If Glenn Carson hadn’t known the history of Penn State and Iowa, last year’s 24-3 loss in Iowa City last October would have been enlightening enough.
“The Iowa sideline, it was really small so the stands were really close to us, and you could pretty much hear the Iowa fans like heckling us, screaming at us,” Penn State’s sophomore middle linebacker said Tuesday morning. “They were saying things like ‘raise your hand if you ever beat Iowa.’ And that was the one thing that really stood out in my mind why this game’s so important.”
Carson (Manahawkin, N.J.), a three-time New Jersey state finalist at Southern Regional High School, continued with more words that could easily find their way to the bulletin board in the Hawkeyes’ locker room on Saturday.
“Iowa’s a wrestling school and Penn State’s a football school,” Carson said with a laugh. “So we’ve got to take it to them.”
While the Hawkeyes wrestling program has won 23 national championships, their 3-1 football squad enters Saturday’s game at Beaver Stadium (3:30, ABC/ESPN) winners of three straight games and eight of their last nine against the Nittany Lions (4-1).
In 2008, the Hawkeyes shattered the Nittany Lions’ hopes of an undefeated season with a last-second field goal at Kinnick Stadium. They came to Happy Valley the next season and yet again beat the Lions before they made last year’s contest their third in a row.
While Carson later said he was making a “wrestling joke,” he said what transpired during last year’s game has given him more incentive to beat Iowa this year. Many are looking at Saturday’s game as an indicator of where Penn State’s season will go from here. Carson said the team definitely has a sense of urgency this week.
“I think we all understand what has happened in the past years,” Carson said. “I just don’t think we came out and executed well against Iowa in the years past. And there were so many big factors that led to a loss for us like interceptions for touchdowns and blocked punts and blocked field goals, things like that. We all understand the history of Iowa verse Penn State.
“They think that they have this stranglehold on us, but we’ve just got to humble them up a little bit,” he said later, referring to Iowa's fans. “We’ve got to go out and beat them this year.”