Without its starting quarterback, No. 4 Penn State just could not hold on long enough on the road against No. 3 Iowa.
The Nittany Lions took a 14-3 lead into halftime, but lost senior QB Sean Clifford to an injury toward the end of the half. That left backup Ta’Quan Roberson, who hasn’t played other than garbage time, to see his first significant action in Kinnick Stadium, one of the most hostile road environments in the country.
Predictably, that did not go well. The Hawkeyes stormed back in the second half and pulled out a 23-20 victory to remain undefeated and hand Penn State its first loss of the year.
The Penn State defense held on for a while, but Roberson and the offense just could not get in sync. Penn State could muster only 68 yards and three points in the second half while the Iowa offense chipped away. Consistently backed up in their own territory thanks to precision punting from Tory Taylor, the Nittany Lions committed a bevy of false start penalties.
The Iowa offense, meanwhile, chipped away at the lead. Two field goals from Caleb Shudak cut the PSU lead to 20-13 late in the third and then 20-16 midway through the fourth. Iowa finally went ahead when Spencer Petras hit Nico Ragaini for a 44-yard touchdown with 6:26 to play.
Penn State would drive just past midfield on its next drive, but a Roberson pass to Keyvone Lee on fourth-and-3 was short of the sticks
From there, Iowa would seal the victory.