Sound can’t be barrier
Nittany Lions know they must find way to cope with noisy environs in Iowa City
Penn State linebacker Jesse Luketa has readied himself with a travel tip for his first game at Iowa: Keep your helmet close.
“I’ve been told that if you take your helmet off, the fans will take it and pass it up into the stadium,” Luketa said. “That’s something I’m not trying to experience, so I’m going to make sure I keep my helmet on my head.”
Unbeaten Penn State heads to Iowa for another night game, and those who were there in 2017 expect every bit of the same loud and intense environment. Penn State won that game 21-19 on Trace McSorley’s walk-off touchdown pass to Juwan Johnson, who shushed the crowd from the end zone.
Sophomore linebacker Micah Parsons is among those making his first trip to Iowa City. He’s eager to see whether the stories are true.
“I hear Iowa is one of the best in the country, so I’m looking forward to really experiencing it,” Parsons said. “From what the guys said when they went out there [in 2017], with a comeback, last-drive victory, they said it was nuts. So I can’t wait.”
Penn State coach James Franklin is 3-0 against Iowa, including the road game two years ago. He said Iowa benefits from the tight quarters of Kinnick Stadium, where the bleachers almost hang over the sideline, making the noise sound so close.
Franklin added that he can feel Iowa’s passion at Kinnick Stadium, which is a centerpiece of the state’s sporting community. He’s also a fan of Iowa’s pink visiting locker room, which has been a conversation piece for years.
“Some people hit me up about, ‘Are you going to go in and cover the walls?’ and that kind of stuff,” Franklin said. “No, we are going to embrace it. I think the pink locker room is awesome. I think it’s one of the better stories in college football.”
Asked how he might try to throw an opposing team off balance, Parsons had his own idea.
“I’d say put ants or something in the room,” Parsons said, “Some bugs. I get creeped out by bugs.”
Penn State (5-0) at Iowa (4-1)
There aren’t a lot of guys like that in baseball, there aren’t a lot of guys like that in football, but he truly is one of those guys.”
Penn State wide receiver Juwan Johnson (84) celebrates with teammates after catching a touchdown pass as time expired to defeat Iowa in a 2017 game in Iowa City. The Nittany Lions will visit the Hawkeyes again Saturday night.