Ihmir Smith-Marsette

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No. 8 Minnesota in trouble, down 20-6 at No. 20 Iowa

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We could have another Kinnick Stadium upset on our hands. No. 8 Minnesota is trailing No. 20 Iowa 20-6 at halftime as they try to keep a two-game advantage in the Big Ten West standings.

Nate Stanley has completed eight of his 10 passes with two touchdowns to give the Hawkeyes their lead. Iowa wasted little time getting in front by scoring a touchdown on the game’s opening drive. Stanley completed the first of his two touchdown passes to Nico Ragaini from 21 yards out for the early 6-0 lead. For some reason, Iowa then imploded on the extra point attempt and was unable to scramble for a two-point try. Iowa scored a second touchdown on their next possession, immediately after Minnesota missed on a field goal attempt. Tyler Goodson ran 10 yards for a 13-0 lead.

After Minnesota got on the board with a field goal, Iowa was ready for a response with a 69-yard touchdown drive. Stanley ended the drive with a touchdown pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette from five yards. Minnesota had a 1st & Goal in the final minute of the half but had to settle for a field goal.

With Wisconsin winning earlier today, Minnesota needs to leave Iowa with a win to own a two-game lead in the division and have a chance to wrap up the division next week before having to face the Badgers in the last game of the regular season.

Penn State and Iowa locked in Big Ten defensive battle, Nittany Lions up 7-6 at half

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What was billed as a defensive battle has lived up to expectations. No. 10 Penn State holds a 7-3 lead on No. 17 Iowa at halftime in Kinnick Stadium in a game that just might be a race to 20 points. Or maybe 14. Or 10?

Iowa’s defense came out feisty and gave young starting Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford a rough welcome to a stripe-out atmosphere in Kinnick stadium. Clifford missed on his first five pass attempts before getting in a bit of a rhythm in the second quarter. Clifford completed four of six passes on a 15-play drive that covered 85 yards. The fourth and final pass was a pass to KJ Hamler, who zipped down the right sideline and leaped over a handful of players to cross the goal line. Video replay was used to uphold the call on the field since Hamler actually fell out of bounds. He had crossed the goal line before landing, which is why the call was upheld.

Iowa struck first in the first quarter by scoring the first points given up in the first quarter by Penn State this season. It looked as though Iowa might only get the lone field goal in the first half, but a huge third-down completion from Nate Stanley to Ihmir Smith-Marsette for 36 yards on 3rd-and-10 in the final minute of the half led to a second field goal despite having the ball at the Penn State four-yard line with time to spare.

It’s still a game up for grabs and the defenses are the story in Iowa City. But whoever scores the next touchdown might put this game out of reach.