Penn State Hosts Iowa Saturday

Chris Rossetti

Chris Rossetti

Published October 25, 2018 4:19 am
Penn State Hosts Iowa Saturday

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 17/16 Penn State returns to Beaver Stadium for its annual Military Appreciation Day game, hosting No. 18 Iowa in a Big Ten East vs. West match up Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.

(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)


It is a collision of winning streaks as Penn State has won its last eight against Big Ten West Division foes, while Iowa has won its last three games against the East, dating back to a win over Ohio State last season and including two wins this season, both of which came in the last two weeks.

Quarterback Trace McSorley, Penn State’s career passing yards leader, leads an offense that ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring (42.6) and third in total yards (480.6). McSorley and running back Miles Sanders have led a particularly strong running game this season that is averaging 240.7 yards per game, which ranks second in the Big Ten. The duo is part of a four-way tie for the conference lead in rushing touchdowns with eight each.

The Penn State defense continues to get stops in the backfield, leading the Big Ten and ranking 10th in FBS with 8.4 tackles for loss per game, while also leading the conference and ranking third in FBS with 3.57 sacks per game. Defensive end Shaka Toney tied the Penn State single-game record with four sacks in the fourth quarter at Indiana last week. The unit’s 22.0 points allowed per game ranks fourth in the Big Ten.

The Hawkeyes boast one of the nation’s top defenses, ranking third in the country in yards allowed (258.1 ypg) and fifth in scoring defense (14.1 ppg), while on offense quarterback Nate Stanley is second in the Big Ten in passing touchdowns (16).

Both teams are strong on kick returns, with Iowa leading the country (30.89 ypr) and Penn State ranking seventh (28.41 ypr).


  • Kirk Ferentz is in his 20th season as head football coach and 29th season overall at Iowa.
    Ferentz is the longest-tenured head football coach in the nation and the winningest coach in Iowa history.
  • Under Ferentz’s leadership last seasons Iowa made its 15th bowl game appearance since 2001. It has won 28 games over the past three seasons, matching the third best three-year win total in school history.
  • In 2015, Ferentz was recognized with both the Hayes-Schembecher and Dave McClain Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year awards. He was named Eddie Robinson and Woody Hayes national Coach of the Year and received the Dodd Trophy.
  • Ferentz attended Upper St. Clair High School in Pittsburgh and graduated from Connecticut in 1978. He was a football captain and an Academic All-Yankee Conference linebacker at UConn.
  • Iowa is 6-1 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play and ranked No. 18 in both the Amway Coaches and AP polls. The Hawkeyes are one of four teams in the West Division with one conference loss, which was to Wisconsin.
  • Iowa is playing its third consecutive game against an East Division team. The Hawkeyes won at Indiana, 42-16, two weeks ago, and shutout Maryland, 23-0, last week. The Hawkeyes are also playing their third road game in four weeks as part of a stretch of four road games in five weeks.
  • Iowa boasts one of the top defenses in the nation, ranking fifth in FBS and tops in the Big Ten allowing just 14.1 points per game and ranking third in FBS and second only to Michigan (220.0) in the Big Ten in yards allowed per game, giving up just 258.1 yards per game.
  • Iowa’s offense ranks 10th in FBS and third in the Big Ten in time of possession (33:34), and ranks 11th in FBS and second in the Big Ten in third down conversion percentage (.491).
  • Iowa leads the country in kickoff returns, averaging 30.89 yards per return.
    Quarterback Nate Stanley ranks 15th in FBS and second in the Big Ten with 16 touchdown passes.
  • Defensive ends A.J. Epenesa (0.86) and Anthony Nelson (0.71) rank second and fourth, respectively in the Big Ten in sacks.


  • The Iowa game marks James Franklin’s 100th career game as a head coach.
  • Franklin is in the midst of his eighth season as a head coach and fifth at Penn State.
  • Franklin owns a 65-34 career record and has guided his teams to bowl games in each of his first seven seasons.


  • Penn State leads FBS in scoring offense in the second half, averaging 24.86 points. Houston is second averaging 23.43 points.
  • Penn State also leads FBS in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging 15.29 points. Houston is second averaging 14.43 points.
  • For the season, Penn State is outscoring opponents  174-83 in the second half. The plus-13.0 points per game margin in the second half ranks third in FBS.
  • Penn State’s plus-7.43 scoring differential in the fourth quarter ranks fourth in FBS. (Per Coaches by the Number


