On a cold windy day in Iowa City, Iowa; the win was bittersweet for the Hawkeyes. This was the day for Iowa to pull off the upset special, and hand the Nittany Lions their first loss of the season in a thriller, 24-23.
On Penn State's opening drive, it was a quick three and out, as quarterback Daryll Clark fumbled the ball, but somehow managed to recover it according to official review.
Iowa received the ball from Penn State at the Nittany Lions 35, and after two plays Iowa fullback Shonn Greene rushed 11 yards for the touchdown, putting Iowa up seven to zero after the successful extra point attempt.
After the first offensive series of both Iowa and Penn State, it looked as though Penn State had settled in—their second drive of the game ate up 9:43 of the first quarter, with a breakdown of 19 plays for 71 yards. On this drive, the Lions could only manage a field goal, as the offense was refused admittance into the endzone.
The first quarter would literally go back and forth with three and outs on both offenses, and the first quarter score was Iowa seven, Penn State three.
By the second quarter both teams had settled into the game, and it was a solid defensive performance by Penn State, and an impressively dominating defensive effort by the Hawkeyes, but the Nittany Lions were not held out of the endzone on this trip—Evan Royster rushed for two yards for the touchdown, and the ensuing extra point was successful as Penn State pulled ahead of Iowa, 10-7.
The second quarter rounded out with many exchanges between Penn State and Iowa, and the only points put up were midway through the second quarter, as Penn State placekicker, Kevin Kelly sent a 31-yarder sailing through the uprights giving the Nittany Lions a meager lead of 13-7.
I don't know about you, but during halftime I was on pins and needles. While anxiously awaiting the start of the second half, I listened to the ABC analysts talk about LSU and Alabama, and make mentions of Texas Tech and Oklahoma State—all the while pining for the start of the second half.
The third quarter brought up three scoring drives—one, a Penn State 25-yard field goal by Kevin Kelly for three points, raising the Nittany Lions lead to 16-7.
The Hawkeyes would later answer Penn State's scoring drive for three points with a drive of their own, and on a Richard Stanzi pass completed to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos for 27 yards and a touchdown, brought the Hawkeyes within striking distance, and down only two points, 16-14.
Penn State wasn't going to take this lying down however, as Derrick Williams, a wide receiver, lined up as a halfback, took the handoff from Daryll Clark, and ran it in nine yards for the touchdown—Williams, widening the gap once again, giving Penn State a reasonably respectable lead of 23-14 after the extra point split the uprights yet again.
For the entire fourth quarter, that last touchdown scored by Williams and Penn State in the third quarter, would be the last points scored.
Iowa put together another scoring drive early in the fourth quarter, as fullback Shonn Greene yet again rushed six yards for a touchdown, the extra point attempt was good, and once again Iowa was within striking distance.
Late in the fourth quarter Penn State had the ball. Daryll Clark was driving this offense down the field for the go ahead touchdown, which would have all but sealed win number ten on an unblemished 9-0 record, but fate intervened, as Clark threw the immaculate interception, picked off by Iowa's Tyler Sash at the Iowa 15-yard line.
The deal had been sealed. Iowa's offense regrouped, and put together a miraculous, and well planned drive. With six seconds left in regulation, the Hawkeyes were close enough to attempt the field goal.
Hawkeyes placekicker Daniel Murray, had not attempted a field goal since September—lost his starting job after going one-for-three—split the uprights from 31 yards, and put the Hawkeyes up over the Nittany Lions, 24-23 with one second remaining.
Iowa did a squib kick, which would give them the victory, and take the BCS National Championship dreams away from the Nittany Lions—for now.
It is November after all, and Texas Tech and Alabama still have two more games that, like Penn State, is theirs to lose.
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