IN coach prepares for Penn State, praises Saquon Barkley, Trace McSorley

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

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

"We need to get better in between the tackles so we can punch the ball in the end zone, " Franklin said. "This is what we do".

Penn State football tickets are on sale now. The Nittany Lions scored two straight to tie the set at 24-24, but they served long for NU's third set point. Outscoring opponents 141-14, those results were never in doubt.

The trip to Iowa may have been far more uncomfortable than Penn State would have liked, but it escaped the fate of the 2008 trip to Kinnick Stadium and the fate of Michigan's trip there last November.

"We realize we have to play at our best and our highest possible level if we're going to be competitive", Ferentz said. Iowa tried for two again and failed to connect on the pass.

That became a real issue early in the fourth quarter when Stanley (13-of-22, 191 yards) found running back Akrum Wadley in the middle of the field for a 70-yard touchdown that cut the deficit to two. Now, the season is only four games old, so we won't get carried away with these numbers. Yet. He hit 31-of-48 passes for 284 yards with a touchdown and interception.

Michigan State completed the scoring with a cosmetic touchdown - a 25-yard toss from Lewerke to Gerald Holmes - and 2-point conversion with 3:09 remaining. "That place is going to be rocking", Franklin said. A national TV audience watched as Barkley ran for 211 yards and a touchdown, caught 12 passes for 94 yards and returned three kicks for 54 yards to break a Penn State record for all-purpose yards. Through 45 minutes of play, the Hawkeyes had just 5 first downs and put up only 113 yards of total offense. Then he missed high on a throw to DeAndre Thompkins and a tunnel screen to DaeSean Hamilton was batted down. The Hawkeyes came back against Wyoming, Iowa State and North Texas to start 3-0 on the season, including coming back from 10 points down to beat the in-state rival Cyclones.

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Seniors Annika Albrecht, Briana Holman and Kelly Hunter led the charge for the inspired Huskers. "Everyone in the huddle was saying, 'Guys we got this". He's one tough dude, without question, but football is a vicious game. As sound as coordinator Joe Moorhead's offense is, it's very dependent on having vertical space to work in.

And yet, if Iowa could have won the game, Josey Jewell might have won another Big Ten defensive player of the week award. On the flip side, Penn State has looked spectacular against three schools in Akron, Pitt and Georgia State that may win 10 games between the three of them.

"Being down 1-0 is a good opportunity to tie the game and being able to take it into overtime", she said, "and being down 2-0 makes it a lot bigger feat".

Adjusting on the fly and drawing up a new version of the play, it was truly backyard football. The Hawkeyes are just 1-2 against the spread and are an underdog for the first time this season. "There's a linebacker and he jumped up, and I'm like, 'Oh, s***.' And it went over his head". Well, he got to it. On that drive, the redshirt junior was 7 of 11 for 68 yards while running for another 12. "He steps up in big moments".

As exciting as the 21-19 win was, the Nittany Lions are now on to Indiana. Nebraska won the digs battle, 51 to 43, and edged Penn State in blocks, 7.0 to 6.5.

But next week, next month and next year, that drive will be ingrained in the minds of many.

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