Penn State Football

Penn State scores early, often against Iowa

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley leaps over Iowa defenders during the Saturday, November 5, 2016 game at Beaver Stadium.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley leaps over Iowa defenders during the Saturday, November 5, 2016 game at Beaver Stadium. adrey@centredaily.com

No. 12 Penn State leads Iowa 24-7 at halftime on Saturday night at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions, playing in front of an unofficial White Out crowd, gave the rabid fans something to cheer for from the get-go. After Iowa won the toss and deferred to the second half, Penn State running back Miles Sanders took the opening kickoff out to the Nittany Lion 48-yard line.

The Penn State offense followed that up with a bang. The Nittany Lions moved the ball with tailback Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley running the ball, until the sophomore signal-caller connected for a crowd-erupting 20-yard touchdown pass to Saeed Blacknall.

After Tyler Davis' extra point conversion, Penn State led 7-0. The six-play, 52-yard drive took only two minutes, 17 seconds.

Next up, it was the Penn State defense's turn to maintain the momentum, and it held up.

Iowa drove 40 yards to the Nittany Lion 35-yard line and was faced with a 4th-and-1. The Hawkeyes went for it, trying a quarterback sneak with C.J. Beathard. The senior tried to leap over the line, but Penn State linebacker Jason Cabinda met him in the air, emphatically pushing him back.

The stop further juiced the Beaver Stadium crowd.

The Nittany Lions followed that up with a 45-yard pass from McSorley to Chris Godwin. Penn State's drive stalled out on the Iowa 12-yard line, though, and Davis' field goal attempt was blocked.

Both offense stalled a bit from that point forward. That is, until Barkley brought Penn State's back to life.

On 3rd-and-5 from the Nittany Lion 43-yard line, Barkley took the outside read-option handoff after an effective McSorley sell-job. The Coplay native broke a tackle, cut upfield, and dashed toward the pylon, beating 2015 consensus All-American defensive back Desmond King to the end zone.

The 57-yarder, followed by Davis' extra point, put Penn State up 14-0 with 10:28 left in the second quarter.

Penn State wasn't done, either. On the Nittany Lions' next drive after forcing an Iowa three-and-out, three straight completions to tight end Mike Gesicki (the third a 43-yarder) set Penn State up on the Iowa 1-yard line.

From there it was all McSorley, as the redshirt sophomore scooted into the end zone on a keeper, pushing Penn State's lead to 21-0.

Iowa finally responded on the subsequent series. A 24-yard screen pass, followed by a roughing the passer call on Cabinda, set up another halfback screen. This time, though, Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley danced his way in the open field for a 12-yard score with 4:18 left in the first half.

The Nittany Lions added three more points, as they drove down the field and burned the clock simultaneously on the ensuing series. As the clock expired, Davis connected for a 29-yard field goal.

In total, Penn State racked up 348 yards to Iowa's 128. McSorley completed 9 of 13 passes for 178 yards while Barkley totaled 116 yards on 12 carries. The running back also eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards on the season with the impressive first half.

Penn State made an announcement in the first quarter that the Beaver Stadium summer concert, dubbed the Happy Valley Jam, will feature Blake Shelton, Chris Young and Big & Rich.

Check back later for updates.

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