Lion Tamers

<b><h3>Iowa 26, Penn State 14</h3></b> <ul><li><a href= target=center>Recap/Facts and Figures</a> <li>MEMBERS: <a href= target=center>Carbon Copy: Ferentz Post Game</a> <li>MEMBERS: <a href= target=center>Hawks Talk: Player Post Game Quotes</a> <li>MEMBERS: <a href= target=center>The Rob Report: Views from the Press Box</a></ul>


Unofficially, using ESPN's post game box score, the Hawkeyes out gained PSU 386 to 176, including a 212 to 38 yard advantage on the ground.

Coming into the game, Penn State was allowing a league-worst 217 yards rushing per game and Iowa's methodical running attack wore down the Nittany Lions with just enough key completions being thrown into the arsenal for the 12 point victory.

Fred Russell had a career high 38 carries on the day for 148 yards.

In what are becoming uncomfortable mantra's for this team, the offense started slowly and shot itself in the foot far too often on Saturday.

Nathan Chandler was intercepted on the first drive of the day when he overthrew Calvin Davis on a third and eight play.

But another mantra for this team has been the defense bailing out the offense, and the Hawkeyes forced Penn State to punt, though the Nittany Lions started that possession from the Iowa 40 yard line.

Penn State's average field position starting drives in the first quarter was midfield, where Iowa started its drives on their own 18. And yet, the defense did not allow a first half touchdown.

PSU's only score came on an 87-yard interception return for a touchdown. Iowa had put together a solid drive in the first quarter, starting from its own 28 and had marched down to the PSU three. But a holding penalty on Eric Rothwell on first and goal erased a Fred Russell touchdown. Mistake number two on the day.

On the next play, which was first and goal from the 13, Chandler looked right, then back left as the wide receiver screen was setting up and he threw the ball into the hands of Yaacov Yisrael who raced 83 yards for the score.

Iowa has gone to that play several times over the last four or five seasons, and there have been more than a few occasions where that could have happened. CJ Jones' touchdown in the first quarter at Michigan last year was nearly intercepted.

Yisrael was also blitzing, something Chandler could not see as he looked to his left trying to sell the fake on the play and freeze the free safety.

After going three and out on the next possession, the Hawkeyes punted the ball back to Penn State who fumbled the ball on third down and Abdul Hodge raced 49 yards to the PSU 15. Matt Roth was called for yet another personal foul, which placed the ball at the PSU 30.

Facing a 3rd and 15, Chandler found Warren Holloway, who was seeing his first action of the season on offense, on the left sideline for an 18 yard gain.

With Penn State slow getting into position, Chandler improvised and threw a pass to an uncovered Matt Melloy who was able to score. The play that was called was a run to the left side for Russell, and Russell looked at Chandler when he saw him throwing to his right as if to say ‘what are you doing?'.

Iowa would have several more untimely penalties on the day putting the offense in a tough position, and Edgar Cervantes fumbled late in the 3rd quarter after gaining enough yards for a first down when Iowa was pinned deep in its own territory.

PSU scored on the ensuing drive to make things scary.

But David Bradley placed a couple of punts at the PSU 11 and the PSU six late in the game and the Nittany Lions could not muster anything on offense.

Chad Greenway blocked a punt early in the third quarter and Jermire Roberts scooped it up and scampered 21 yards for a touchdown, giving Iowa a 19-7 lead.

Chandler also found Ramon Ochoa in the third quarter as he was getting blitzed and Ochoa made a great shoe-string catch for a six yard touchdown.

Chandler was 13 of 26 on the day for 176 yards and two touchdowns, plus the two interceptions. He also ran the ball well.

He is not flashy and he has been making some mistakes out there, but he finished strong on the day and the Hawkeye defense turned in another spectacular performance.

Iowa, which became bowl eligible with the win, will host the reeling Illinois Fighting Illini next week.

The Illini are also poor against the run, and Minnesota racked up 338 yards on the ground against Illinois in their 36-10 win on Saturday.

In what was going to be the highly anticipated return of Jon Beutjer will now just be another step on the Big Ten road for the Hawkeyes as they cling to slim title hopes.

But at 6-2, the Hawkeyes still have a chance to play in a New Year's Day bowl this year with a strong finish down the stretch.

Northwestern also handed Wisconsin its second straight league loss, 16-7 on Saturday in a game where their starting quarterback, Jim Sorgi, did not play due to injury and the Wildcats held the Badgers to just 135 yards rushing.


Erik Jensen did not appear to play much today and Tony Jackson saw the most minutes in a game of his career. Jackson had a few drops and a missed block on a fake PAT attempt, but he also made a spectacular catch in the first quarter…Mike Follett injured his left ankle on Penn State's third quarter touchdown reception…Mike Jones and David Walker split time at left guard...Mo Brown worked out with pads late last week and might play against Illinois next week...Jermelle Lewis did not see any action against Penn State and Ed Hinkel did not dress.

