The Ottumwa Courier

Iowa Sports

November 10, 2008

Hawkeyes stun imperfect Penn State

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Penn State can’t blame the BCS for this.

The Nittany Lions perfect season and hopes for giving coach Joe Paterno another national title were dashed by Iowa’s backup kicker.

Daniel Murray, who hadn’t made a field goal since the season opener, hit a 31-yarder with a second left and the Hawkeyes rallied to stun the third-ranked Nittany Lions 24-23.

All that talk about an unbeaten Penn State possibly being left out of the BCS national title game turned out to be premature. A third championship for the 81-year-old Paterno, who’s had four unbeaten teams not win titles, is a long shot now.

Shonn Greene rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns, and Ricky Stanzi bounced back from an interception and a fumble to lead the Hawkeyes (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten) on their game-winning drive, which came after Daryll Clark threw just his third interception of the season.

Murray had lost the regular field-goal duties to freshman Trent Mossbrucker and was relegated to kickoffs. But with the winds swirling and strong, coach Kirk Ferentz opted for experience and Murray’s strong leg.

He drilled it down the middle, sending Iowa’s freezing fans spilling onto the field.

“I’ve always dreamed about it,” said Murray, who grew up in Iowa City. “I kept hoping and hoping I’d get my chance.”

The Nittany Lions were third behind Alabama and Texas Tech in the last Bowl Championship Series standings, jumped by the Red Raiders after they beat then-No. 1 Texas.

Penn State won’t have to worry about being stuck behind the Tide and Raiders anymore. The Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth are the Nittany Lions’ goals now.

“We need to keep our heads up. We can still have a heck of a year,” said Paterno, who again coached from the press box and got around with a cane because of a sore leg and hip.

Text Only
Iowa Sports
Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National