By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – What did we learn in Iowa’s 41-21 win over Penn State on Saturday?
We learned, once again, that the Iowa offensive line is the cornerstone of its offense. We also learned that senior receiver Brandon Smith probably doesn’t get enough credit for his blocking ability.
We learned that Penn State is not the caliber of team many expected it to be before the season. We also learned that scoring points off turnovers is important.
Offensive player of the game: Offensive line. The Hawkeye offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage en route to 175 rushing yards. The Hawkeyes have scored at least three rushing touchdowns in four consecutive games.
Defensive player of the game: Defensive line. Much like its offensive counterpart, the Hawkeye defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, totaling five sacks, nine tackles for loss and two interceptions.
Pivotal plays: The Iowa defense stopped Penn State on fourth down on consecutive possessions in the second quarter, one of which led to an Iowa touchdown to give the Hawkeyes a 24-7 halftime lead.
Sophomore defensive back Dane Belton forced a fumble on Penn State’s first possession of the second half that led to an Iowa touchdown.
With Penn State mounting a comeback in the fourth quarter, junior defensive lineman Daviyon Nixon tipped a Penn State pass attempt that was intercepted by senior defensive lineman Chauncey Golston. The interception led to a 24-yard Keith Duncan field goal that gave Iowa a 34-21 lead.
Nixon’s 71-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:58 sealed the game for Iowa.
Key stats: Iowa scored 24 points off four Penn State turnovers.
The Hawkeyes held the Nittany Lions to 62 rushing yards on 35 attempts.
Weird stats: Penn State reached the red zone once.
Penn State quarterbacks Will Levis and Sean Clifford were the only Nittany Lions to have double-digit rushing yards.
Did you know?: Mekhi Sargent is the 17th player in Iowa history to score at least 20 career touchdowns.
Kirk Ferentz joined Amos Alonzo Stagg, Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes as the only coaches in Big Ten history to win at least 100 conference games.
Iowa’s 41 points is the most the Hawkeyes have scored against Penn State since a 42-35 overtime win in 2002.
Iowa has forced at least two turnovers in seven consecutive games.
Iowa has outscored its opponents 110-35 in the first half this season.
Penn State is 0-5 for the first time in program history.
Series update: Iowa beat Penn State for the first time since 2010. The Nittany Lions had won six in a row and still hold a 17-13 advantage in the all-time series, and Iowa holds an 11-10 advantage in the series since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993.