Say what you will about Nathan, but quarterbacks are remembered for how many games their teams win.

Should Iowa beat Illinois next week, and they will be a heavy favorite to do just that, the 2003 Hawkeyes will become just the sixth team to start a season 7-2 since 1961.

Penn State at Iowa Game Notes

Iowa began the game on offense for 48th time in its last 50 games. Iowa has started on offense in 50 of 56 games under Kirk Ferentz. Iowa has won 15 of its last 17 regular season games dating back to last year. In addition, the Hawkeyes have won 18 of their last 19 contests in Kinnick Stadium dating back to the end of the 2000 season.

Today's 26-14 win marked Iowa's fourth consecutive victory over Penn State, which is the second-longest active winning streak against the Nittany Lions. Michigan has won six straight over Penn State. Additionally, the Hawkeyes have won five of the last six meetings between the two teams. Penn State has lost its first four Big Ten games for the first time since joining the conference in 1993. It also marked only the second time since that Penn State has lost four consecutive contests since 1932, with the other time coming in 2001.

Today's attendance of 70,397 marks Iowa's third straight sellout. The Hawkeyes also had sellouts vs. Arizona State (9/20) and vs. Michigan (10/4). Iowa's home game next week vs. Illinois (11/4) is also a sellout.

Penn State's 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter marked the first offensive touchdown the Hawkeye defense allowed in six quarters. The last time Iowa's defense allowed an offensive touchdown was in the fourth quarter of Iowa's 30-27 win vs. Michigan (10/4). Penn State became the fifth Iowa opponent to fail to score on its first possession. The only Hawkeye opponents to score on their opening possession were Ohio State (10/18), Miami (8/30) and Michigan State (9/27).

DE Howard Hodges collected his Big Ten leading ninth sack on Penn State's second possession of the game.

DB Yaacov Yisrael returned an interception 83 yards for a touchdown to give the Nittany Lions an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter. It marked the first time an opponent returned an interception for a touchdown since Purdue's Ashante Woodyard returned an 86-yard interception for a score on 10/6/01.

Iowa had scored 16 consecutive times in the red zone before QB Nathan Chandler's first quarter interception was returned for a score. The last time Iowa failed to score in the red zone was when the Hawkeyes let the clock expire on their final possession in a 56-7 win vs. Buffalo (9/6). Today marked the fifth straight game Iowa's opponent has been the first to score. Ohio State led 7-0 in a 19-10 victory over Iowa, Arizona State led Iowa 2-0 before Iowa won 21-2, Michigan State led 14-0 in a 20-10 win over Iowa, Michigan led 14-0 before Iowa rallied for a 30-27 win. Iowa's offense failed to score on its first possession for the fifth consecutive game and sixth time in eight games. Iowa began the win over Buffalo with a touchdown drive and opened the win at Iowa State with a field goal.

Senior tackle Robert Gallery was in Iowa's starting line-up for the 39th straight game. His starting streak is the longest current streak in the Big Ten among offensive linemen. OG David Walker returned to action after missing the last four games. He started the first three games of the season at left guard. Eric Rothwell started his second consecutive game at center in place of Brian Ferentz, who is out for the season. Rothwell, who did not play at Iowa State, started the first two games at left guard and then shifted to left guard before becoming the Hawkeyes' starter at center.

Mike Jones, a true freshman, started his second straight game at left guard. He is Iowa's seventh true freshman to play this season. The others are QB Drew Tate, QB/WR Eric McCollom, WR James Townsend, FB Champ Davis, RB A.J. Johnson and WR Scott Chandler. WR Warren Holloway caught his first pass of the season and second of his career on a key third down conversion in the second quarter. Holloway became the 14 th Hawkeye receiver to catch a pass this year. One play later, WR Matt Melloy caught his first career touchdown on a two-yard pass from Chandler.

WR Ramon Ochoa caught his team leading fourth touchdown on a four-yard pass from Chandler. Ochoa finished the game with five receptions for 67 yards. Iowa's defense held Penn State without a first down on its first four possessions. The Nittany Lions collected their first first down of the game on their first pass completion with 7:31 remaining in the second quarter. Penn State failed to convert on its first seven third down conversions and finished the game 2-15.

LB Abdul Hodge recovered the first career fumble and returned the first quarter fumble 47 yards, the longest fumble return by Iowa this year. The previous long was an 18-yard return for a touchdown by Sean Considine against Buffalo (9/6). Last week, Hodge forced his career fumble on the goal line at Ohio State.

