IOWA: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's Saturday night loss to Iowa at Kinnick Stadium.

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno was a master of the obvious following the Nittany Lions' 24-3 loss to Iowa here Saturday night.

“That's a good defensive front to play against,” he said. “Those kids are great football players.”

As has so often been the case in Penn State's struggles against the Hawkeyes, the main issue was the inability of the Lions' offensive line to hold its own against Iowa's defensive front.

And that led to rookie quarterback Rob Bolden running for his life all night. And that led to the PSU offense never finding a sustained rhythm. And that led to the Nittany Lions falling to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the Big Ten.

Penn State has now played two ranked teams on the road this year -- No. 1 Alabama and No. 17 Iowa (4-1, 1-0). And the Nittany Lions failed to score a TD against either, falling by identical 24-3 scores in both games.

Here is our take on the action.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Not a whole lot to chose from here. We'll go with sophomore wideout Devon Smith, who had five catches for 58 yards.

CLOSE SECOND: Corner D'Anton Lynn had a team-high nine tackles. The Hawkeyes spent very little time passing his way.

CLOSE THIRD: Sophomore wideout Justin Brown had four catches for 42 yards.

TURNING POINT: Down 17-3, Penn State opened the second half with a 70-yard drive down to the Iowa 1-yard line. The Lions went for it on fourth-and-goal, but Bolden was stopped inches from the end zone and the Hawkeyes took over. PSU never recovered.

SOLID STRATEGY: Iowa was able to generate great pressure on Bolden using only a four-man rush most of the night. That allowed the Hawkeyes' very average linebackers and defensive backs to drop enough men back to keep the Lions in check.

NUMBERS GAME: Iowa had 148 yards of total offense in the first quarter. Penn State had one yard. The Lions were lucky to only be trailing 10-0 going into the second quarter

BUSINESS AS USUAL: The Hawkeyes beat Penn State for the eighth time in the last nine games.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Anthony Fera uncorked a career-best 74-yard punt in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, it was his only decent punt of the night. More later.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• The Nittany Lions' poor clock management at the end of the first half. Bolden completed a 48-yard pass to Brett Brackett, who was tackled at the 3-yard line. The clock stopped with six seconds left to move the chains. PSU had a timeout left but did not use it. Some on the staff implored Bolden to spike the ball even as Paterno was indicating he wanted a timeout. The ball was set and three seconds went off before PSU got the spike and no timeout was granted. The Lions lined up as if to go for it, but were flagged for delay of game, pushing the ball back to the 8-yard line. The Lions had to settled for a 25-yard Collin Wagner field goal and 17-3 deficit at the break.

• Penn State reverting to the poor tackling that plagued it against Alabama, at least in the first half.

• The defense going with a late substitution when Iowa had a second-and-goal from the 1-inch line. DT James Terry was late lining up, and Ricky Stanzi alertly ran a sneak right where Terry wasn't.

• Fera picking the worst time to have a poor night punting. He entered the game averaging 41 yards per boot. But even with the 74-yarder, he averaged just 36.7 against the Hawkeyes, including a 12-yarder in the second quarter.

• Veteran wideout Graham Zug continuing to drop passes.

HIT SQUAD: Corner D'Anton Lynn and rookie linebacker Khairi Fortt teamed up to deliver a high-low shot on Iowa running back Adam Robinson in the second quarter. The play went for no gain.

HIDDEN HERO: Senior defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu had five tackles, including two for losses.

HEADS UP: Lion Shawey Kersey was pealing back to block on a punt return when a short kick glanced off him. Though the ball was bouncing toward the sideline, he picked it up and returned it for two yards (and prevented any Hawkeyes from recovering). Kersey was back with the team this week after missing the Temple game due to personal reasons.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Redshirt junior Chima Okoli made his first career start for the Lions, getting the nod at right offensive tackle. He was playing in place of senior Lou Eliades, who is out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury. Though the offensive line in general struggled, Okoli was hardly the primary issue.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Redshirt freshman tight end Garry Gilliam injured his left knee while trying to block after wideout Derek Moye made a second-quarter catch. Preliminary indications are a torn ACL.

• Sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Hill left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury.

• True freshman defensive tackle DaQuan Jones saw his first action of the season in the first half, after Hill was injured.

• Sophomore defensive end Sean Stanley and redshirt freshman cornerback Derrick Thomas -- a pair of second-teamers -- did not make the trip. Paterno indicated academic issues were to blame before backtracking and saying he was not at liberty to comment on the situation.

• Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Brandon Ware was on the travel roster but was a late scratch from the trip, too, reportedly for missing a test.

• Eric Latimore started the game at defensive end, replacing Jack Crawford. But Crawford logged significant minutes.

• When middle linebacker Chris Colasanti was pulled in the first quarter, he was replaced by true freshman Glenn Carson. Carson began the season at fullback.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Will the Lions score more than a field goal against a ranked team this year?


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