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Penn State scores on final play to beat Iowa

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Sizing up Big Ten football as we (kinda) launch into conference season

"We told them that at the beginning of the week that they're going to have to really compete out there hard, and play with tremendous effort and hustle every snap - and that's what the team did tonight". McSorley looked over the Hawkeyes' defense, saw something he liked, ran up to the line and appeared to call an audible.

"We are frustrated", Iowa Coach Dave Dilanni said. Their usually potent offense, which had scored at least 30 points in 10 straight games, was stuck on 15 points in the closing minutes.

Instead, the Nittany Lions escaped Kinnick Stadium with a 21-19 victory that could have been much wider. After a missed two-point conversion, the Hawkeyes got the ball back. It's hard to justify coming to Iowa City as Penn State rolled Iowa a year ago 41-14. Iowa tried for two again and failed to connect on the pass.

With temperatures in the low 80s, the Hawkeyes' defense didn't wilt despite Penn State's offense holding a 2-to-1 time of possession advantage. There's a right tackle problem, one exposed by athletic, mobile D-ends like Iowa's Anthony Nelson, who appeared to have twice as many as his listed five tackles and one sack. He didn't touch the ball on the final four plays of the game.

McSorley was 14 of 25 for 122 yards and one interception in the first half.

Most telling statistic: Iowa only ran 45 plays but averaged 6.1 yards on each one. He simply couldn't be stopped and the nation got to watch him put on a show Saturday night.

One Big Ten East contender avoided a costly road upset on Saturday afternoon when No. 8 MI dominated Purdue 28-10 in West Lafayette.

He demonstrated that when he went up and over cornerback Josh Jackson and followed that leap by escaping from a hit delivered by Amani Hooker before being chased out of bounds on a play in the fourth quarter.

McSorley stood strong in the pocket, looked over the middle and tossed a laser between a pair of Iowa defenders. They were sloppy. They made a bunch of mistakes. I always want to be on top of my game, but there is a unique atmosphere and usually a pretty good opponent when we do get the chance to plat night, " Jewell said. Barkley took a screen pass and went 85 yards for a score last week. His previous career best was 207.

Barkley's impressive night included 211 rushing yards, 94 receiving yards and 53 return yards.

Beyond the sting of the loss, there were some good things to take from Iowa's play against Penn State on offense and even on special teams.

"I knew when I'd break out and go back in, I'd be gone", Johnson said.

Through the first half, Iowa gave up just 5 points 2 on a safety - even though the Lions made it into Iowa territory six times.

44 - Tackles through four games for Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell. But no one else on the team has caught a pass longer than 35 yards. That's 40 offensive touches at a clip of just over 7.5 yards per.

Barkley is arguably the most dynamic back in the country, with 307 yards rushing (8.1 yards per attempt) and 11 catches for 241 yards.

Seven seconds left, and Penn State faced a fourth-and-goal from the Hawkeye 7-yard line. "I'll try to force them to lean one way, then I'll give them a little head nod and lean, so they can commit to (one) way".

Until the final 96 seconds, when McSorley, Barkley and Johnson saved the day with a memorable scoring drive.

"Mostly that's just instinct", Barkley said. In a 21-0 hole early on the road against a tough IL defense, the star-loaded Penn State offense slowly clawed their way back to a victory to preserve their undefeated season and keep Penn State in the driver's seat for the school's first Big Ten championship. He finished with three catches for 105 yards in the Buckeyes' 54-21 win over UNLV. After the media timeout, Holman and Foecke tallied back-to-back kills to make it 17-12 and force a Penn State timeout.

That quick first step and exceptional athleticism separates Barkley from his peers. Since Barkley is by most accounts leading the race for the Heisman Trophy, it's not as if Kutcher had to be a visionary to shout out Saquon.

Half empty: OK, let's dive into the numbers and see if there's a bit of a growing concern with the overall offense and passing attack. The teams engaged in a sideout battle until Penn State took a 20-19 lead, its first of the set. Barkley was an 18-wheeler driving through a swarm of gnats.

Half empty: It's nearly inconceivable given those numbers above that PSU scored only 21 points, and was stuck on 15 until the last play of the game.

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