(Saturday, September 26th)
Final Score: Iowa 21, (5) Penn State 10
University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Adrian Clayborn returned a blocked punt 53 yards for a touchdown that put Iowa in front, as the Hawkeyes again dealt Penn State its first loss of the season, with a 21-10 win over the fifth- ranked Nittany Lions.
Last year, Penn State was undefeated through nine games and possibly within reach of the national title game before Iowa dealt the Nittany Lions a one- point loss on a last-second field goal.
This season's result was not even that close, as Iowa (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) capitalized on numerous Penn State turnovers in the fourth quarter to pull away. After Clayborn's return put the Hawkeyes on top by a point shortly into the final stanza, the Lions' Daryll Clark threw one of his three interceptions, leading to a touchdown by Adam Robinson.
Robinson finished with 88 yards on 19 carries for Iowa, while Ricky Stanzi completed just 11-of-26 passes for 135 yards, with two interceptions.
Clark had an equally frustrating day, as he was 12-of-32 for 198 yards and a score. That touchdown was a 79-yard bomb to Chaz Powell on Penn State's first play from scrimmage, but the Lions (3-1, 0-1) struggled to find points the rest of the game.
Each of Penn State's drives in the fourth quarter, save for a possession in the final seconds, ended with a turnover of some kind.
The Nittany Lions led, 10-5, heading into the final stanza on a drive that started during the third quarter. They reached the Iowa 47-yard-line before having to punt, but Clayborn busted through the line and batted down the punt, recovering it by himself and running the distance into the end zone.
The Hawkeyes went for a two-point conversion but failed, leaving their lead at 11-10 with 12:21 left.
"We haven't blocked many punts... what's it been, five years since we've blocked a punt? And it's just a phenomenal effort," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "I've never seen a play like that by a big guy like that and it gave us a spark, but the bottom line is our guys fought hard for the full 60."
Penn State got into Iowa territory on its ensuing drive, and on 3rd-and-7 from the Hawkeyes' 49, Clark attempted a pass over the middle. However, the ball bounced off Evan Royster's hands directly into those of Pat Angerer, who returned the ball 38 yards to the PSU 24.
Robinson rushed three times from there, getting into the end zone on a 13-yard run during which he bounced off tacklers. The score put Iowa ahead 18-10 with 8:32 on the clock.
The Lions still had plenty of time to narrow the gap, especially after Powell returned the kickoff 36 yards near midfield. A personal foul penalty on Iowa then advanced the ball 15 yards further, but on first down from the Iowa 36, Royster ran 18 yards before Angerer forced a fumble.
Karl Klug recovered, though Iowa eventually had to punt, giving Penn State another shot with 4:06 left. But that drive, too, ended in disaster, as Clark threw two incompletions before A.J. Edds intercepted a third attempt.
"Every time we had an opportunity to put some points on the board, whether it be three points or a touchdown, something seemed to happen," Clark said. "When we would get something going, an interception or a mistake would happen. It just knocked all of our rhythm out of our offensive drives. They took advantage of our mistakes every time."
Iowa milked an eight-play drive that ended with a 31-yard field goal from Daniel Murray, which essentially wrapped up the game with eight seconds left.
The end of the rain-soaked game at a packed Beaver Stadium was so much different from the beginning. Penn State jumped on top after forcing Iowa to go three-and-out, as Clark hooked up with Powell on a play-action pass for a 79-yard score not even two minutes in.
Lions safety Nick Sukay then intercepted Stanzi on the ensuing Iowa drive, which led to more PSU points. Penn State's 20-play, 68-yard, 10-minute march ended with a 27-yard field goal from Collin Wagner in the final minute of the first quarter.
But the contest was largely downhill for the Lions from there. Their next touch ended in a safety, and Murray's 41-yarder got Iowa within 10-5 with 4:41 left in the half.
Penn State outgained Iowa, 307-298...The Lions converted 9-of-19 third-down opportunities, compared to 4-of-14 for Iowa....Royster finished with 69 yards on 17 carries...Brandon Wegher added 73 yards on 14 touches for Iowa...PSU plays at Illinois next Saturday...Iowa hosts Arkansas State next Saturday.
09/27 01:51:22 ET