Up until Oct. 9, the Penn State Nittany Lions football team was on a winning streak beating teams such as the Auburn Tigers, Villanova Wildcats and more. Unfortunately, their 5-0 streak came to an end when the Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions, ending in a final score of 20-23. While most Penn State fans are still upset over this loss, VALLEY will be breaking down why losing Iowa isn’t the end for the Nittany Lions this season.
Before going into the aftermath of the game, let’s go over some takeaways in a brief overview of what happened on Oct. 9. In the first half, the Nittany Lions were leading 17-3 with most of the scoring efforts coming from our quarterback Sean Clifford himself. According to MSN, Clifford “completed 15-of-25 passes for 146 yards with no touchdown passes and two interceptions, and he rushed three times for 36 yards with a score.” Unfortunately, in one drive of the game, Clifford suffered an injury after being tackled down by Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell, in an incompletion. He later came out in the second half, not in uniform, but in regular clothes and a wrapped arm, confirming that he will not be playing in the second half of the game.
From this, the Nittany Lions had to send in sophomore Ta’Quan Roberson as the backup quarterback. As Roberson fumbled the snap on his first drive and the Lions got their first of many false start penalties of the game. Iowa used the subsequent injuries of players and the false start penalties to their advantage to gain a lead on the Lions in the second half. It all came down to the Hawkeyes’ turnovers, performance by their defense and special teams and their late game-winning touchdown to cinch in Iowa’s victory against the Nittany Lions.
After their loss to the Hawkeyes, the Nittany Lions fell from No. 4 down to No.7 in the AP Top 25 Poll Ranking. Coach James Franklin commented on their first loss of the season and what they hope to come in the future.
The main priority for the team is to focus on the health of their players. Fortunately, with bye week it gives them time to rest up and get focused for the games ahead. Despite the falling of the rank from the overall loss to Iowa, the path to the Big Ten Championship for Penn State is still wide open. Penn State still has big games to play in the future against the division opponents that can potentially put them in Indianapolis.
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