Rudel: Picking highs and lows from PSU loss
UNIVERSITY PARK — Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 41-21 loss to Iowa on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
Play of the game: On third-and-1 from the PSU 49 midway through the second quarter, Will Levis made an errant pitch to Keyvone Lee, who couldn’t hold it. Iowa took over at the Lions’ 41 and turned the mistake into a touchdown that extended the Hawks’ lead to 17-7. The Nittany Lions never recovered.
Offensive player of the game: Iowa running back Mekhi Sargent rushed 15 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive player of the game: Hawkeye linebacker Nick Niemann recorded a game-high 17 tackles.
Most telling statistic: The Lions were held to 62 rushing yards on 35 carries.
Hidden statistic: Penn State has trailed by double-digits in the first half of every game this year.
Best run: Iowa defensive tackle Dayvion Nixon intercepted Sean Clifford in the fourth quarter and zigzagged 71 yards for a touchdown that set the final score.
Best pass: Clifford came off the bench and found Jahan Dotson for a 68-yard touchdown with :07 left in the third quarter.
Worst pass: It was really the worst pitch. See play of the game.
Best catch: Iowa defensive lineman Chancey Golston intercepted a deflected pass in the fourth quarter at the PSU 23.
Catch it, will ya: With the Lions down 10-7, Nit safety Jaquan Brisker dropped a second-quarter interception at the Iowa 40 right in his mitts. Dotson dropped a pass in the fourth quarter.
Hold it, won’t ya: Levis was credited with two fumbles. A third was negated when officials ruled the play was stopped by forward progress.
Best tackle: Niemann stuffed Levis on fourth-and-1 from the Iowa 41 late in the second quarter, preserving Iowa’s 17-7 lead.
Worst tackle: Jesse Luketa missed a one-one-one shot at Sargent, whose 10-yard touchdown run gave the Hawkeyes a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Best hit: Golston decked Clifford in the fourth quarter.
Best kick: Iowa punter Tory Taylor uncorked a 47-yarder in the second quarter to preserve field position.
Worst kick: Lion kicker Jake Pinegar missed an extra point in the third quarter, keeping the deficit at 31-13.
Best call: For a while, it looked like going back to Clifford.
Worst call: After being stopped on third-and-short from midfield late in the second quarter, instead of punting, PSU ordered up a low-percentage fade to Dotson. It was incomplete, and Iowa promptly moved 49 yards in 42 seconds for a TD that gave the Hawks a 24-7 halftime lead.
Best effort: Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras wasn’t flashy but he was efficient, completing 18-of-28 for 186 yards and no interceptions.
Unsung hero: Iowa’s Zach VanValkenberg recovered two fumbles.