  • Penn State is averaging 480.6 yards per game on offense to rank 15th in FBS and third in the Big Ten.
  • Penn State is the first and only FBS team to record two 90-plus yard plays from scrimmage this season.
  • Penn State leads the Big Ten in “big play” (15 or more passing yards and 12 or more rushing yards) percentage (16.50% of plays; 11th in FBS) an 12 or more-yard run percentage (15.09% of plays; 8th in FBS). (Per Coaches by the Numbers)
  • Penn State ranks tied for eighth in FBS with nine scoring drives of less than one minute.
  • The Nittany Lions had 1,234 yards of total offense over the Kent State (643) and Illinois (591) games, which is the highest two-game total since posting 1,266 against Temple (605) an Rutgers (661) in 1995.
  • Penn State’s 591 yards of total offense at Illinois rank fifth in program history in Big Ten games and are the fourth-best outing of James Franklin’s tenure.
  • Penn State had 31 first downs against the Illini, the second-highest total under Franklin and the fourth-best total in the program’s Big Ten history.
  • Penn State’s 643 total yards of offense against Kent State were the most by the Nittany Lions since having 661 yards of total offense at Rutgers in 1995.


  • Juwan Johnson became the 32nd player in Penn State history to surpass 1,000 career receiving yards on  a 13-yard catch in the first quarter at Indiana.
  • Johnson finished the Indiana game with a season-high 72 yards receiving, as he added a career-long 59-yard reception. That brought Johnson’s career total to 1,064, which ranks 26th in program history.
  • For the season, Johnson ranks second on the team with 21 receptions for 293 yards.


  • Penn State ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 36th in FBS in scoring defense, allowing 22.0 points per game.
  • Penn State ranks tied for 21st in FBS and second in the Big Ten behind Iowa averaging 4.43 three-and-outs per game.
  • Penn State’s 1.22 points per possession ranks 15th in FBS and third in the Big Ten behind Michigan and Iowa. (Per Coaches by the Numbers)
  • Penn State’s 1.15 points per possession over the last two years is fourth in FBS. (Per Coaches by the Numbers)
  • Indiana ran 100 offensive plays against the Nittany Lions, the most by a Penn State opponent in program history, but was held to 1.75 points per possession.
  • Penn State broke up 15 passes against Michigan State, which was the most for the team since breaking up 16 passes against Purdue in 2000.
  • Penn State became the first team to hold Ohio State scoreless in the opening stanza this season. The Buckeyes had scored at least 10 points in the first quarter in each of the first four games of the season.
  • Penn State was the first team to hold Ohio State under 100 yards of offense in a half since Oklahoma did it last year in the first half of their 2017 meeting.
  • Penn State allowed just seven second-half points at Illinois and shutout Pitt and Kent State in the second half.
  • Penn State allowed just 221 total yards to Kent State, the sixth-fewest yards allowed under James Franklin, tied with 221 yards allowed at Indiana in 2014.
  • The 221 total yards allowed vs. Kent State are the fewest since allowing 200 vs. Rutgers in 2017.
  • The Nittany Lions allowed just 41 yards rushing by Kent State, the lowest value since giving up 39 at Rutgers in 2016.
  • Penn State held Pitt to just six points, marking the fewest points allowed by Penn State since holding Maryland to three points in the 2017 regular season finale.


  • Penn State’s top six tacklers this season do not include any returning starters from last season.
  • Seniors LB Jan Johnson and S Nick Scott lead the team with 37 tackles each.
  • Johnson was just put on scholarship Oct. 18 and Scott also pulled in his first career interception at Indiana.
  • LB Cam Brown, LB Micah Parsons and S Garrett Taylor are tied with 36 tackles apiece this year.
  • Parsons had a career-best eight tackles at Indiana, while Taylor recovered his first career fumble against the Hoosiers.
  • CB Amani Oruwariye has 33 tackles on the year and ranks second in the Big Ten in passes defended per game (1.6).


  • Penn State leads the Big Ten in both sacks (3.57) and tackles for loss (8.4) per game. Nationally, Penn State ranks third and 10th, respectively.
  • Penn State is continuing to bring a balanced pass rush, as 14 different Nittany Lions have contributed to the team’s 25 sacks for the season.
  • DE Shaka Toney recorded 4.0 sacks at Indiana, all coming in the fourth quarter, doubling his previous career high of 2.0 against Northwestern in 2017.
  • Toney’s 4.0 sacks tied the Penn State single-game record, equaling the mark held by three others – Terry Killens vs. Indiana, 1995; Jimmy Kennedy at Wisconsin, 2002; Tamba Hali vs. Wisconsin, 2005.
  • Toney now leads the team with 5.0 sacks for the year and ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 0.71 sacks per game.
  • The Nittany Lions totaled 42 sacks in 13 games in 2017. Following totals of 46 sacks in 2015 and 40 sacks in 2016, Penn State posted back-to-back-to-back 40-sack seasons for the first time since it posted three-consecutive 40-sack seasons in 2005 (41), 2006 (40) and 2007 (46).

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