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Sports Then and Now



Iowa Vs. Penn State: The Best Rivalry in Big Ten College Football, Part 1 17

Posted on September 27, 2010 by JA Allen

IA QB Ricky Stanzi celebrates 24-23 victory over Penn State.

The Iowa vs. Penn State rivalry in college football has ballooned in importance, especially in recent years as Iowa continues to roll out one impressive football team after another.

Penn State has the storied football past, having cemented its place in the upper echelons of successful college football programs.

In the early years, Penn State owned Iowa, winning five of their first seven meetings.

Iowa won twice prior to 1980, in 1930 and again in 1976.

Many felt Penn State would dominate the conference when the Nittany Lions became a full-fledged member of the Big Ten in 1993. After all, Penn State had won National Championships in 1982 and again in 1986.

The Lions did win the Big Ten conference title in 1994 with a perfect 12-0 season. They won it again in 2005, going 11-1, and in 2008 when they tied for first place with Ohio State. The Nittany Lions’ only conference loss in 2008 came against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Dallas Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes Football Team.

During the Hayden Fry years (1979-98), Iowa played Penn State six times, twice in 1983-1984 when Penn State was an Independent, and four times as Big Ten opponents. Iowa won twice, in 1983 and then again in 1996.

When Kirk Ferentz came to Iowa, the dominance by Penn State began to wane.

In fact, in the nine times the two teams have met during the Ferentz era at Iowa (1999-present), the Hawkeyes hold a decided advantage, winning seven of nine or 78 percent of the games played.

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