Penn State Dominates Iowa 38-14 in Kinnick Stadium
A dominant performance from start to finish.
It is difficult to come up with a better way to describe what transpired at Kinnick Stadium Saturday night. When it was over, the scoreboard showed a 38-14 victory for Penn State. Those numbers show a blowout win for the Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-0) over the Iowa Hawkeyes (4-3, 2-1), and yet, they still do not tell just how much of a smackdown it was.
Consider a few statistics here:
- The Nittany Lions had more rushing yards than the Hawkeyes had total yards.
- The Nittany Lions had twice as many first downs as the Hawkeyes.
- Matt McGloin had 26 rushing yards. He nearly out rushed Iowa’s leading rusher, Greg Garmon, who finished with 28.
- Take into account Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg’s negative rushing output, and McGloin had more rushing yards than the entire Hawkeyes team combined.
- Vandenberg completed less than 50% of his pass attempts.
Now turn back the clock and take a look at some past history with Iowa and see just how big of a contrast tonight was:
- The Nittany Lions won in Kinnick Stadium for the first time since 1999.
- In their past three games at Kinnick Stadium, Penn State scored 40 total points. They almost matched it tonight, and they would have if not for a Zack Zwinak fumble as he was on his way into the end zone for another touchdown.
- During a three game losing streak in the series between 2008 and 2010, the Nittany Lions only scored 36 points. They surpassed that tonight.
This was not your Penn State-Iowa series of the past, a series that more often than not ended badly for the Blue and White.
It began seven minutes into the contest when McGloin avoided pressure, scrambled to his right, and released a bullet toward Jesse James in the end zone. James came down with it, and it was a sign of things to come. Hawkeyes kicker Mike Meyer, who had been nearly perfect on the season, missed a 49-yard field goal on the following possession. Penn State took over and moved the ball to the Hawkeyes 45-yard line before facing 4th and 3, which was an easy decision for Bill O’Brien. The offensive line picked up the blitz, and McGloin found Kyle Carter down the left sideline for a 34 yard gain. Three plays later, Allen Robinson was the recipient on an 8 yard touchdown pass, which put Penn State up 14-0.
The second quarter featured more of the same. Another Meyer miss was followed by a Sam Ficken 34 yard field goal and then a Bill Belton touchdown run after DaQuan Jones forced a Vandenberg fumble, which gave Penn State at 24-0 lead. Kinnick Stadium was in a state of shock.
A break in the action did not do much good to help the Hawkeyes stop the bleeding. The Nittany Lions found the end zone three plays into the second half. Jesse Della Valle returned the kickoff 46 yards. McGloin found Brandon Moseby-Felder for another 42, and Belton once again took it in for a touchdown.
Things would slow down a bit from there.. Belton, who statistically played the best game of his career, scored another touchdown to make the score 38-0 before the Hawkeyes ended the shutout by returning the kickoff all the way, 92-yards, to get on the board. They added another touchdown late as Keenan Davis caught a short pass from Vandenberg and took it 18 yards. Both scores were meaningless. This one was over long before that.
After the game, O’Brien gave credit to the veteran players on the team. “I can’t say enough about this senior class, and what they mean to this football team,” said the head coach. Overall, he kept things in perspective pointing out that his team missed some opportunities including the fumble by Zwinak and mentioned that they would have to be better against an undefeated Ohio State team.
There will be six days to analyze next week’s highly anticipated matchup against the Buckeyes. For tonight, look at it like this: Three months ago, there was some serious doubt if the Nittany Lions would play football this year. Once that was assured, the focus shifted to wondering the next time the Nittany Lions would play a “big game.” One of those games that could truly lift a program and make a difference. That question only got louder after the 0-2 start. 5 years? 10 years? Ever? It may sound ridiculous now, but it was a real fear.
Well, rest easy. In less than a week from now, the Nittany Lions will be playing in a big game — one of the biggest ones in a while.
Play like they played tonight, and there will be more big games to come in the future.
- Belton had his first 100 yard rushing game and his first three rushing touchdowns of his career.
- Michael Mauti and Mike Hull both recorded second half interceptions.
- James now has five receptions on the season and two of them were for a touchdown.
- Kyle Carter led the Nittany Lions in receiving yards for the first time this season.