Happy Valley, Pa.—The No. 7 have been playing very sound football the last few weeks and walking around the campus with a whole new swag.
Quarterback Drew Allar threw four touchdown passes and the Nittany Lions’ defense forced four turnovers to lead the seventh-ranked Penn State past No. 24 Iowa 31-0 on Saturday night at Happy Valley in front of announced crowd of 110,830.
“We put a priority on athleticism,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “There’s probably a few bigger defenses, but we are athletic and we are quick and we are explosive and we’re playing more consistent, gap-sound defense.”
The Nittany Lions shut out an opponent ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since blanking No. 18 Texas A&M 24-0 in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28, 1999.
PSU controlled the ball for more than 21 minutes in the first half and continued to eat up the clock when they got the ball to start the third. They marched down the field 75 yards in 6:40 and went up 17-0 on a short throw from Allar to Warren for a 2-yard touchdown. Allar connected with Warren for a 7-yard score later in the third.
Cade McNamara connected on 5-of-14 passes for 42 yards. Deacon Hill connected on 1-of-2 passes for 14 yards for Iowa.
The Hawkeye rushers were led by Kamari Moulton with 18 yards on six rushes. Erick All led the team in receiving with 35 yards on three receptions.
Jay Higgins led Iowa with 18 tackles (10 solo) followed by Nick Jackson with 13 tackles (eight solo) and Jackson led the team with 2.5 tackles for loss.
Tyler Warren caught two touchdowns and Khalil Dinkins and KeAndre Lambert each caught one for PSU (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who controlled the ball for more than 42 minutes of the game.
Tory Taylor punted seven times for 366 yards with four punts being downed inside the 20-yard line.
“I think this was a good thing for us because we already knew what we were capable of and then we showed it,” defensive end Chop Robinson said.
PSU linebacker Curtis Jacobs recovered two fumbles and Adisa Isaac and Zuriah Fisher each grabbed loose balls for a defense that allowed just 76 total yards.
With Iowa driving in Nittany Lions’ territory on its second possession, defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton popped the ball loose from tight-end Erick All. Jacobs pounced on it to turn away the Hawkeyes’ best chance of scoring.
Allar turned the mistake into a 17-play scoring drive that ended with a 46-yard field goal by Alex Felkins.
The Hawkeyes turned the ball when they moving it down the field when Robinson jetted around the Hawkeyes’ line and stripped the ball from quarterback Cade McNamara. Isaac recovered it and Allar hit Lambert-Smith on a short end-zone route eight plays later — this one a 3-yard score — to make it 31-0.
“Needless to say, disappointing game and disappointing outcome for us. We never got into a position to put stress on our opponents. Credit goes to them, they’ve got a really good football team. Played pretty much flawless tonight, obviously we helped them along. Turnovers didn’t help and some penalties. Outside of that, not a lot to say. Tough loss for us, we will move forward, the biggest thing is to get back to work tomorrow so we can learn from this. It is all about pushing forward, lotta football left right now, that is going to be the key thing as we move forward.” Coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Iowa hosts Michigan State (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) next Saturday.
Penn State visits Northwestern (2-2, 1-1 Big Ten) next Saturday.