Penn State Vs. Iowa: Report Card
PLAYER OF THE GAME
RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Another Saturday. Another performance from the Nittany Lions’ star sophomore that will capture the nation’s attention. Barkley rushed for 167 yards and a first-half touchdown, then hauled in a 44-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to put overmatched Iowa to bed early.
QB Trace McSorley, Penn State: His decision-making proved to be superb, as McSorley threw for 240 yards, rushed for 40 more and had the Nittany Lions offense moving as efficiently as it has all season.
MLB Jason Cabinda, Penn State: Despite a few personal foul calls, Cabinda had a big night. Led the Lions with eight tackles and stuffed Iowa runners twice on third-and-short.
MLB Josey Jewell, Iowa: Led the Hawkeyes with ?? tackles and blocked a Tyler Davis field goal attempt in the first quarter.
BY THE NUMBERS
15-yard penalties called against Penn State: Two facemasks, a late hit out of bounds and a kick-catch interference against WR Irvin Charles on special teams.
Years since Penn State last scored at least 40 points in back-to-back games, doing so against Michigan and Wisconsin in 2008.
Yards on RB Saquon Barkley’s fourth-quarter touchdown reception, the longest of his career.
Percentage of Penn State’s total yards accounted for by QB Trace McSorley and RB Saquon Barkley before both left the game in the fourth quarter.
Yards gained by Penn State in the first half. That’s more yards than Iowa had allowed in any game all season.
Quarterbacks: Maybe Trace McSorley’s most complete effort, and definitely his best display of decision-making. He finished with 240 passing yards, another 40 on the ground and three total touchdowns. Backup Tommy Stevens scored on a 13-yard run and finished with 70 yards. GRADE: A
Running backs: Barkley is somehow getting even more impressive. He juked and sprinted to another 200-plus yards of total offense, scoring on a 57-yard touchdown and a 44-yard catch that helped Penn State separate from the Hawkeyes. Backups Miles Sanders, Mark Allen and Andre Robinson combined for 82 more yards. GRADE: A Receivers: Tight end Mike Gesicki broke open a few big plays, three on one series, and nearly scored a touchdown. Saeed Blacknall did catch one, and he and Chris Godwin got plenty of open looks against the tough Iowa secondary. GRADE: A- Offensive line: Even after losing RT Brendan Mahon to an apparent leg injury on the game’s first play, the Lions’ line held up very well. Backup Chasz Wright allowed Iowa’s only sack, but Penn State still averaged 6.9 yards per rush, and McSorley had plenty of time to throw. GRADE: A- Defensive line: Once again, as the game went on, the opposing quarterback felt plenty of pressure. Kevin Givens, Evan Schwan, Tyrell Chavis and Ryan Buccholz had sacks, and this group helped hold Iowa’s tough running game to just 30 yards. GRADE: A Linebackers: A few personal foul penalties on Jason Cabinda didn’t help, but the work he and Brandon Bell put in on third down did. They stuffed Iowa on several third-and-short attempts early that got Penn State the ball back. GRADE: B+ Secondary: Troy Apke had an interception that led to the back-breaking touchdown pass to Barkley, but this group had a fine day overall, especially safety Marcus Allen. Iowa completed two long touchdown throws, but they never threatened. GRADE: B+ Special teams: Miles Sanders’ 48-yard kickoff return to open the game really set the tone. Tyler Davis drilled two field goals, even though he had one blocked. But punter Blake Gillikin and kickoff specialist Joey Julius did a good job limiting star kick returner Desmond King’s chances. GRADE: A- Coaching: Brilliant play-calling on both sides of the ball by offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and defensive coordinator Brent Pry. Lions gained 599 yards and held Iowa to less than 250. GRADE: A