Stanley and Iowa offense struggle in loss to Penn State

Hope Soto
November 1, 2018

The Hawkeyes leave Happy Valley with the same record as the Nittany Lions. The 1-2 punch of running back Miles Sanders and McSorley could make things extremely hard on the Iowa defense.

Without context, you might think Penn State's quarterbacks weren't all that spectacular against the Hawkeyes.

For a program that has been mostly on an upward trajectory since it surged to a Big Ten title in 2016, the next three weeks will determine whether Penn State is in the midst of a small-step-back season.

It looks like Iowa will be pulling out all the stops against Penn State on Saturday. Opposing offenses have only been able to run for 79.6 yards per game against Iowa this season. Lion receivers have dropped 22 passes this season, among the most in the country by any team.

Penn State played three series in the second quarter without McSorley. They last lost three straight at home in 2015. The freshman kicker from Iowa added a 49-yarder in the third quarter and 44-yarder in the fourth. He caught five passes for 66 yards last week versus Michigan State.

The Hawkeyes are 6-1, but they haven't defeated a ranked team this year and failed to cover against Wisconsin at home in the only game they've played against one this season. Gross-Matos took the starting job only because Shane Simmons was out with an injury to start the year, but he now has 19 tackles and four sacks in his last two games.

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Outside of McSorley's 51-yard rushing touchdown, Penn State's rushing attack was limited to just 67 yards on 34 carries.

Sam Brincks #90 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates after catching a 10 yard touchdown pass in the first half against the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 27, 2018 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.

Quarterback Nate Stanley has made these Hawkeyes more dynamic, with 16 touchdown passes, and maybe the best pair of tight ends in college football in Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson. He should be a force on Penn State's defensive line for years to come. This performance could be just what Pinegar needed for confidence and a turnaround.

No. 17 Penn State will have a say in who plays for the Big Ten championship even if it is unlikely to be the Nittany Lions.

After losses to Ohio State and Michigan State, both at home, Penn State will have a hard time getting back into the East Division race.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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