By Steve Kelly
Spencer Petras completed 18 of 28 passes for 186 yards and ran for a late touchdown to lead Iowa to its third straight win and first at Beaver Stadium since 2009, 41-21.
The points came quick for the Hawkeyes who scored on their first two drives, forced four turnovers and stymied the Nittany Lions (0-5, 0-5) on a pair of first-half fourth-down tries.
Iowa led 31-7 midway through the third quarter before Sean Clifford replaced Will Levis at quarterback for Penn State. Clifford completed a pair of touchdown passes for 96 yards in a 3:54 span that cut Iowa’s lead to 10 with just over a quarter left.
Levis went 13 of 16 for 106 yards, added 34 rushing yards and fumbled twice. Clifford was 13 of 22 with 174 yards and two interceptions for the Nittany Lions, who fell to 0-5 for the first time in their 134-year history.
”We got in this situation together and we’re going to get out of it together,” Penn State coach James Franklin said.
A handful of chunk plays on Iowa’s opening drive set up a 40-yard field goal from Keith Duncan that opened the scoring. Penn State took its first lead since the final minutes of its season opener when Keyvone Lee scored from 6 yards out on his team’s next possession.
The first-half highlights ended there for Penn State who turned the ball over on three of its next four possessions before halftime.
The Hawkeyes took the lead for good on their next drive when Goodson capped a 75-yard drive with a 10-yard sprint to the goal line.
Penn State failed to convert a pair of fourth-down tries and fumbled on a botched pitch from Levis to Caziah Holmes. Iowa’s Zach Van Valkenburg recovered the loose ball and Sargent scored from a yard out to make it 17-7 eight plays later.
Iowa continued to take advantage of Penn State’s mistakes. Lewis added another 1-yard touchdown run, up the middle again behind sturdy blocking to cap a quick drive and give Iowa a 24-7 lead.
”It’s the guys up front,” Petras said. ”Just a great job up front getting the push, I’ll take those guys over everyone.”
Petras scored on a 3-yard quarterback sneak in the third quarter before Clifford came off the bench and tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Brenton Strange. Clifford’s next pass came after an Iowa turnover and went 68 yards to Jahan Dotson for a score that made it 31-21 with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
Duncan added a 24-yard field goal midway through the fourth. Penn State was driving into Iowa territory with less than 2:30 left when Daviyon Nixon intercepted a Clifford pass and returned it 71 yards for a touchdown.