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5 Best Iowa vs. Penn State College Football Games of All Time

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Football from Oct. 12, 2019

Penn State holds a 17-13 lead in the head-to-head series against Iowa

For the first time in more than 30 meetings, the Iowa/Penn State game will be a top-five matchup. The two schools met nine times before the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten in 1993 and have played more regularly since then. Penn State currently holds a 17-13 lead.

While Saturday's game is the apex of this series, there have been some great games preceding it. Here are the top five.

5. Iowa 21, Penn State 20

Oct. 19, 1996 — State College, Pa.

All-American Tim Dwight returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown (the first of five in his career), and running back Tavian Banks scored on an eight-yard touchdown run to give Iowa its first road win against a top-10 team since 1990 and first victory in Happy Valley since 1983. After the game, head coach Hayden Fry did the hokey pokey dance in the locker room to celebrate the win.

4. Penn State 20, Iowa 17

Sept. 15, 1984  Iowa City, Iowa

The Hawkeyes entered the game ranked No. 5 but turned the ball over four times and found themselves down 20-10 in the fourth quarter. Iowa closed the lead to 20-17 with a one-yard quarterback sneak by Chuck Long and drove into Penn State territory with less than two minutes to play. However, Nittany Lions safety Mike Zordich stopped running back Ronnie Harmon on fourth-and-one on the Penn State 29-yard line, squashing the Hawkeyes' comeback hopes.

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3. Iowa 24, Penn State 23

Nov. 8, 2008  Iowa City, Iowa

The third-ranked Nittany Lions entered the game 9-0 and led the 5-4 Hawkeyes 23-14 going into the fourth quarter. Iowa running back Shonn Greene scored on a six-yard run with 9:20 remaining, but Penn State put together a time-consuming drive that ran five minutes off the clock. It ended abruptly when Hawkeye safety Tyler Slash picked off Daryll Clark's pass with 3:46 to go. Iowa then drove to the Nittany Lions 14-yard line, where Daniel Murray booted a 31-yard field goal with one second left.

2. Penn State 21, Iowa 19

Sept. 23, 2017  Iowa City, Iowa

Both teams entered the game 3-0, and the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions led 15-7 after three quarters of attrition. Then Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley reeled off two straight touchdowns  a 70-yard touchdown reception and a 35-yard scoring run  to put Iowa up 19-15 with 1:42 left. Penn State drove down to the Hawkeyes seven-yard line. There, facing fourth-and-goal, Trace McSorley hit Juwan Johnson for the game-winning score as time expired.

1. Iowa 42, Penn State 35 (OT)

Sept. 28, 2002 — State College, Pa.

Iowa swarmed Penn State and led 35-13 halfway through the fourth quarter, but Nittany Lions quarterback Zack Mills threw three touchdown passes and the game was tied at the end of regulation. In overtime, the Hawkeyes got their mojo back on the first possession and Brad Banks hit C.J. Jones across the middle for a six-yard touchdown. Penn State's possession ended on downs thanks to a couple of questionable incompletion calls, and head coach Joe Paterno gave referee Dick Honig an earful after the game.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.