GAMEDAY REPLAY: Iowa 41, Penn State 21

The Iowa football team is riding high after two consecutive blowout victories that somewhat softened the blow of two frustrating losses to open the season.

So which version of the 2-2 Hawkeyes will we see this Saturday, in a 2:30 p.m. trip to surprisingly winless Penn State (0-4)? Hopefully for fans, it's one that can erase the demons of several years' worth of gut-wrenching defeats against the Nittany Lions. 

That's why we'll be tuned into the Big Ten Network watching. That's why Chad Leistikow and Mark Emmert will be on-site at Beaver Stadium to chronicle the action. Danny Lawhon of the Register's staff will be following the TV broadcast along with you to add his thoughts, too.

Enjoy the game!

Fourth quarter

5:57 p.m.: And we've reached a final score. Iowa wins its third game in a row, this one by a 41-21 count. It's Kirk Ferentz's 100th win in Big Ten Conference play, and he's just the fourth coach to reach that mark in this league. Onward to Nebraska for the Black Friday game. The Hawkeyes are 3-2. Thanks for following along with us! — DL

5:47 p.m.: Daviyon Nixon's name appears the second time this fourth quarter. This time, he corrals the ball when it reaches his hands on a poor pass from Sean Clifford, and he nimbly scampers 70 yards for a pick-six. That'll do it. 41-21 now and we'll run out the remaining portion of the clock shortly.  — DL

5:43 p.m.: Penn State halts Iowa's three rushing attempts, using all tis timeouts in the process. Penn State returns Taylor's punt to the Iowa 43. We're at 2:53 to play, Penn State needing two touchdowns to win. — DL

5:35 p.m.: Down 13 points, after a four-minute drive, with 3:27 to go, on a fourth-and-17 near midfield ... Penn State punts. They have all three timeouts, but that's not a winning decision. A first down from Iowa will officially salt things away, but that's a game-over type of decision if I've ever seen one. — DL

5:27 p.m.: It's not quite over. Iowa's drive stalls inside the 10. Duncan boots a 24-yard field goal, and it's 34-21 with 7 mintues and change to play. We're in one-more-stop sort of territory. — DL

5:23 p.m.: An exhale. Daviyon Nixon bats a low throw from Clifford into the air, and Chauncey Golston runs under it for an interception. Iowa is in the red zone with under 10 minutes to go. A touchdown would put this game away for seemingly the second time. — DL

5:18 p.m.: And we're officially at "interesting" territory. Iowa gets one first down on its ensuing drive, but a punt comes at the 12-minute mark. Tory Taylor forces a fair catch at the 10-yard line. But Penn State has the ball with a window to a miracle comeback now. — DL

Third quarter: Iowa 31, Penn State 21

5:07 p.m.: Well, this game just got into the odd range of being just uncomfortable enough for worry-warts to sweat. Keith Duncan pushed a 50-yard field-goal wide right, and then Sean Clifford throws a bomb to a wide-open Jehan Dotson for 68 yards and a score. The two-point try is good, and it's 31-21 now ... — DL

4:55 p.m.: Spencer Petras got a little anxious on a first-down snap on an Iowa drive in the final 4:30 of the third quarter, with the ball squirting out and being recovered by the Nittany Lions' Lamont Wade. One play later, tight end Brenton Strange breaks a couple tackles on his way to a 28-yard touchdown off a pass from new quarterback Sean Clifford. The extra-point attempt from Ankeny native Jake Pinegar was missed because of a bad hold. It's 31-13 now. — DL

4:45 p.m.: There is 6:45 left in the third quarter, and Penn State's offense has run one play ... resulting in a Dane Belton sack and Zach VanValkenburg fumble recovery. The Hawkeyes' run game overtook that 12-play, 54-yard drive that chewed 6:13 and was capped by Petras' 3-yard sneak on third-and-2 from the 3-yard line. So on brand. Iowa 31-7. --CL

4:23 p.m.: The stats are closer than the score so far. Iowa holds just a 12-10 advantage in first downs. Third-down efficiency is 3-for-6 for the Hawkeyes, compared with 3-for-8 for Penn State. Iowa has the two fourth-down stops, and has collected the fumble off the awful pitch. Disciplined teams take advantage of those mistakes; bad teams, which Penn State is on its way to proving itself to be, in 2020, drop the ball. Figuratively and literally. — Danny Lawhon

Second quarter: Iowa 24, Penn State 7

4:07 p.m.: Iowa's 24-7 halftime lead is about as impressive as it sounds, with Spencer Petras maybe having his best game to date (12-of-18, 140 yards, no turnovers) and the run game producing 83 yards and three touchdowns. After that early chunk drive by Penn State, QB Will Levis hasn't gotten anything going. And the Hawkeyes get the second-half kickoff and could really make a statement. --CL

4:04 p.m.: Really odd decision by James Franklin to go for it on fourth-and-2 near midfield. But that's what he did, and Iowa took over after an incomplete pass and really put some separation between these teams going into halftime. Mekhi Sargent's second 1-yard TD run capped an impressive drive. That's twice that the Hawkeye defense has forced turnovers on downs with stout play in the middle of the line. Penn State has been able to get nothing going since taking that 7-3 lead. Iowa gets the football to start the second half also. — ME

