Game recaps, thoughts and what mattered in the Week 9 games of the Big Ten college football season?
Penn State 30, Iowa 24
What Happened: The Nittany Lions survived, as Trace McSorley got banged up, but still managed to run for a 51-yard touchdown, Jake Pinegar kicked three field goals, and the defense held on for dear life as Iowa had a few late chances to take over the game – or at least take the lead. The final Hawkeye drive stalled without a shot in the end zone.
The Hawkeyes got out to a 12-0 lead helped by the first of its two safeties on the day, but the O failed to get into the end zone over the final three quarters, getting a pick six in the fourth to pull within three. But Pinegar’s final field goal helped get Penn State up to get by.
What Mattered: McSorley got battered and bruised, and he only completed 11-of-25 passes for 167 yards and a score with a pick, but he had the big run, finishing with a team-leading 63 yards and that score.
– Nate Stanley couldn’t connect. The Iowa passer wasn’t his normally sharp self, completing 18-of-49 passes for 205 yards with two picks. Punter Colten Rastetter threw the team’s only touchdown pass on a trick play.
– The two teams combined to complete just 32-of-79 passes. The pressure was on from both defenses with three sacks each and plenty of pressures. Penn State was in Stanley’s face all game long.
Thoughts: Obviously this is a killer in the College Football Playoff chase for Iowa, but in terms of winning the Big Ten West, everything is still fine. It might need another Wisconsin loss – it plays at Penn State and has to deal with Purdue – but if the Hawkeyes win out, they’ll almost certainly get into the Big Ten title game with at Purdue, Northwestern, at Illinois and Nebraska to finish.
– Nothing is going to be easy for the Nittany Lions, but it got out alive in a must-win moment. The East dream isn’t dead quite yet, but it has to close out perfect starting with the trip to Michigan next week and with a home date against Wisconsin to follow.