The Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions by a final score of 41-21 on Saturday. Here are the instant takeaways.
Iowa football moved to 3-2 on Saturday after a convincing 41-21 victory over Penn State at Beaver Stadium. The win snapped the Hawkeyes‘ six-game losing streak to the Nittany Lions and gave Kirk Ferentz his 100th career Big Ten victory. He became the fourth coach to do so in conference history.
It was the first time Iowa won on the road at Penn State since 2009. The Hawkeyes’ 41 points were the most they’ve scored against Penn State since 2002. The Nittany Lions are now 0-5 for the first time in school history.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Iowa’s blowout victory.
- Iowa’s defense is championship-caliber. Phil Parker’s side forced four more turnovers on Saturday, bringing their season total to 14. Two of those turnovers were interceptions, meaning the Hawkeyes now have 12 straight games with an interception. Additionally, they have at least two takeaways in every game this season.
- Speaking of defense, defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon was unstoppable. Already the Big Ten leader in tackles for losses entering the day, Nixon finished with 1.5 tackles for losses against Penn State. He also added a sack and had an interception return for a touchdown. He’s quietly playing his way into a top-50 pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.
- It’s time to admit Spencer Petras is not the answer at quarterback. Iowa’s running game and offensive line were both elite on Saturday, once again masking Petras’ deficiencies. At no time did Petras appear to show poise in the pocket. He lacks the touch needed to fit throws into tight windows. Simply put, Petras is not accurate enough to be a Big Ten quarterback. How much longer can the Iowa coaching staff hold off before making a change?
- If the Hawkeyes aren’t going to make a switch at quarterback, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz needs to find a way to get Petras more comfortable in the pocket. Give him easier throws that get the ball out of his hands faster.
- Iowa is such a physical team. The offensive line is tenacious and determined. The defensive line never gives up when rushing the quarterback. The running backs finish runs by lowering the shoulder consistently. As soon as an opposing receiver catches a pass, Iowa’s defensive backs swarm to the ball. Hats off to the coaching staff for instilling that type of mentality.
- Iowa probably has the best running back tandem in the Big Ten. Mekhi Sargent and Tyler Goodson scored three of Iowa’s five touchdowns on Saturday. The duo finished with 179 rushing yards on 35 carries. As they go, so does the Hawkeyes’ offense.
Iowa is now over .500 for the first time this season. Up next: the Hawkeyes host Nebraska (1-3) on Friday, Nov. 27 at Kinnick Stadium. It won’t be surprising to see Iowa as a double-digit favorite over the Huskers.