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Iowa Beats Penn St.; Nittany Lions 0-5

Iowa defensive lineman Zach VanValkenburg (97) tackles Penn State running back Keyvone Lee (24) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Spencer Petras completed 18 of 28 passes for 186 yards and ran for a touchdown to lead Iowa over Penn State 41-21 on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

Mekhi Sargent and Tyler Goodson combined for 179 rushing yards and three touchdown for the Hawkeyes (3-2, 3-2 Big Ten), who won their third straight and snapped a six-game losing streak to Penn State (0-5, 0-5).

Iowa led 31-7 midway through the third quarter before Sean Clifford replaced Will Levis at quarterback for Penn State. Clifford completed a pair of touchdown passes for 96 yards in a 3:54 span that cut Iowa’s lead to 10 with just over a quarter left.

Levis went 13 of 16 for 106 yards, added 34 rushing yards and fumbled twice. Clifford was 13 of 22 with 174 yards and two interceptions for the Nittany Lions, who fell to 0-5 for the first time in their 134-year history.

A handful of chunk plays on Iowa’s opening drive set up a 40-yard field goal from Keith Duncan that opened the scoring. Penn State took its first lead since the final minutes of its season opener when Keyvone Lee scored from 6 yards out on his team’s next possession.

The first-half highlights ended there for Penn State who turned the ball over on three of its next four possessions before halftime.

The Hawkeyes took the lead for good on their next drive when Goodson capped a 75-yard drive with a 10-yard sprint to the goal line.

Penn State failed to convert a pair of fourth-down tries and fumbled on a botched pitch from Levis to Caziah Holmes. Iowa’s Zach Van Valkenburg recovered the loose ball and Sargent scored from a yard out to make it 17-7 eight plays later.

Iowa continued to take advantage of Penn State’s mistakes. Lewis added another 1-yard touchdown run after a quick drive for a 24-7 lead.

Petras scored on a 3-yard quarterback sneak in the third quarter before Clifford came off the bench and tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Brenton Strange. Clifford’s next pass came after an Iowa turnover and went 68 yards to Jahan Dotson for a score that made it 31-21 with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.

Duncan added a 24-yard field goal midway through the fourth. Penn State was driving into Iowa territory with less than 2:30 left when Daviyon Nixon intercepted a Clifford pass and returned it 71 yards for a touchdown.

THE TAKEAWAY

Iowa: The Hawkeyes minimized mistakes and capitalized on Penn State’s errors to stay mostly in control. They’ll get a pair of struggling squads in Nebraska and Illinois next, but will need some help to have a shot at the Big Ten West crown in the regular-season finale against Wisconsin.

Penn State: No Nittany Lions squad has ever been in this situation, winless through the first five weeks of their season. With few standout performances until Clifford entered the game, and with star tight end Pat Freiermuth, who didn’t suit up for this one, now on the shelf possibly for the balance of the season, Penn State is playing for pride.

UP NEXT

Iowa: Hosts Nebraska (1-3) on Friday. Penn State: Visits Michigan (1-3) on Saturday.

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