Patient Iowa rallies to overcome PSU, stay unbeaten

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa had practiced the play all the way through the week and felt just right about its possibilities, however the Hawkeyes additionally wanted the best second to strike. Penn State’s relentless blitzing protection made the wait excruciating.

“I was thinking about it all game,” Hawkeyes extensive receiver Nico Ragaini stated. “I was hoping [offensive coordinator] Brian Ferentz would call it.”

After attaining Penn State territory on 8 drives however completing only one with a landing, Iowa took over on the Nittany Lions’ 44-yard line with 6:35 left, trailing 20-16. Quarterback Spencer Petras surveyed a protection that wasn’t appearing blitz and knew the time had come.

Petras ran play-action, rolled to his proper and threw again around the box to Ragaini, who raced to the top zone for the go-ahead rating as Iowa hung on for a 23-20 win. The third-ranked Hawkeyes rallied from a 17-3 deficit to overcome No. 4 Penn State, which performed all the 2d part with out beginning quarterback Sean Clifford, who left in the second one quarter with an undisclosed damage.

“It was something we were holding in our back pocket for an important time in the game,” Petras stated. “We wanted to call it earlier. It’s just, those guys had a really great game plan. They were blitzing the hell out of us from every which way and making it tough for me to see stuff.

“But we were given it referred to as on the proper time.”

The game proved to be a test of Iowa’s patience. Petras completed only one of his first nine pass attempts with an interception in the first quarter. Iowa’s defense added to its national lead with three first-half interceptions, but the offense converted the takeaways into only three points.

Playing before fans wearing T-shirts that read “Punting is profitable” with a map of Australia, Iowa punter Tory Taylor — a native of Melbourne, Australia — pinned Penn State inside its own 20-yard line six times and averaged 44.2 yards per punt.

Iowa also took advantage of the limitations of sophomore quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson, who took over for the injured Clifford.

“It for sure modified extra to a dashing offense for Penn State,” Hawkeyes defensive lineman Logan Lee said. “We anticipated them to proceed to hurry the ball. I believe [Roberson] had seven passes at the season, so we have been beautiful at ease simply forcing him to proceed to hurry the ball and forcing third-and-long.”

But the offense’s inability to crack a talented and experienced Penn State defense that has thrived in the red zone all season kept Iowa behind until the closing minutes.

“Sometimes you will have simply were given to stay taking part in and hope one thing, someone, sparks you or one thing just right occurs,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Teams that may do this, learn to do this, have a possibility to achieve success.”

After a rough first quarter, Petras responded to complete 16 of 22 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns in the final three quarters.

“The greatest factor there may be persistence, conserving a fab head,” Petras said.

Kinnick Stadium hosted its first AP top-five matchup since 1985, when No. 1 Iowa faced No. 2 Michigan. Ferentz credited Iowa fans for being readier than his team was for the game, and Hawkeyes supporters stormed the field afterward.

Star center Tyler Linderbaum joked that he “would possibly have a slight concussion” from fans slapping him on the head, adding, “Just kidding, do not inform the running shoes.”

“I believe I used to be some of the final ones to get off, however I would not business that feeling for the sector being available in the market, high-fiving with fanatics,” safety Jack Koerner said. “I grew up a Hawk fan my entire lifestyles, going to Kinnick as a little bit child. High-fiving sons and daughters, screaming, ‘Go Hawks!’ about 150 occasions is a second I’ll by no means fail to remember.”

Iowa players and coaches finally made it to their locker room, where Ferentz became emotional as he spoke to the team.

“I were given that gene from my outdated guy,” said Ferentz, who choked up several times during his postgame news conference. “We’re all playing this. We experience every different and appreciate every different. It’s a lovely just right deal. I do not understand how just right a group we’re at that time, however I do know now we have were given a truly just right team of fellows.”

Iowa’s signature defense struggled early but added four interceptions to its nation-leading total, which stands at 16 after the first six games. The Hawkeyes have 10 interceptions in their past two games, including two by both Koerner and defensive back Riley Moss, who left the game with an injury that Ferentz didn’t think will be serious.

“We’re no longer shocked,” said cornerback Matt Hankins, who had an interception and a key fourth-down stop in the win. “It’s the paintings we installed all the way through the week, taking part in the zone protection, having eyes at the quarterback, seeing the place the ball’s being thrown and with the ability to destroy at the ball.

“It’s just repetitive.”

Iowa has gained 12 consecutive video games, stretching again to 2020, and boasts its very best score because the 2015 season, when it final reached the Big Ten championship sport. An undefeated Iowa group misplaced to Michigan State that yr, lacking out on its first College Football Playoff look.

“We know we have something special here,” Ragaini stated.

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