There are only 5 unbeaten teams left in Division 1-A football and Penn State is not one of them. The 5 perfect records belong to Alabama (10-0), Texas Tech (10-0), Boise State (9-0), Utah (10-0) and Ball State (9-0).
Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions went to 9-0 and climbed to No. 3 in the AP Top 25 Poll before taking a trip to Iowa Saturday (11-8-08) and losing to the Hawkeyes 24-23 on a 31-yard field goal with a second left.
Daniel Murray, who had not made a field goal since Iowa’s season opener and had lost his job to a freshman, finally got a second chance. Murray had handled the kickoff duties but when it came to windy game conditions and a need for experience, coach Kirk Ferentz tapped Murray.
Murray drilled it down the middle and Iowa’s freezing fans went berserk, flooding the field in wild excitement. It happened because Penn State blew a 9-point lead in the 4th quarter. Iowa won the last quarter 10-0. The Hawkeyes were aided by Shonn Greene’s 117 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns, and Ricky Stanzi’s 15-of-25 passing for 171 yards.
The victory was Iowa’s biggest in years, and its first against a Top 5 team since 1990. The Hawkeyes improved their record to 6-4, becoming bowl eligible. The Hawkeyes’ 4 losses this year have been by a total of 12 points. Last week they lost to Illinois on a 46-yard field goal with 24 seconds left. This week was their turn to win with a last-second field goal.
Penn State’s chance to compete in the national championship game evaporated. The kiss of death for Penn State was the fact that Iowa was an unranked team, and Penn State was playing on the road. The Nittany Lions new goals will be a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth on New Year’s Day.
For the first time this season, all AP Top 25 Poll teams played, with 17 of the 25 teams winning and 5 huge victories among the winners that played other ranked teams. They included:
No. 1 Alabama on the road over No. 15 LSU in www.ufabet overtime, 27-21, with star quarterback John Parker Wilson scoring on a 1-yard sneak. The Crimson Tide had a chance to win the game in regulation play but a 29-yard field goal attempt by Leigh Tiffin was low and blocked.
LSU had the first crack in overtime but gave away even a shot at a field goal when Jarrett Lee threw his 4th interception and was picked off for the 3rd time in the game by Alabama’s Rashad Johnson, who tied a school record in the process. The Tide nixed another field goal try, having already missed twice, and Wilson scored on the sneak to give Alabama a spot in the SEC championship game.
No. 2 Texas Tech at home over No. 8 Oklahoma State, 56-20, as the Red Raiders scored touchdowns on 7 consecutive possessions.
No. 7 Southern Cal at home over No. 21 California, 17-3, in an awesome display of defense. The win was the 6th straight for the Trojans who have outscored their opponents 231-23 since losing 27-21 as 25-point favorites at Oregon State. That’s the Trojans, always losing a game to an unranked team, apparently they wake up late in Hollywood.