LB Chad Greenway blocked his first career punt in the third quarter. LB Jermire Roberts returned the punt 26 yards for the second touchdown of his career and Iowa's third touchdown of the game. Roberts recovered a blocked punt in the endzone in Iowa's win over Purdue in 2002. It marked Iowa's fourth blocked punt this year, all of which resulted in points. DB Sean Considine blocked two punts at Iowa State (9/13) and Chris Smith blocked a Michigan punt. DB Chris Smith recovered Iowa's first block in the end zone at ISU, while PK Nate Kaeding converted field goals following the second block at ISU and the block vs. Michigan.

LB Chad Greenway collected a team-high 11 tackles, including one sack. He has registered double figures in tackles in four of Iowa's last six games. He entered today's game tied with teammate LB Abdul Hodge as the Big Ten Conference's tackle leaders. Penn State scored on a 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, becoming the second straight Hawkeye opponent to score in the third quarter. Ohio State recovered a blocked punt in the end zone last week. Iowa's first six opponents failed to score any points in the third quarter. Iowa has out-scored its opponents 57-14 in the third quarter this season and 81-9 in the second quarter. QB Nathan Chandler completed 13-26 for 174 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also scored his third touchdown of the season on a one-yard scoring run in the third quarter. His three rushing touchdowns ties RB Fred Russell for the team-lead.

Today marks the sixth straight game Iowa has held its opponent to less than 75 yards rushing. The Nittany Lions collected 38 yards on the ground today. Buffalo, in the second game of the year, is the only team to rush for over 100 yards against Iowa in eight games this season. Senior PK Nate Kaeding missed his third career PAT following a Penn State block in the second quarter. Kaeding's last PAT miss was at Penn State last year (it was also blocked). He had converted 56 consecutive PATs before today's block. He finished the game with two PATs, improving his career kick scoring mark to 322 and kick scoring to 316. Kaeding holds the Iowa record for career PATs (148) and field goals (56). He has made all nine field goal attempts and has converted 22-23 PAT attempts this season. Kaeding has made 56-68 career field goal attempts, including 21-26 outside of 40 yards and 3-3 outside 50 yards, and 148-151 PATs. Kaeding ranks fourth all-time in kick scoring in the Big Ten Conference with his 316 points. The native of Coralville, IA, has converted three field goals or more in two games this year. Kaeding converted four field goals at Iowa State.

RB Fred Russell rushed 36 times for 148 yards, improving his career rushing totals to 425 carries for 2,321 yards. His 148 yards moves him into sixth on Iowa's career rushing chart, passing Eddie Phillips (2,177) and Ronnie Harmon (2,271). His 36 carries is a career-high. His previous high was 35 at Penn State in 2002. Russell, who entered today ranked second in the Big Ten in rushing, has rushed for at least 100 yards five times in seven games in 2003 and in 13 times in his career.

FB Edgar Cervantes posted career highs in rushing attempts (7) and yards (42). He also recorded two receptions for 26 yards. Iowa's scoring defense, which entered today's game ranked seventh (14.1) in the country, allowed its average 14 points.

Iowa held the ball for 33:11, while Penn State maintained possession for 26:49. Today marked just the third game this season that the Hawkeyes have had the advantage in time of possession.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz: "I'm tremendously pleased with the job of our team today. We've had a tough couple of weeks and our main goal was to come out with a victory. We've had tunnel vision all week - we wanted to get six [wins]. I feared it was going to be a tough game, especially with the injury situation. Special Teams were imperative coming in this week. They are something we have to have week in and week out. Overall they did a good job, but there were too many penalties. The blocked punt was huge.

We should hopefully start getting guys back this week, and once we do, we will start to make major progress. Our passing game is not where we want it to be, but that mainly has to do with the cohesion that is missing due to injuries. Our staff does an amazing job and the seniors are great. Robert Gallery and Nate Kaeding are emerging as leaders.

With the history of Coach Paterno and his program, I expect them to continue to improve. He is one of the greatest coaches of all time and I would not underestimate them. I feel good going into this week, but would feel even better if I get a good medical report. I heard Mo Brown is starting to look like a receiver again, and we hope to get him back in action. Jermelle Lewis re-strained his hamstring Wednesday in practice. He was cleared to play, but we didn't want to risk re-injuring his leg."

PSU Coach Joe Paterno: "We lost the game in a lot of places. We had a lot of chances to win it, but Iowa's a good football team. We just couldn't do the things that would get us back in the ball game. I think they all (Penn State players) played hard. Coming in here, I thought we had a real good chance to win it. We had to change things because we couldn't handle their down men. A couple of those guys were beating us.

The blocked punt? I don't know. They came up the middle. Until I have time to sit down with the kids, I just don't know. I don't think you can win against a good team when you waste good opportunities.

What happened there (Iowa punt that forced a PSU time out), is they (Hawkeyes) used the speed punt, which is illegal. The ref was good about it. He told me we called time out before he had the chance to call it illegal. He was right."

MUCH more post game coverage on later tonight, including player quotes and Kirk's Ferentz's post game press conference wrap up, plus the official game stats from Iowa Sports Information.

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