Penn State-Iowa: Looking back at the classics

When it comes to Big Ten rivals, Iowa probably doesn’t come to mind.

Penn State fans love to hate Ohio State and Michigan. Iowa is probably a distant third. However, there have been some really good games in the series. Even before Penn State joined the Big Ten, the schools met from time to time.

Here’s a look back at the 10 most memorable games in the series:

10. Iowa 6, Penn State 4 (Oct. 23, 2004) – OK, so it wasn’t exactly an offensive shootout, but it was still memorable. Penn State scored just a pair of safeties, including one Iowa took late in the contest when it was pinned deep in its own territory. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz had lost his father just days before the game at University Park, making for an emotional afternoon.

9. Iowa 21, Penn State 20 (Oct. 19, 1996) – On a cold and ugly day in Happy Valley, Penn State lost a heartbreaker. Iowa’s Tim Dwight returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and caught two passes for 77 yards. Penn State QB Wally Richardson completed just 10 of 30 passes and was sacked five times in the loss.

8. Penn State 27, Iowa 7 (Oct. 6, 2007) – This game was significant because Iowa had Penn State’s number for five consecutive meetings (2000-2004). Following a scoreless first quarter, the Nittany Lions scored 13 second-quarter points and never looked back. Iowa trailed 20-0 before it finally got a TD.

7. Penn State 61, Iowa 21 (Sept. 17, 1994) – On a rainy day at Beaver Stadium, the Penn State offense was clicking on all cylinders in a rout of the Hawkeyes. Behind QB Kerry Collins and RB Ki-Jana Carter, Penn State jumped out to a 35-0 lead and never looked back in most lopsided game in the series.

6. Iowa 7, Penn State 6 (Sept. 25, 1976) – Penn State was ranked No. 11 in the nation and Iowa was unranked. The Nittany Lions couldn’t muster much offense against an upstart Iowa team. Iowa grabbed an early 7-0 lead. Penn State scored a TD with 9:01 to play in the game. Head coach Joe Paterno opted to go for a 2-point conversion, but QB Chuck Fusina’s pass was incomplete and neither team scored again.

5. Penn State 41, Iowa 14 (Nov. 6, 2016) – Penn State’s offense was on fire in this one. Saquon Barkley had 211 all-purpose yards and Trace McSorley threw for 211 yards and two TDs as the Nittany Lions rolled to an easy win over the Hawkeyes at Beaver Stadium. Much like 1994, this was a dominating performance.

4. Iowa 21, Penn State 10 (Sept. 26, 2009) – Probably one of the more disappointing games in the series. No. 5 Penn State was playing in an electric nighttime atmosphere in Happy Valley and jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening minutes when Daryll Clark found Chaz Powell for a 79-yard TD. The Lions tacked on a field goal to take a 10-0 first quarter lead. But Iowa stormed back with 21 unanswered points to stun the Lions for the second consecutive year.

3. Iowa 26, Penn State 23, 2 OT (Nov. 4, 2000) – Both teams were having down years, but that didn’t stop them from playing one of the best games the series has seen. Penn State trailed early, 13-3, but battled back to tie the game at 13-13. Down 16-13, PSU needed a late field goal by Ryan Primanti to send the game into overtime. In OT, PSU took a 23-16 lead on a 6-yard TD run by Rashard Casey, but Iowa answered to force a second OT. Iowa’s Nate Kaeding kicked what would be the game-winning field goal and Casey was intercepted to end the contest.

2. Penn State 14, Iowa 10 (Sept. 30, 1972) – It was just the third time the teams met, but it was one of the classic forgotten games of the series. Iowa held a slim 3-0 lead late in the third quarter, but Penn State scored to take a 7-3 lead. Iowa had a 10-7 lead, but Penn State scored a TD with under three minutes to play to make it 14-10. Iowa was driving late, but fumbled and Penn State hung on for a game that featured a flurry of activity in the fourth quarter. Side note: On old game film, it appears as if fans are storming the field, but back then fans exited the stadium in the same direction as players.

1. Iowa 24, Penn State 23 (Nov. 8, 2008) – As painful as it is to rank this one No. 1, it has to be. Penn State rolled into Kinnick Stadium undefeated and No. 3 in the country. But the Nittany Lions saw a late 23-14 evaporate. A Clark interception led to a late Iowa drive and a 31-yard field goal by Iowa’s Daniel Murray. The loss dashed Penn State’s National Championship hopes.

Penn State leads the series with Iowa, 14-12.

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