THE HIGH FIVE
Beyond Expectations: Be honest with yourself: Did you realistically expect PSU to hit the No. 3 spot and make a legitimate run at the national title? At the opening of the season a majority of fans were predicting three to four losses and chalking up losses to Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan. This team has played beyond expectations and still deserves a lot of credit.
Dynamic Duo: Evan Royster and Derrick Williams came to play and fought to pick up key first downs. Each scored a touchdown and, in hindsight, should have probably seen even more action than their combined 38 carries. Royster quietly eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark against the Hawkeyes, helping fans to forget their lamentations for losing Broderick Green.
A Leg Up: A tip of the hat to Kevin Kelly, who went three for three on field goals and two for two on extra points. He's also not afraid to get into the action on kickoff coverage.
Seeing (Ja)Red: Jared Odrick deserves a lot of credit. He always comes to play and somehow manages to disrupt the pocket despite getting regularly mugged in Big Ten play. He's shown tremendous heart.
Chat Stew: Hats off to the FOS members who make the game an interactive experience in our chat. It not only makes it more enjoyable, but also more insightful as we share info and observations in real-time.
THE LOW FIVE
Blown Call: With 30 mph winds and frigid conditions, it's baffling why the offensive staff came out passing on the first drive. The result? A fumble that was converted into a touchdown and gave the Hawkeyes loads of early momentum. The staff out-thought itself on this call. It was yet another stand-still start for the Lions.
Who's Line is it Anyway?: Although they settled down, the offensive line flat out struggled in the early goings of the game, giving Daryll Clark little time to make decisions. Again, the linemen managed to settle down, but they certainly didn't live up to their billing.
Clark Off the Mark: An early fumble and a late interception. Clark still looked dazed from the concussion he sustained in the Ohio State game. He struggled with his passes and appeared tentative on his decisions on roll-outs. It was curious that the coaches failed to give Pat Devlin a shot, but we may be looking at another situation where the coaches refuse to pull their QB short of a major injury, feeling that it would equal a vote of no-confidence.
Twilight Zone: They had their highs and lows. Granted the offense did them no favors in several situations, but when the chips were down on key drives, the defense failed to stop the one major weapon — Shonn Greene — Iowa had. It's amazing that this defensive line could not get consistent pressure on Ricky Stanzi, considering the Iowa offensive line gave up six sacks the week before. That line did a bang-up job to fend off the PSU front seven. As for the secondary, the PSU coaches need to make adjustments when an offense starts pick apart the zone and maybe shift to man coverage once in a while. I'd also be very interested in the logic of why they have insisted on blitzing linebacker Josh Hull for most of this season. No offense to Hull, but with the speed of guys like Navorro Bowman, Bani Gbadyu or Mike Mauti why take this approach?
Go Griese Lightning: Anyone get the impression ABC announcer had some money, or a son, playing for Iowa. Griese would convey such frustration in his voice when things started to go well for Penn State and tripped over himself after the Lions lost. He's back to the form he illustrated when he would announce Michigan games when his son was on the team. Not sure where the animosity stems from, but listening to Griese makes me long for Craig James, Pam Ward or even Mark May.
Officially Pathetic: A special tip of the hat for the horrid job the officials did. Does a defensive lineman actually have to remove Aaron Maybin's jersey to be flagged for holding? It's not only an embarrassment to the Big Ten, it's a big reason why the bulk of conference teams see their penalties yardage go up by a factor of five in bowls, once they face officials who actually call holding consistently.