Trace McSorley leads No. 4 Penn State's thrilling last-second comeback win in Iowa

Trace McSorley leads No. 4 Penn State's thrilling last-second comeback win in Iowa

BOX SCORE

IOWA CITY, Iowa — It was happening like it had so often in the past.

A once-sluggish Iowa team had come to life in the fourth quarter at home under the lights, and another top-five opponent was set to go down.

Trace McSorley, Juwan Johnson and the resilient Nittany Lions flipped the script, scoring on the game's final play to survive a wild Big Ten opener.

Johnson caught a seven-yard TD pass as time expired and fourth-ranked Penn State rallied to stun Iowa 21-19 Saturday night.

Saquon Barkley had 211 yards rushing and 94 yards receiving for the Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0), who outgained Iowa 579-273 but nearly blew a game that could've been crippling to their postseason hopes.

"Felt like with (Johnson) we had a height advantage and we could slip him through the middle of the field," Penn State coach James Franklin said of the winning play.

Akrum Wadley had a 70-yard TD reception midway through the fourth quarter and a 35-yard touchdown run with 1:42 left to put the Hawkeyes (3-1, 0-1) ahead 19-15.

Penn State went 80 yards on 12 plays and just 1:42 to close out the game, and McSorley found Johnson in a crowded end zone on fourth down.

McSorley finished with 284 yards passing on 48 tries.

Wadley had 80 yards rushing and 75 yards receiving and Nate Stanley threw for 191 yards and two TDs for Iowa.

"It's a tough loss for all of us," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "You can see first-hand why they were the Big Ten champs last year."

The takeaway
Penn State: Michigan came into Iowa City in a similar spot a year ago and lost 14-13, so the Nittany Lions should be happy they avoided a loss that would've erased their margin of error as far as the playoffs were concerned. Barkley was unstoppable and Penn State's defense was brilliant. But the Nittany Lions didn't do a ton in the passing game until the final drive — when McSorley's final pass was right on the money.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes' defense, led by preseason All-American linebacker Josey Jewell, played its heart out. Wadley then put Iowa in position to make a major statement nationally, but the Nittany Lions simply made one more play than they did. "This game sucks. But you've got to move on," Jewell said.

Poll implications
Third-ranked Oklahoma struggled with a winless Baylor on the road, and Iowa is clearly better than the Bears. But it's unclear if Penn State did enough to leapfrog the Sooners — who have a win over Ohio State.

Saquon's brilliance
Penn State faced a 3rd-down-and-6 up just 15-13 midway through the fourth quarter. McSorley threw a swing pass to Barkley, who was pinned to the sideline. But Barkley charged up the field, leapt over a Hawkeyes defender and got the first down -- keeping alive a drive that burned the clock. "The big difference in the game was that running back. He's a phenomenal player," Ferentz said. Barkley also caught 12 passes.

The numbers
Penn State ran 99 plays. Iowa had just 45. ...Stanley has thrown for 12 touchdowns against just one interception in his first four starts. ...Johnson finished with 92 yards on seven catches. ...Penn State gained 29 first downs, while Iowa had just 11.

He said it
"I cannot imagine there is a better player in all of college football. The guy is special," Franklin said of Barkley.

Up next
Penn State hosts Indiana on Saturday.

Iowa plays at Michigan State next weekend.

Penn State can't keep streak alive against No. 6 Purdue

ap-tony-carr-psu-purdue-basketball.jpg
AP Images

Penn State can't keep streak alive against No. 6 Purdue

BOX SCORE 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Carsen Edwards scored 27 points to lead sixth-ranked Purdue to a 76-73 victory over Penn State on Sunday night.

Dakota Mathias added 18 points and Isaac Haas had 12 points and six rebounds for the Boilermakers (24-5, 13-3 Big Ten), who snapped a season-worst three-game skid.

Tony Carr had 19 points, five rebounds and five assists, Shep Garner had 17 points and Lamar Stevens had 13 points and six rebounds for the Nittany Lions (19-10, 9-7). The loss ended a stretch of six wins in seven games.

Ryan Cline's 3-pointer with 5:31 remaining gave Purdue a 61-58 lead, and the Boilers never trailed the rest of the way.

It wasn't easy for a Purdue team in search of the same offensive flair that made the Boilermakers unbeatable during a program-record 19-game winning streak that stretched from November until a 64-63 loss to Ohio State on Feb. 7. It became more difficult without starting forward Vincent Edwards, one of the team's most consistent players.

Vincent Edwards sat on the bench wearing a walking boot after spraining his left ankle in practice on Saturday. The team disclosed the injury in a statement before tipoff.

It was another uncharacteristic game for the Boilermakers. They trailed by as much nine points in the first half, during which they shot 42.3 percent from the field and went 2 for 9 from 3-point range.

Penn State led 36-32 at halftime.

Big picture 
Penn State: Despite another poor offensive night by Purdue, the Nittany Lions proved their recent hot streak, which included a 79-56 blowout of No. 8 Ohio State, may not have been a fluke. Even after the Boilermakers found a groove in the second half, Penn State still never trailed by more than 11 points.

Purdue: After dropping three straight conference games and falling in the Big Ten standings, the Boilermakers needed to get back on track quickly with just two regular season games remaining.

Up next 
Penn State: The Nittany Lions host Michigan on Wednesday.

Purdue: The Boilermakers are at Illinois on Thursday.

Garner and Carr lead Penn State to 3rd straight win

usa-bostick-penn-state-illinois.jpg
USA Today Images

Garner and Carr lead Penn State to 3rd straight win

BOX SCORE

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Shep Garner scored 16 points and Tony Carr had 15 points to lead Penn State to a 74-52 victory over Illinois on Sunday night.

Illinois missed its first nine second-half shots and didn't score for seven-plus minutes as Penn State went on a 12-0 run to make it 49-36. The Nittany Lions (18-9, 8-6 Big Ten) led by at least nine points the rest of the way.

Carr hit three 3-pointers, grabbed six rebounds and had six assists. Lamar Stevens finished with 11 points, while Mike Watkins and Josh Reaves scored 10 apiece, for Penn State.

Illinois had the lead for more than 15 minutes in the first half, but squandered it late. Carr air balled a 3-pointer from the right wing, but Jamari Wheeler grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Garner, who nailed a corner 3.

On the ensuing play, Mark Alstork stepped on the baseline while inbounding the ball, giving Penn State possession with 3.6 seconds left. Carr scored a layup before the buzzer to take a one-point lead into the break.

The Nittany Lions shot 54.5 percent from the field, outscored Illinois 34-12 in the paint and won their fourth consecutive game against the Illini. Penn State has won six of its last seven overall.

Leron Black led Illinois (12-14, 2-11) with 18 points.

Big Picture
After finishing three games below .500 last season, the Nittany Lions continued their impressive turnaround this year. With a strong finish in conference play, Penn State could make its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2011.

After scoring career-high 32-points in a 78-69 loss to Wisconsin on Thursday, Trent Frazier was held to just six against Penn State. He has been Illinois' best player in conference play, and without a strong performance from him the Illini struggled.

Up Next
The Illini will face Indiana on the Wednesday night. Illinois knocked off the Hoosiers on Jan. 24 for its first Big Ten victory of the season.

Penn State returns home to face No. 14 Ohio State. The Buckeyes sit atop the Big Ten after a one-point win over No. 3 Purdue last week.