Penn State

Lions’ explosive offense, stifling defense throttles Iowa


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Trace McSorley fakes the handoff during Saturday night's game against Iowa. -- GETTY

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- James Franklin sprinted about five steps to his right and jumped into receivers coach Josh Gattis. Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, looking up from the play sheet he was flipping back and forth, grinned as the Lions' head coach looked for him next for a celebratory hug.

"With Joe, usually I punch him in the stomach or in the ribs after a touchdown," Franklin said. "That one, I went and beat up Gattis because we were talking on the headset about how that was Gattis' play that he drew up."

Less than a minute of the fourth quarter had expired, but with a 26-point lead early in the final frame and Saquon Barkley jogging back to the sideline after his latest touchdown -- this one a 44-yard reception from Trace McSorley-- the Nittany Lions were in the familiar position they've found themselves in several times in the past month. Behind a swarming defense, another game with 200-plus all-purpose yards from Barkley and chunk play after chunk play from McSorley and the offense, the No. 20 Lions rolled Iowa, 41-14.

"We will never be satisfied, ever. That’s not just coach speak, I mean that," Franklin said. "We’ll always be looking at things that we need to get better in, areas that we can improve, depth that we need to create. Nine penalties alone need to be eliminated from the game. There are missed assignments, things like that. The most important thing is that we’re playing hard right now. Our guys are playing really hard."

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