Iowa Game Breakdown

FightOnState.com's Mark Brennan hashes out the good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's easy win over Iowa Saturday.

Something had to give at Beaver Stadium Saturday. Penn State was coming off of back-to-back road losses. Iowa was fresh off a home defeat to Indiana and had dropped three straight.

Fortunately for the announced crowd of 108,951, the Hawkeyes buckled under the pressure of a relentless Nittany Lion defense and strong PSU ground attack. Penn State won easily, 27-7, improving to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten. Iowa slipped to 2-4 and 0-3.

MAN OF THE HOUR: With Austin Scott out of action for a violation of team rules, senior tailback Rodney Kinlaw came up big. He pounded out a career-high 168 yards and two scores on 28 carries. He also did not mope after fumbling early in the game.

CLOSE SECOND: Redshirt freshman Evan Royster was terrific in relief of Kinlaw, carrying 16 times for 86 yards before leaving the game with a bruised thigh in the third quarter. Royster said he could have returned to action if he was needed. Multiple sources have told FOS that Scott will not return to the team after breaking an unspecified rule. The way Royster looked Saturday, Scott won't be missed.

TURNING POINT: Penn State's 5-play, 44-yard drive just before the half set up Kevin Kelly's career-long 53-yard field goal. The Lions took a 13-0 lead into the locker room and one never got the sense Iowa could get close in the second half. “I thought that was important at that time,” Paterno said.

SOLID STRATEGY: By running 50 times for 256 yards, Penn State simply broke the spirit of an Iowa defense that entered the game ranked 14th in the nation at stopping the rush (85.4 yard allowed per game). That also took pressure off the Lion defense and allowed PSU QB Anthony Morelli to calmly throw for 233 yards and a score.

NUMBERS GAME: Penn State had 26 first downs, Iowa 8. The Hawkeyes had only two first downs through three quarters. PSU also dominated time of possession, 36:22 to 23:38.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Lion linebackers Sean Lee and Dan Connor combined for 20 tackles.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Kelly's 53-yarder just crept over the crossbar. Also, another great game by punter Jeremy Boone, who averaged 44.8 yards, had three punts downed inside the 20, and one at the 1-yard line.

WHAT'S UP WITH: Morelli and the interceptions? Give him lots of credit for playing well, even in the face of early boos. But he had two more picks Saturday, and must tighten up that area of his game.

HIT SQUAD: Backup defensive end Aaron Maybin came in late in the game and was fresh. He beat Iowa's tired offensive line for a pair of sacks on the Hawkeyes' final drive.

TOUGH GUY: Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley broke his right pinky in the second quarter when he grabbed a player by the shoulder pad and his finger was bent awkwardly.

HIDDEN HERO: Defensive tackle Chris Baker did a good job of disrupting things in the middle of the line, allowing the 'backers to make plays. He was only credited with four tackles, but clearly make life easier for Lee and Connor.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Deon Butler had another strong game, with three catches for 55 yards.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: We touched on Royster and Maybin earlier. Also, wideout redshirt freshman Brett Brackett got a few snaps in the first half and hauled in a 16-yard pass from Morelli.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• PSU shuffled its starting offensive line, moving Rich Ohrnberger from left to right guard and Mike Lucian from right to left guard. The idea was to get the experienced Ohrnberger matched up with outstanding Iowa DT Mitch King. King still finished with seven tackles and a pair of sacks. But clearly the PSU O-line dominated the trenches.

• Sophomore tight end Andrew Quarless saw limited playing time in the first half. Mickey Shuler got the bulk of the snaps. Joe Paterno said he was unhappy with the attention to detail Quarless showed in practice.

• Despite boos from the fans on a couple of early Morelli incompletions, backup QB Daryll Clark never warmed up when the game was on the line.

• Penn State wideout Jordan Norwood picked up a personal foul penalty following a catch in the second half. He said he was trying to flip the ball to the official but mistakenly hit one of the Hawkeyes. “I'm embarrassed by that,” he said.

• Two backup linebacker — Navorro Bowman and Dontey Brown — did not dress due to injury. Walk-on Josh Hull took Bowman's place behind Tyrell Sales and looked good, making a pair of stops.

• What was up with the ear-splitting music that was played before the Blue Band took the field shortly before kick? Painfully loud.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Was Penn State that good or Iowa that bad?

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