Penn State scores on final play to beat Iowa

Football Iowa Barkley

Sizing up Big Ten football as we (kinda) launch into conference season

With Iowa spoiling Penn State title hopes in the past, expect the Lions to be extra focused to avoid having history repeat itself.

Iowa sacked quarterback Trace McSorley four times and recorded 11 tackles for a loss in the game, attacking with constant and effective pressure.

"For us, opening at Iowa is going to be a challenge, but that's a challenge that we're going to accept", wide receiver Brandon Polk said. The 6-1, 208-pound receiver had a 74-yard score earlier this year, and had a 69-yard touchdown Saturday against UNLV.

By the end of the night, he had 358 all-purpose yards - 305 of them were on offense.

As much effort as Iowa's defense put into Saturday's game, Penn State's Saquon Barkley was simply better. The two-point conversion failed when safety Troy Apke broke up the pass. The Huskers haven't opened 1-3 since 1957. Iowa tried for two again and failed to connect on the pass.

But the numbers, as big and vibrant as they are, failed to capture the sheer absurdity of the player on this night and most nights Barkley plays. With their backs against the wall and only 96 seconds left, the Lions knew they still had plenty of time left, plus two timeouts.

Barkley's quick first-step punished the Hawkeyes on the edge.

Barkley had an incredible night making Hawkeye tacklers miss with his sensational footwork. "That's why I made the switch to number 19 to honor him". He raced up to the line to let everyone know the audible, then went back in shotgun and took the snap. But on fourth down, McSorley stood strong in the pocket and drilled the ball through a crowded end zone and into Johnson's chest. Running on the game-and-7 would've been bold, but Barkley's the best offensive player in the country.

Take his first career touchdown catch - which sparked Penn State's 52-0 rout of Georgia State on Saturday - as an example.

"A night like tonight's can really improve Juwan's confidence", Franklin said. Barkley is at the same level in both of those facets of the game, but Barkley's start-stop quickness and top speed are on a different level. He had a team-high 12 catches for 94 yards.

"I'm trying to think of the last time we played a back like this, other than a year ago", Ferentz said, referring to Barkley's 167-yard game against the Hawkeyes.

"That was a Heisman-like performance. Even during that play, I was like, 'Oh my God, ' it's incredible".

McSorley finished 31-of-48 for 284 yards, one touchdown and one interception. I want to apologize to (Iowa) coach (Kirk) Ferentz, to (linebacker) Josey Jewell, their quarterback (Nathan Stanley), their entire team.

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Senior Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) was a key cog in the Nittany Lions recuperation from their loss to Nebraska on Friday evening. Davis kicked a 21-yard field goal for an 8-7 lead.

Things seemed to be in trouble when Iowa lost their running back starter Akrum Wasley (ankle) and backup James Butler (elbow) to injuries in the second half of the game against North Texas.

Penn State downed three punts inside the 10-yard line and the Nittany Lions defense finally took advantage of third punt, which was downed on the 1-yard line.

No way should Penn State trailed late in the fourth quarter, needing a miracle drive to erase the ghost of 2008, when their championship season ended at Kinnick Stadium.

But McSorley was at his best on Penn State's final drive.

"We expect it to be a pretty insane scene, " Barkley said.

The Nittany Lions outplayed Iowa in the first half, racking up 4.7 yards per play to the Hawkeyes' 2.2 and holding the ball nine minutes more than they did.

Of those 99, Penn State arguably "won, " 65-70 of them. Eleven seconds to play.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (26) turned the Iowa defense.

IN has won nine of its last 10 nonconference games heading into its meeting with Georgia Southern.

His vision to get out of trouble was as good as I've ever seen. Barkley was an 18-wheeler driving through a swarm of gnats.

The Nittany Lions piled up yards - 579 of them - but settled for field goals on two of their five trips into the red zone and didn't score any points on a third journey inside the 20-yard line.

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