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McSorley: Lions look to 'keep elevating' as Big Ten play looms

McSorley: Lions look to 'keep elevating' as Big Ten play looms

Johnson caught a seven-yard TD pass as time expired and fourth-ranked Penn State rallied to stun Iowa 21-19 Saturday night. On the Hawkeyes first three drives, the Lions completely bottled up Iowa running back Akrum Wadley and quarterback Nate Stanley. The Irish have higher-touted blockers on their offensive line, which could be the key to this game. Likely not, though if they aren't careful, Iowa will be the sneaky team to jump up make the upset happen.

The stop on the second-and-eight play from the Iowa two-yard line came after a 39-yard punt gave the Hawkeyes the football at their one-yard line. But this game has a history of spectacular moments, most dramatically for Iowa in recent years.

No. 4 Penn State survived an upset bid at Iowa on Saturday night, 21-19.

Although this game is going to be played at a sold out Kinnick Stadium, at night on ABC in front of a striped-out crowd, this is absolutely Penn State's game to lose. Despite a pair of shutouts against Akron and Georgia State and allowing just one touchdown against Pittsburgh, Penn State's defense has not exactly been put to the test this season.

Iowa has the tools to move the chains and grind out drives against Penn State's defense, but the key for the Hawkeyes will be to provide some offensive help for Wadley and to slow down a Penn State offense with Trace McSorley, Mike Gesicki and a wide receiver unit that is unsafe at any given moment.

Smith played only a handful of snaps, none with defensive unit, in three years at Penn State prior to a 2016 game against Temple.

Five things to look for as Penn State kicks off the Big Ten schedule in a very hard environment tonight at Iowa's Kinnick Stadium.

"Coming down to that last play it was now or never", McSorley said.

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The junior signal caller played well last week against one of the best defenses in the league last Saturday in the Auburn Tigers . A year ago when Clemson played Louisville , it was hyped as a showdown between quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson .

That touchdown, and many other remarkable things, came from Barkley, who hurdled and gyrated his way to 305 all-purpose yards, 211 of 28 rushing, and 12 receptions for 94.

Penn State had been on the other end of this situation before, with Chad Henne hitting Mario Manningham in Ann Arbor.

It capped a back and forth contest that saw Iowa lead 7-5 at halftime despite just 54 yards of offense. If they are able to do the same against Iowa on Saturday and give a boost to an already electric offense, Penn State should cruise to victory.

Barkley caught 28 passes previous year, the most memorable in the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin.

"It was really good to get everyone in the right mindset before we get into conference play", quarterback Trace McSorley said.

The Hawkeyes are going to want to control the clock to limit the chances Penn State's offense to score if they have any shot and that is going to start with Nathan Stanley, Akrum Wadley and Co.to keep the chains moving.

But as some tougher defenses loom on the Penn State schedule in the Big Ten, it may be challenging for Barkley to continue his Heisman-chasing numbers. Gabrielle Orr dished out 45 assists for Iowa who dropped to 12-3 (1-1 Big Ten) on the year.

And so far, Penn State has not dealt with the level of injury concerns that plagued the team during the early part of last season and played a role in the team's two regular-season losses - both in September. "I have to get my work - my schoolwork - done a little bit faster or maybe during the day instead of at night so I can be fair to her".

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