By mid-November 2008, Iowa was the Big Ten’s most physical team and one could argue the Hawkeyes were the league’s best by season’s end.
No. 3-ranked Penn State was unbeaten when it played at Kinnick Stadium and was in position to claim a spot in the BCS title game. The Nittany Lions dominated the first half statistically, keeping the ball 23 minutes, 34 seconds and outgaining Iowa by 133 yards. But Penn State squandered trips inside the red zone, keeping Iowa within striking distance at 13-7.
Iowa stayed composed during the second half, even when trailing 23-14 in the fourth quarter. Iowa safety Tyler Sash picked off a pass that could have sealed a Penn State victory. Iowa’s offense converted its last four third-down opportunities, all of which were longer than third-and-6. When Daniel Murray kicked the game-winning 31-yard field goal with 1 second left, it ended a streak of nine consecutive games where Iowa lost by three points or less.
The 24-23 victory set off a 13-game winning streak for Iowa, lasting one day short of an entire calendar year.