IOWA CITY -- Like a magician, No. 3 Penn State made a sizable amount of game clock disappear with the use of several first downs in the first half before the University of Iowa football team made some second-half adjustments to win in thrilling fashion, 24-23, inside historic Kinnick Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Iowa took the momentum early when the defense forced a three-and-out to make Penn State punt from their endzone. Two plays later junior running back Shonn Greene broke loose for a touchdown to put the UI up early.
Penn State nearly had the ball the remainder of the first half using every first down to its advantage and with efficiency, watched the clock tic away. The Nittany Lions used 47 plays for 203 yards to get 18 first downs and work 23:34 off the clock -- to the UI's 6:26.
Of the three Nittany Lion scores, Penn State sustained drives of 9:43, 5:02 and 8:18. The Hawkeye defense refused to let the Nittany Lions win the battle, and held them to three field goals and only a touchdown throughout Penn State's 203 yards in the first half.
The Hawkeyes looked like a completely different team in the second half, amassing 202 yards on 42 plays and using 17:82 of the clock. It was a complete turnaround from the first half when Iowa ran 15 plays for 70 yards. The defense also locked down, holding Penn State to only 86 yards over the final 30 minutes.
The Hawkeyes have come close to winning every game this season, losing four games by a combined 12 points.
"Every game we've lost has been close and, quote unquote, "winnable," and that's, I guess, the losing team saying that, but the only way to get over the hump is to push over the hump," Ferentz said. "As I said the other day I think it was, 2001, it took us to game 12 to get it. It was in a bowl game against Texas Tech -- tough ballgame, and we found a way to get that one done, and we did it today, so I'm hoping maybe this will show us we can get it done. Hopefully it will be tangible evidence."
Ricky Stanzi led Iowa's final drive and used a 15-play, 57-yard drive in the final minutes to set sophomore kicker Daniel Murray up for heroics. Murray finished the job with a 31-yard field goal that set the scene for hysteria for fans and players. With one second remaining in the game, fans rushed the field before being sent back to the stands so Murray could kickoff. After the kickoff, the fans rushed right back onto the field.
With the upset over Penn State, the Hawks are bowl eligible with two games left on the schedule. They will look to take their momentum into next Saturday's game against Purdue at Kinnick with an 11 a.m. kickoff. It will be Senior Day and the final home game of the season.