kinnick Stadium, including the past two under coach James Franklin. Those were tight games, with Trace McSorley, Juwan Johnson and Saquon Barkley delivering the Nittany Lions a 21-19 win in 2017 and Noah Cain helping to hold off the Hawkeyes in a 17-12 victory in 2019.
Last season, Iowa throttled Penn State, 41-21, at Beaver Stadium. But the Nittany Lions haven’t lost since then, with a nine-game winning streak dating back to 2020 on the line Saturday. For their part, the Hawkeyes are on an 11-game winning streak.
Something will have to give Saturday.
Follow along with updates from Iowa City all game right here.
Daniel Gallen covers Penn State for PennLive. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Follow PennLive’s Penn State coverage on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.