The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa football enters Penn State for White Out, first matchup since 2021

The No. 24 Hawkeyes will play in Iowa’s second-ever White Out game.
Nick Rohlman
Penn State players celebrate in front of the student section after Iowa’s game against Penn State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, October 27, 2018. The Nittany Lions defeated the Hawkeyes 30-24.

The Iowa football team will travel to State College, Pennsylvania, on Saturday to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions in one of the most electric environments in football history: the White Out. 

The 100,000-plus fans inside Beaver Stadium will be buzzing to see their No. 7 Nittany Lions take on Kirk Ferentz’s No. 24 Iowa Hawkeyes at 6:30 p.m. 

Considered one of the best traditions in college football, the White Out dates back over 20 years to 2002 when the Nittany Lions hosted the No. 7 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Fearing a stadium full of red, Penn State fans decked out in blue to “get the red out” — and the Nittany Lions won, 40-7.

But after a handful of more years of down seasons, the Penn State Athletic Department encouraged students to attend football games in all white to boost morale, culminating in the 2005 win over rival Ohio State that brought the second-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history.

From then on, the White Out was official.

Now a highly sought-after game for fans, ticket prices currently fetch nearly $200.

“It’s a big challenge for us and gives us an opportunity to showcase what we can do to a lot of people and make a statement,” Iowa running back Leshon Williams said. “Everybody talks about how it gets real loud, [so] the better we play, the quieter it gets.” 

This will be Iowa’s second time playing in a White Out game since 2009, in which the unranked Hawkeyes upset the then-No. 5 Nittany Lions at Happy Valley. 

Overall, this will be the 32nd matchup between the two teams, and the Nittany Lions are 17-14 against Iowa, with the Hawkeyes currently holding a two-game win streak in the series.

The last matchup has particularly left a sour taste in the mouths of many Penn State fans — and, at the same time, been arguably one of the greatest moments in Iowa athletics over the past five years. 

The then-No. 3 Hawkeyes came back from a two-touchdown deficit to win, 23-20, at home against the No. 4 Nittany Lions in 2021, the win capped off with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras to wide receiver Nico Ragaini. 

As soon as the scoreboard clock hit zero, thousands of Hawkeye students and fans from each end zone flooded the field in rejoice of Iowa’s success pulling off the biggest game at Kinnick Stadium in nearly 40 years.

RELATED: Hawkeye fans storm Duke Slater Field to celebrate Iowa’s win over Penn State

“I’d never seen anything like it,” Ragaini said in the post-game press conference. “I’ll truly never forget what today was like. This was like the biggest of big time.” 

University of Iowa fourth-year student Major Rhoten was in attendance for the 2021 game. He said the energy in the stadium had been building so high after every quarter that it was only necessary to rush the field. 

“The game was so back-and-forth, and everyone was super excited once we finally won that the excitement just forced everyone to the field,” he said. “There really was no second guessing it. We just ran down.”

But heading into this weekend, the Nittany Lions are currently -14.5 favorites against Iowa, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Iowa defensive lineman Logan Lee, who recorded seven tackles in the 2021 game, said the team enjoys being underdogs. 

“We are very fired up,” he said. “It’s not very often that you get an opportunity to play in front of 100,000 fans, so it’s super exciting.”

As for Rhoten, regardless of this weekend’s result, it will be hard for any game to top the last matchup between the two. 

“It’s the school-wide moments like rushing the field that make you proud to be a Hawkeye,” he said. 

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About the Contributor
Cooper Worth
Cooper Worth, Pregame reporter
Cooper Worth is a Pregame Reporter for The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. He is also earning a minor in communication studies and an entrepreneurial management certificate. This is his third year at the DI, previously serving as a News Editor and as a News Reporter covering local government in Johnson County for the DI. Cooper interned for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa during the summer of 2023 as a general news reporter.