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 dominated by Penn State, 31-0, in White Out game Saturday

The Hawkeyes were held to no points for the first time in 23 years.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Penn State wide reciever KeAndre Lambert-Smith stiff arms Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean during a football game between No. 24 Iowa and No. 7 Penn State at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Iowa football took its first loss of the season in a 31-0 drubbing by Penn State on Saturday night. Amidst a crowd of 110,830 at Beaver Stadium, the Hawkeye offense totaled just 76 net yards while giving up three lost fumbles. 

After mustering just one first down on their opening drive, the Hawkeyes punted and pinned the Nittany Lion quarterback Drew Allar and Co. at their own six-yard line. The Iowa “D” took advantage of this field position and linebacker Nick Jackson nearly forced a safety on a screen pass. Going three-and-out, Penn State punted to their own 48-yard line, yet the Hawkeyes gave the ball right back. 

Following a false start from tight end Addison Ostrenga, Iowa faced 2nd-and-10. On the play, Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara hit Erick All with a shovel pass up the middle. All ran a few yards upfield, but Nittany Lion safety Jalen Reed forced a fumble and Penn State recovered. 

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Phil Parker’s defense picked up the slack with a tackle for loss and a sack on the ensuing drive, which held the Nittany Lions to a 46-yard field goal. 

After a three-and-out from the Iowa offense, the “D” proved stout again, forcing another punt. But adversity struck again for Iowa as Nittany Lion punter Riley Thompson’s offering deflected off the back of Hawkeye Brendan Deasfernandes and was scooped up by Penn State at the Iowa 39-yard line. Ten plays and two fourth-down conversions later, Allar found wide receiver Graham Friedrichsen for a 9-yard TD toss to extend the lead. 

“We try to focus on all three phases of the game, and sometimes the ball doesn’t slip toward our guys,” Iowa linebacker Jay Higgins said in his postgame media availability. “All we can do is continue to compete, continue to be around the ball, and hopefully the ball will slip in the right direction.”

The closest Iowa got to the end zone in the first half was on a muffed punt by Penn State that th Nittany Lion Kaden Saunders recovered in the second quarter. The Hawkeyes’ longest play of the half was a 20-yard pass to All on the opening drive. After All’s fumble, Iowa collected just four yards of offense. 

Penn State’s dominance didn’t stop at the half, as Allar led a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the final 30 minutes. The Nittany Lions were 3-for-3 on third down and averaged five yards per play on the drive. 

Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz said the Nittany Lions didn’t present any surprises in terms of playcalling. Instead, the coach identified the sustained drives as the main issue, complimenting Penn State’s physical offensive line, who yielded 0 sacks and three QB hurries on the evening.

Then, after an Iowa three-and-out, the Nittany Lions picked up right where they left off, mounting a 71-yard drive culminating in a 15-yard TD pass to tight end Tyler Warren, who caught the previous touchdown as well. 

Things went from bad to worse just one play later, as McNamara was strip-sacked by Penn State defensive end and 2022 All-Big Ten second-teamer Chop Robinson. The Nittany Lions recovered the ball on the Iowa 19-yard line. 

“I think at the end of the day, it’s about what we did, not about what they [Penn State] did,” Iowa left tackle Mason Richman said. “We hurt ourselves … it’s about our fundamentals, so I think there’s probably a lack of those and we’ll just see it tommorrow on film.”

The Hawkeye defense forced fourth down on the ensuing drive but was penalized for leaping on the field goal try, granting Allar and Co. another chance to find the end zone. The Nittany Lions did so on the very next play, with Allar throwing a dot to receiver Keandre Lambert-Smith for six. 

With the contest all but decided with 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Iowa backup quarterback Deacon Hill entered the game, but the Hawkeye offense still faltered with yet another three-and-out. 

Penn State answered in kind with their own second-string signal-caller, Beau Pribula. The redshirt freshman made the most of his playing time, leading his team on a 92-yard drive that ended in a 43-yard missed field goal. 

On the ensuing Iowa drive, Hill was strip-sacked from the right side by Penn State’s Amin Vanover. The Nittany Lions recovered the ball but failed to score. 

Penn State was four-for-four on fourth down and had a 45 percent conversion rate on third down. Iowa fumbled the ball six times, turning the ball over on four of those drops. 

Higgins explained how he, as the Mike linebacker, was more concerned with not letting up a big play on a Penn State trick play on fourth down, saying he would prefer a one-yard QB run than a pitch to the running back for more yards.

This is the first time Iowa has been shut out since Oct. 14 2000 against Illinois. The final score that day was also 31-0. 

“It’s straight ahead, just focus on the next game,” Richman said. “Obviously, you want to understand what went wrong here, but just focus on the next step.”

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About the Contributors
Matt McGowan
Matt McGowan, Pregame Editor
he/him/his Matt McGowan is The Daily Iowan's Pregame Editor. He is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communications and American studies with a minor in sport studies.  This is his second year with the DI
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.