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March 2, 2024

PSU 41, Iowa 14 – UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 12 Penn State led from the game’s opening drive to the finish, as another 200-plus all-purpose yard performance by Saquon Barkley and a staunch run defense that yielded just 30 yards carried Penn State to a 41-14 victory over Iowa in Big Ten football action Saturday night Beaver Stadium.

A raucous crowd of 106,194 cheered the Nittany Lions to their fifth straight victory and their sixth straight at home. At 7-2, Penn State is off to its best start since starting the 2011 season 8-1. The Lions have won 12 out of their last 13 home games. Penn State is now guaranteed its 12th consecutive winning season. Only four additional teams have posted winning records each of the last 12 years.

Penn State totaled 599 yards of total offense, its most since totaling 661 against Rutgers in 1995, and its most in a Big Ten game since totaling 653 against Michigan State in 1994. Barkley paced a Penn State rushing attack that totaled 359 yards, as he rushed for 167 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown run. He also added a 44-yard touchdown reception to total 211 all-purpose yards, breaking 200 in the category for the second consecutive week.

The Nittany Lions defense limited Iowa to just 234 yards, including just 30 on the ground, which is 137.9 yards below the Hawkeyes’ season average (167.9 ypg). The last time Penn State held a Big Ten team to 30 yards rushing or fewer was Indiana in 2012 (24 yards). It was also the fewest rushing yards allowed by Penn State since holding Massachusetts to three yards in 2014.

It marked the second consecutive week Penn State held the opposition to 46 yards or less. The last time that Penn State accomplished that feat was in 2007, when the Nittany Lions held Notre Dame to zero yards rushing and Florida International to (minus-3) yards rushing. This is the first time since joining the Big Ten in 1993 that Penn State has held consecutive Big Ten opponents to 50 yards or less of rushing.

Penn State took control of the game from the start, building a 21-0 lead by the midpoint of the second quarter. Wide receiver Saeed Blacknall pulled in a 19-yard touchdown reception on the game’s opening drive, and then the Nittany Lions found the end zone on consecutive drives in the second quarter. Barkley broke free for a 57-yard touchdown run on Penn State’s first drive of the second quarter, and after an Iowa three-and-out, three consecutive completions to tight end Mike Gesicki placed the Lions at the 1, where Trace McSorley took it across the goal line himself.

Barkley totaled 211 all-purpose yards rushing 20 times for 169 yards and a 57-yard touchdown and catching a career-long 44-yard touchdown reception on wheel route. He now has 1,055 rushing yards for the season and he is the eighth Penn State player to have multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his career. It was his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season.  McSorley was successful in the air and on the ground, completing 11-of-18 pass attempts for 240 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 40 yards and a touchdown on 14 keepers on the ground. It was his sixth 200-yard passing game of the season.  Gesicki caught four passes for 65 yards, with three coming consecutively on one drive in the second quarter, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run for McSorley.  Gesicki caught a 43-yard pass that was originally ruled a 44-yard touchdown, but the officials ruled his knee was down at the 1 after a review.  QB Tommy Stevens totaled 71 yards and a touchdown on five carries, all in the fourth quarter.

The Nittany Lions defense held Iowa to just 234 yards of offense, and just 30 yards on the ground.  Linebacker Jason Cabinda led Penn State with eight tackles and made a key fourth down stop in the fourth quarter to prevent the Hawkeyes from gaining early momentum.

Penn State will play its next two games on the road, traveling to Indiana next Saturday.  The game will kick at noon.

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