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Penn State Beats Iowa 30-24 To Become Bowl Eligible

No. 17 Penn State beat No. 18 Iowa 30-24 on a rainy Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions secured bowl eligibility for the fifth straight season thanks to Nick Scott’s clutch interception with 3:18 remaining.

How It Happened

After a quick three-and-out, punter Blake Gillikin bobbled the snap and Iowa batted the ball through the back of the end zone for a safety. The Hawkeyes made it 5-0 on their next drive following a 27-yard Miguel Recinos field goal.

Iowa extended its lead on a fake field goal, as punter Colten Rastetter hit Sam Brincks for a 10-yard touchdown. McSorley answered by marching Penn State down the field and finding tight end Pat Freiermuth for an 18-yard touchdown.

Freiermuth couldn’t have been more wide open on his fourth career touchdown catch.

Iowa took a 14-7 lead with 13:39 left before the half on Penn State’s second safety of the afternoon. This time, Gillikin couldn’t corral Kyle Vasey’s errant snap and the ball scooted through the end zone again.

After seeing some snaps at his “Lion” position, Tommy Stevens entered the game at quarterback for an injured McSorley, who walked gingerly off the field on Penn State’s previous drive. Stevens scored on a 3-yard touchdown run, then Recinos gave Iowa a 17-14 lead thanks to a 49-yard field goal.

Despite James Franklin icing his own kicker, Pinegar tied things up on a 45-yard field goal just before the intermission. McSorley gave the Nittany Lions their first lead of the game, 24-17, on a 51-yard rushing score down the left sideline.

Nick Scott celebrates his interception with teammates.

Pinegar drilled a career-long 49-yard field goal that barely squeaked over the uprights with 4:10 to go in the third quarter. Geno Stone returned a McSorley interception 24 yards to the house to cut into Penn State’s lead, but Pinegar converted a 44-yard kick to make it 30-24.

Sophomore defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos delivered a second consecutive standout performance with a game-high nine tackles (two sacks). KJ Hamler, who had a 67-yard kick return, led all receivers with 96 yards on five catches.

Player of the Game

Nick Scott | Safety

The Fairfax, Virginia, native finished with five tackles and the game-saving interception.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) travel to Ann Arbor to face No. 5 Michigan next Saturday at 3:45 p.m. 

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Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

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