Sound can’t be bar­rier

Nit­tany Lions know they must find way to cope with noisy en­vi­rons in Iowa City

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Mark Wo­gen­rich

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.”

JEFF ROBERSON/AP

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.

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