By Pete Ruden
Iowa’s 21-19 loss to Penn State on Sept. 23 was a lot of things.
For fans, it was nearly an emphatic win that turned into a gut-wrenching loss on the final play. But at the same time, it showed that Iowa can hang with some of the top teams in the conference and even the nation.
As expected, Saquon Barkley racked up his fair share of yards, but for the most part, the Iowa defense held its own in the Hawkeyes’ attempt to flip the conference upside-down.
In the aftermath of what could have been for Hawkeye fans, here’s how Iowa looked in that famous game.
Yards allowed: 579
That’s a big number.
Still, the defense only let Penn State put up 19 points, which made it the definition of “bend-don’t-break.”
Iowa even went into halftime with a 7-5 lead, allowing only a field goal and safety.
Barkley lit the defense up to the tune of 211 rushing yards to go along with a touchdown, while also picking up 94 yards on 12 receptions. His 358 all-purpose yards broke a Penn State school record set by Curt Warner in 1981.
The performance rightfully earned him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season.
QB Trace McSorley added 284 passing yards and 61 more on the ground.
However, Iowa limited the Nittany Lions in the red zone, forcing them to attempt three field goals from inside the 20.
Josey Jewell tackles: 16
Jewell had himself a game against one of the best offenses in the country, notching 16 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, an interception, a fumble recovery, and 2 pass breakups.
The 16 tackles matched his career high, which is impressive judging by the offense he went up against.
After recording 33 tackles through four games last season, Jewell has made 44 tackles this year, ranking him first in the Big Ten. He has also climbed his way to No. 12 in Iowa history with 345 career tackles.
After opening the season with a 14-tackle performance against Wyoming, the Decorah, Iowa, native had a combined 12 tackles in his next two games, against Iowa State and North Texas, respectively.
The 16 tackles against the Nittany Lions accounts for 38 percent of Jewell’s tackles on the season.
Like Barkley, Jewell’s game earned him Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors with Michigan’s Chase Winovich. It marked the second time Jewell has won the award in his career.
Iowa third-down efficiency: 3-11
While Iowa’s defense did what it needed to do, despite giving up nearly 600 yards, the offense couldn’t get much going in the first half.
Before Jewell’s interception with just under 45 seconds to go in the first half, the Hawkeyes hadn’t even taken a snap in Penn State territory.
Iowa was unable to convert a third down in the entire first and third quarters, making it difficult to move the ball at all.
Luckily, Akrum Wadley was there.
The senior picked the offense up, rushing for 80 yards and a touchdown, while catching 4 passes for 75 yards and another touchdown.
Quarterback Nate Stanley had an acceptable game as well. Limiting mistakes, he threw for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns without throwing a pick.