Hawkeyes Have History as Heartbreakers

Story posted September 21, 2017 in CommRadio by Patrick Johnsonbaugh

It was a cold November day. Six seconds were left to go as Iowa lined up for a 31-yard field goal. The snap was a little high but the holder got the ball down, and the kicker sent the ball straight through the pipes. With that, Penn State’s hopes of not only an outright Big Ten championship, but also a national championship, disappeared.

That was 2008, the last time that Penn State went to Iowa City as a top five team. The 24-23 loss came following a road victory against Ohio State, and when Penn State’s national title hype was at its highest at point time during the 2000s. The team was ranked third in the nation after nine games.

Starting quarterback Daryll Clark played horribly in the cold and windy weather, going nine for 23 for only 86 yards and an interception. And even though running back Evan Royster went for 90 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, overall, the game was a rough affair. It featured a 10-point fourth quarter comeback by the Hawkeyes and the aforementioned game-winning field goal.

The 2008 team would go on to win a share of the Big Ten championship and lose to a Mark Sanchez-led USC team in the Rose Bowl. Overall, the 2008 season is looked at as a disappointment by Penn State fans.

The Nittany Lions started the 2009 campaign with high hopes and a No. 8 ranking in the preseason polls, but would climb to No. 5 when Iowa came to Happy Valley in late September.

Penn State carried a 10-5 lead into the fourth quarter, but again would blow the lead late as Iowa scored 16 unanswered fourth quarter points. With this loss, Penn State again had to come to grips with the idea of falling short of a national title birth.

That season, Penn State would fall to Ohio State and play LSU in the Capital One Bowl. The Nittany Lions won the game 19-17 and finished the season ranked No. 8.

Not only does Iowa have a history of upsetting Penn State in big games, but also against other teams. For an example, simply look to the night game last year against Michigan. Kirk Ferentz always seems to be able to pump his players up for games against highly-ranked teams.

With the Hawkeyes' record of upsetting high ranked teams and the home field advantage in this game it is clear that Penn State fans should be worried. This doesn’t even factor in that this will be Penn State’s first real test of the season and also the first Big Ten game of the season. So, any Penn State fans that are worried about the game have a reason to be.

Patrick Johnsonbaugh is a sophomore print journalism major. To contact him, email  pjohnosonbaugh@gmail.com.