Here are the highs and lows from the game:
THE HIGH FIVE
Standing Tall: the Nittany Lion defense deserves a lot of credit in this victory. First, they prevented Iowa from getting in the end zone for the first time since 2007. Second, the managed three critical turnovers at pivotal moments in this one - two interceptions and a fumble. They contained Hawkeye QB James Vandenberg to 17 of 34 (50%) for 169 yards (5 YPA), 0 touchdowns and two interceptions. Previously he had only tossed one pick in four games.
Running Wild: Silas Redd rolled up 142 yards on 28 carries (5.1 YPC) and Curtis Dukes posted 60 yards on nine carries (6.7 YPC). In fact, on the one touchdown drive PSU went all-in on the ground game and only passed on the final play; a two yard pass to Kevin Hapela. For the first time in years the PSU offensive line won trench battle against Iowa's defensive line and deserve a ton of credit in PSU totaling 395 yards. By the way, it was great to see Redd get some outside runs with some open space.
Gutsy Gameplan: Sure, the offense still has some head-scratching moments, but the PSU staff came out and threw in a fake field goal that put Iowa on their heels. OK, there are still questions on why they are giving Rob Bolden the nod, but more on that later.
Under Cover: A lot of defensive players deserve a shoutout in this one, like Malcolm Willis and Nick Sukay for their interceptions and Gerald Hodges for a key forced fumble. However, true freshman cornerback Adrian Amos did a bang up job covering veteran wideout Marvin McNutt, holding him to four catches for 73 yards.
Passing Judgement: Matt McGloin did what he has shown he has a knack for, coming off the bench and giving the offense a spark. He ran through his progression well, showed awareness in the pocket and spread the ball around but was particularly sharp on some sideline passes to Justin Brown. On the day he went 12 for 19 (63%) 133 yards with one touchdown and one interception. That's not to say he didn't have some dangerous tosses. One in particular that happened to work out was a deep ball to a triple-covered Derek Moye.
Pressure Play: The defense managed to get solid pressure on Iowa's pocket with some well placed blitzes by Tom Bradley and crew. Bradley gave the nod primarily to Nate Stupar and Gerald Hodges. Hodges really had some nice blitz runs and forced a key fourth quarter fumble.
Lucky Lions: The Lions seemed to get a series of ricochet completions, including one off the ref and beneficial bounces in this game. However, given the resent results in this series, I am sure no one on the Blue and White side is complaining.
THE LOW FIVE:
Stopping Start: It seems like the vast majority of Nittany Nation fans agree that Matt McGloin is optimal quarterback to lead this squad. at this point. he's by no means perfect, however he's shown he can lead the offense to victory and aside from the one interception today, has protected the ball well this season thusfar. However, the coaching staff continues to not only split reps, but given Rob Bolden the start. Bolden continues to laser-lock on his chosen target and had some head-scratching passes and a slew of tipped passes. Although he must may have the best bank-shot in the NCAA football, with the "ref-t-Szczerba" completion. The coaches need to call this one and let the team settle in around one guy.
Rough Start: While the defense dug in their tackling was horrid on the opening drive with a missed wrap-up on nearly every play. It was good to see them settle down in short order, but it's surprising that nearly at the mid-point of the season the defense would struggle with the fundamentals like this.
"Ouch, My Foot": Penn State continued their streak of bone-headed penalties in this contest; Andrew Szczerba with an ill-advised personal foul; five men in the backfield violation. On the day PSU had five mental lapses for 50 yards.
Plushy Soft: OK, the defense deserves credit rather than criticism for this one. However, the secondary had the mass of fans in FOS' chat a little more than concerned with the cushion coverage they were leveraging, particularly on third down. Even ESPN announcer Urban Meyer pointed out that the defensive backs were giving a 10-yard cushion on a third and six situation.
Say What? The irony of ESPN announcer Chris Spielman dripping praise onto disgraced former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel during the game was comedic. He talked about how much success he had relying on his defense and using a conservative game plan over the years, never mentioning the fact he cheated to keep his superstars eligible so they could run that game plan.