IOWA: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's easier-than-expected, NASCAR-fueled win over the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.

Iowa CITY, Iowa -- Penn State unleashed its NASCAR offense on former nemesis Iowa here Saturday night. The no-huddle offense, run to near perfection by senior quarterback Matt McGloin, left the Hawkeyes in the dust.

Penn State went no huddle on its second series of the game and stayed in it for most of the first half. The result was a 24-0 lead at the break that would become a 38-14 victory.

Bill O'Brien's flyin' Lions stretched their winning streak to five games in improving to 5-2 on the season and 3-0 in the Big Ten. This against a team that had won eight of the last 10 in the series and had not fallen to PSU here in Iowa City since 1999.

But most of those games were taffy-pulls where both teams would play conservative ball and more often than not Kirk Ferentz's Hawkeyes would perform in the clutch while Joe Paterno's Lions fell apart late.

O'Brien had a much different strategy, choosing to force the pace. And it worked. This much was certain afterward: Iowa no longer has Penn State's number.

Here is how things played out.

MAN OF THE HOUR: McGloin was spectacular in the first half, hitting on 18 of 28 passes for 196 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Remember, that was BEFORE the break. He finished with 289 passing yards.

CLOSE SECOND: Welcome back Bill Belton. The sophomore tailback had more pep in his step following State's bye week. He finished with 103 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. He was slowed early in the season with an ankle injury.

CLOSE THIRD: Defensive tackle Jordan Hill played one of his best games. He had six tackles and a sack in the first half and finished with nine stops and two tackles for losses.

TURNING POINT: Up 7-0 in the first quarter, Penn State faced fourth-and-3 from the Iowa 45. McGloin found TE Kyle Carter dealing with man coverage from a corner and hit him on an alley-oop that became a 34-yard gain. State scored two plays later for a 14-0 lead and it was clear Iowa was on trouble.

SOLID STRATEGY: Penn State had used theno-huddle previously in the season. But never this early and often. The Hawkeyes were baffled by it.

NUMBERS GAME: Penn State ran 50 plays for 304 yards in the first half alone.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Lion LB Michael Mauti had eight tackles, a sack and another interception.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: PSU's Jesse Della Valle opened the second half with a 46-kickoff return and was just barely tripped by the kicker. No problem, the Lions scored two plays later, sending fans to the exits.


• O'Brien not getting backup quarterback Steven Bench any work.

• The Lions giving up a 92 kickoff return for a score to Hawkeye Jordan Cotton. Sure, it only made the score 38-7. But this is the second straight game PSU has given up a special teams' TD.

• Punter Alex Butterworth continuing to struggle. He had a 24-yard rugby style punt when the game was still a game.

• PSU dropping a couple of should-have-been interceptions.

HIT SQUAD: Hill just enveloped Iowa QB James Vandenberg on a second-quarter sack.

HIDDEN HEROES: The PSU offensive line continues to improve by the game.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Carter led an onslaught by the Nittany Lion tight ends. He finished with six catches for 85 yards.


• That Hawkeye leading rusher Mark Weisman was limited. He was questionable with a leg injury heading into the game. He carried only five times for nine yards and did not play in the second half.

• That Penn State continued to rotate eight men on the first-team offensive line. It kept the unit fresh.

• That Penn State players had a chance to wear pink gear -- including hand-warmers, chinstraps and gloves -- to support breast cancer awareness.

• That O'Brien and Ferentz shared a friendly handshake before the game.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Are you ready for the Ineligible Bowl between Penn State and undefeated Ohio State next weekend?


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