3:49 p.m.: Jack Koerner and Nick Niemann played a game of “meet at the QB” on fourth-and-1, and they and the entire Iowa D stuffs Will Levis. Phil Parker adjustments have worked. Jack Campbell’s presence at middle linebacker seems to be helping. --CL

3:48 p.m.: Perhaps Iowa has figured out the smash-mouth mindset Penn State was trying to bring into its pistol run game. The Hawkeyes stuffed the Nittany Lions on both a third-and-2 and fourth-and-1 on attempted runs up the gut. Nick Niemann shut down Penn State quarterback Will Levis behind the line of scrimmage at the Hawkeyes' 40 to end the drive. The Nittany Lions drop to 6-for-13 on fourth-down conversions on the year. Iowa has a chance to bust this open a bit with 4 minutes remaining in the half. — DL

3:42 p.m.: Iowa again showing resiliency after being knocked backward by a penalty. One play after Ihmir Smith-Marsette was flagged for holding, Spencer Petras stepped back and connected with Nico Ragaini for 26 yards on second-and-16. That set up a terrific catch by Sam LaPorta near the goal line and an easy 1-yard touchdhown run by Mekhi Sargent. Hawkeyes using a nice mixture of run and pass to keep Penn State defense on its heels. — ME

3:19 p.m.: Iowa had one poor play on that touchdown drive, an illegal formation penalty that backed Hawkeyes up five yards. No matter. Tyler Goodson took a handoff from the 10-yard line on a misdirection play and had to make linebacker Jesse Luketa miss, which he did with a stutter-step. Then he beat cornerback Joey Porter Jr. to the pylon for his sixth touchdown of the season. Iowa running game has been impressive so far. — Mark Emmert

3:15 p.m.: Have never seen Iowa use three RBs and no-QB formation before, but it did to success, with Mekhi Sargent going for eight yards. Iowa gained 9.6 yards per play in the first quarter, then Tyler Goodson with a shake-and-bake 10-yard touchdown run. What an answer by the Hawkeyes, who lead 10-7. --CL

3:14 p.m.: Mekhi Sargent ends the first quarter with a couple of slices through the middle of the Penn State defense. He's got 42 yards on just three carries. Iowa with 65 ground yards through 15 minutes. It'll be first and goal for the Hawkeyes once the second 15 minutes gets underway.  — Danny Lawhon

First quarter: Penn State 7, Iowa 3

3:04 p.m.: Phil Parker is going to need to adjust. Because Iowa can't stop the quarterback run. Will Levis already with 44 yards on seven carries and the front four is being manhandled by the O-line. Penn State 7-3, the first Nittany Lions lead since the season opener against Indiana. --CL

2:55 p.m.: A start that feels pretty good for Iowa, considering it was facing third-and-8 from its own 24 and turned a 16-yard grab from Sam LaPorta into momentum and three points. Petras overshot Tyrone Tracy Jr. on what should've been a first-and-goal, but he also delivered a few nice tosses to Brandon Smith (who wasn't targeted last week). Keith Duncan with a sigh of relief as be narrowly makes a 40-yard field goal (just inside the right upright) after missing his last two attempts. 3-0 Hawks. --CL

2:48 p.m.: In what should amount to a de facto Big Ten East title game, Ohio State survives a 14-point rally by Indiana to triumph 42-35 after the Hoosiers' attempts at multiple laterals on the last play of the game go awry. Ohio State is now 5-0 and poised to be 8-0 heading into a conference championship tilt, with games only against Illinois, Michigan State and Michigan left on the calendar. Hardly a gauntlet. — DL

2:44 p.m.: Other than the third-and-12 conversion for 13 yards, Iowa's defense with a strong first series. Nice plays from Chauncey Golston and Seth Benson. A big holding call on Julius Brents, though, wipes out Charlie Jones' big punt return. Iowa starts at its own 22. Penn State has allowed an opening TD drive in each of its last three games. — Chad Leistikow

Pregame thoughts

2:25 p.m.: Kirk Ferentz is not worried about who the Penn State quarterback will be, in his Big Ten Network interview. He wants balance on offense -- surprise, surprise, Part II -- and he's still weirded out by no fans in road venues. "It's like something out of a science fiction movie," he said. -- DL

2:20 p.m.: Penn State will be without TE Pat Freiermuth today. That's a significant loss. Yet the game is a "pick 'em" so it sure seems like there's an expectation out there that the Nittany Lions could get their first win of the season. All of Iowa's main starters are healthy and accounted for. I'm watching field conditions; some Iowa players were slipping in warmups after a light rain here in Happy Valley. --Chad Leistikow

2:10 p.m.: Good afternoon, all! The Big Ten Network's pregame show is underway, and -- surprise, surprise -- an interview with Penn State head coach James Franklin still did not reveal a starting quarterback today for the Nittany Lions. The covert operation will last until kickoff. ... Chad and Mark will be chiming in shortly. — Danny Lawhon