Oct. 2, 2010
- Iowa Football Game Day Central
- Cast Your O’Brien Quarterback Award
- Vote for R. Stanzi as a Premier Player
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A national television audience watched University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz improve to 8-2 all-time against Penn State on Saturday evening, but a more telling number was seven.
A 24-3 Big Ten Conference-opening victory for No. 17 Iowa was made possible by holding the No. 20 Nittany Lions without a touchdown for the seventh straight quarter. It was the most lopsided victory in the series for the Hawkeyes (4-1 overall, 1-0 Big Ten). Penn State dipped to 3-2, 0-1 and hasn’t scored a touchdown against Iowa since the first play of last season’s contest — a 79-yard pass from Daryll Clark to wide receiver Chaz Powell.
A sellout crowd of 70,585 formed a colorful Kinnick Stadium, alternating sections of gold and black-clad fans.
“Night games in Kinnick are pretty special,” Ferentz said. “That’s a thrill.”
Iowa now leads the series 12-11 after a three-touchdown victory where the final statistics showed a deceptively slim 48-yard advantage in total offense (349 to 301). Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed 16 of 22 passes for 227 yards and Iowa’s defense held Penn State to 54 yards on the ground. Adrian Clayborn compiled a game-high 10 tackles for the Hawkeyes with three for a loss of 19. Adam Robinson was the leading rusher with 95 yards on 28 attempts.
“None of those wins have come easy and tonight fits into that category,” Ferentz said. “We anticipated that coming in and we’re thrilled to be 1-0 in the Big Ten. Our guys responded pretty well tonight.”
“They’re a good, solid football team,” Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said. “They’re well-coached. You have to beat them, they don’t beat themselves. The Arizona game was a fluke for them. They’re about what I expected.”
The leg of freshman kicker Michael Meyer gave the Hawkeyes a 3-0 lead after an opening 10-play, 77-yard drive. Meyer booted a 20-yard field goal — the second of his career –at the 9:21 mark when Iowa went from its own 20 to the Penn State 3. Stanzi completed all four of his pass attempts for 52 yards and Paul Chaney, Jr., stunned the Nittany Lion defense with a 15-yard reverse. The play after Chaney’s run, Stanzi connected with Marvin McNutt for a 24-yard completion, taking the ball from the Penn State 33 to the 9. A false start penalty on second-and-goal derailed the Hawkeyes’ thought of a touchdown.
Back-to-back three-and-outs compliments of the Iowa defense encircled a rare Stanzi interception. It didn’t take the Hawkeyes long to go ahead 10-0 after a seven-play 51-yard drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Stanzi to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos with a minute left in the quarter. Stanzi was again 4-for-4 in the series for 36 yards. It marked the 13th consecutive game Stanzi has thrown a touchdown pass. Allen Reisner caught the other three tosses on the drive for 29 yards.
“None of those wins have come easy and tonight fits into that category. We anticipated that coming in and we’re thrilled to be 1-0 in the Big Ten. Our guys responded pretty well tonight.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
The first quarter ended with Christian Ballard planting Penn State freshman quarterback Rob Bolden into the Kinnick turf for a 7-yard sack. Iowa’s defense was dominant when it was on the field, holding the Nittany Lions to one yard on eight plays. Penn State was limited to minus-6 yards rushing in the first 15 minutes.
The pace slowed for Iowa in the second quarter until a little Stanzi, a little McNutt and a lot of Robinson gave the Hawkeyes a 17-0 lead with 1:41 left in the half. The scoring drive opened with two straight 18-yard completions from Stanzi to McNutt. That was followed by five consecutive runs by Robinson, who, thanks in large part to the offensive line, took the ball to the Nittany Lion 1-inch line. Stanzi sneaked in for the touchdown behind a James Ferentz block.
Iowa received opportune starting field position at its own 32 after a 12-yard punt by Penn State’s Anthony Fera that took a bizarre bounce back toward the Nittany Lion line of scrimmage.
Penn State salvaged a field goal on the final play of the half to cut the Iowa lead to 17-3, but it didn’t come without some controversy and commotion. It appeared the Hawkeyes would get the ball back when Brett Greenwood intercepted a Bolden third-and-9 pass, but the Nittany Lions were awarded an automatic first down following a roughing-the-passer penalty on Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels. With new life and time winding down, Bolden found wide receiver Brett Brackett open on the visitor’s sideline for a 49-yard gain. Hawkeye cornerback Shaun Prater made a touchdown-saving tackle at the 3. Then came the commotion: Bolden spiked the ball on first down and while the Penn State team huddled near its bench, the play clock ticked down to zero. Because of the delay penalty, the Nittany Lions brought out the field goal unit and Collin Wagner made a 25-yarder as time expired.
It took Penn State 24 offensive plays to reach Iowa territory.
The Hawkeye defense rose to the occasion in a different way as the third period began. Penn State put together an impressive 14-play series highlighting the short-passing game that eventually led to a first-and-goal from Iowa’s 10. But the Nittany Lions came up empty. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, Bolden was stopped inches shy by Pennsylvania native Jeremiha Hunter and Ballard.
“To stop them on fourth down was a huge play,” Ferentz said. “We’ll take it on the 1 if it keeps them out of the end zone.”
The Hawkeyes contributed two big plays in a second half that featured yardage, but no points. Backed up near its own end zone, Stanzi completed a 17-yard pass to Brett Morse that took the ball to the 21. The next play was a 43-yard completion from Stanzi to Johnson-Koulianos.
Prater supplied the only points of the second half when he intercepted Bolden and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown with 1:27 remaining.
Iowa improved to 53-41-5 on Homecoming.
The Hawkeyes head into their off-week before an Oct. 16 date at Michigan.
|Penn State at Iowa||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
|Iowa Statistical Leaders|
|Passing: Ricky Stanzi 16 of 22, 227 yards, 1 passing TD, 1 running TD|
|Rushing: Adam Robinson 28 carries, 95 yards|
|Receiving: Marvin McNutt, 5 catches, 93 yards|
|Tackles: Adrian Clayborn, 10 total tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack|