Oct. 23, 2004
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UNIVERSITY PARK —The University of Iowa is celebrating the 75th anniversary of historic Kinnick Stadium on the UI campus during the 2004 college football season.
The Iowa Hawkeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions paid tribute to that effort Saturday by playing a true-to-history down-and-dirty football game for the 108,062 fans gathered inside Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa.
Defense was the name of the game and Iowa’s was better on this day, carrying the nationally ranked visitors to a hard-fought 6-4 victory – the Hawkeyes’ third in a row and the team’s first on the road in 2004. Iowa will take a 5-2 overall record and a 3-1 mark in Big Ten play to Illinois for its 11 a.m. (Iowa time) date with the Fighting Illini.
Call it “Big Ten Ugly”…or, for Kirk Ferentz, his Hawkeyes, and their fans, “Big Ten Beautiful.”
“Great effort by the entire team,” an emotional Ferentz said afterward. “We all knew it was going to be a 60-minute battle and it was. I can’t be more proud of our staff and our guys.
“Everything we do starts up front…on defense and on offense,” Ferentz continued. “Our defense today was outstanding in the trenches, with the backers and the back end.”
From the opening kick to the final gun, Iowa’s defense stood tall. Sacks, hurries, and interceptions – four of `em – and a fumble recovery… one very, very big fumble recovery by Chad Greenway after being forced by Matt Roth and Tyler Luebke on the first play from scrimmage after Penn State took over possession on its 20 with about three minutes to play and needing only a field goal to claim victory.
The ball secured. The win secured.
Iowa’s defense came up big Saturday at Penn State, collecting five turnovers including a fumble recovery that pretty much closed the door on Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions.
The numbers tell the Iowa defensive story best: A mere 147 yards allowed. Three Penn State visits inside Iowa’s 25 and zero points to show for it.
Iowa wasn’t a whole lot better – the Hawkeyes could muster only 168 yards of offense themselves — but two field goals by Kyle Schlicher topped a pair of Penn State safeties, and gave Ferentz his fifth straight win over Penn State, a mark that he shares with Paul “Bear” Bryant of Alabama and Lloyd Carr of Michigan.
“He’s more than just a great coach. He’s a great human being,” Ferentz said of Paterno. “He’s a college football coach. He knows the priority in this business and it’s about growing, learning and helping to build character and build great young men.”
Iowa quarterback Drew Tate and the Hawkeye offense was tested and, at times, bested by a talented Penn State defense that has played well in all of their Big Ten games. Tate completed 14 of 31 passes for 126 yards. The Hawkeye running game was paced by Sam Brownlee’s 30 yards on 16 carries and Aaron Mickens’ 27 yards on seven carries, the biggest a 10-yard gain in Iowa’s final drive that gave the Hawkeyes a new set of downs.
Penn State got on the board first when it scored 90 seconds into the game on a safety after Iowa punter David Bradley kicked an errant long snap through the back of the Hawkeye end zone.
The Hawkeyes responded later in the stanza with a salty 15-play drive that ended with a 27-yard field goal by Schlicher. The drive was kept alive when Bradley gained four yards on a fake field goal attempt at the Penn State 13.
Iowa’s defense stifled a golden opportunity for the Nittany Lions early in the first quarter. PSU’s Calvin Lowrey returned an Iowa punt 33 yards to Iowa’s 24. The Hawkeye defense pushed the home team backward 15 yards and PSU placekicker Robbie Gould badly missed a 51-yard field goal attempt.
Penn State returned the favor midway through the second quarter after Iowa’s Sean Considine, playing his first game in three weeks, took an interception of PSU’s Zack Mills to the Nittany Lion 10. Iowa got as close as the three, but Tate was sacked on third down and the Hawkeyes had to settle for another 27-yard field goal by Schlicher and a 6-2 lead.
The teams traded interceptions late in the second quarter. The Nittany Lions’ Lavon Chisley both deflected and intercepted a pass by Tate on Iowa’s 40. Three plays later, Chad Greenway tipped a pass by Mills and it was picked by Marcus Paschal .
The game’s halftime statistics were further evidence of the struggle on the gridiron that was being dominated by the defenses. After 30 minutes of action, Iowa had collected only 95 yards of offense The Hawkeye defense limited the Nittany Lions to just 56 yards.
Iowa travels to Champaign, Ill., next Saturday for an 11 a.m. (Iowa time) date with Illinois. The game will be televised live by ESPN Plus.
Iowa and Penn State both missed huge opportunities early in the third quarter. The Hawkeyes could have taken control of the field position battle but they allowed Mills to find wide receiver Marcus Robinson for 37 yards to Iowa’s 45. PSU Jeremy Kapinos then dropped a 44 yard punt on Iowa’s one.
Then, it was Penn State’s turn to fail to cash in. Donnie Johnson blocked and Iowa punt and the home team recovered on the Iowa 10. Penn State couldn’t dent the Hawkeye defense and had to settle for a 25-yard field goal attempt…which Gould pushed to the right.
The teams combined for three first downs and seven punts in the third quarter. The period ended with PSU’s Tamba Hali forcing a Tate fumble at the 50. The ball was recovered by the Nittany Lion’s Tim Shaw.
The Nittany Lions marched downfield, netting a big first down at the 10 when Mike Robinson, who replaced a battered and bruised Mills, connected with tight end Terrell Golden for nine on a fourth down and three. The drive was snuffed when Iowa’s Antwan Allen grabbed Iowa’s third pick of the day.
Turnabout was fair play on this day, however. Penn State’s defense stood firm and, in fact, sacked Tate on the Iowa one on third down. After a review of the play – Penn State coaches were arguing for a safety – the Hawkeyes obliged by giving punter Bradley instructions to take the snap, kill some clock and give the Nittany Lions two points.
Iowa’s defense came up big on Penn State’s next series, claiming its fourth interception of the game. This one was by Jovon Johnson at the Iowa 40.
“That’s great to see…kind of like spreading it around on offense,” Ferentz said about four interceptions by four different Hawkeye d-backs. “It’s football. It’s a team game after all and these guys are playing well together right now.”
The win was Iowa’s first without a touchdown since its 12-10 victory in against Michigan inside historic Kinnick Stadium during the 1985 season.