Offense Opens the Door, Defense Closes It

Oct. 2, 2010

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa football team’s offense was almost surgical in its attack early in its game against Penn State Saturday night at historic Kinnick Stadium, then it was the Iowa defense that closed the door on the visiting Nittany Lions late en route to a 24-3 victory by the Hawkeyes.

Iowa jumped out to a 17-0 lead thanks to a 20-yard field goal by Michael Meyer, a nine-yard scoring strike from Ricky Stanzi to Darrell Johnson-Koulianos, and a half-yard sneak by Stanzi. The Hawkeyes held big advantages in total yards, first downs, time of possession — name the statistical category and Iowa had a marked advantage — when they huddled at halftime clutching a 17-3 margin.

Then, it was the defense’s turn.

Big Play No. 1 – On fourth and goal from the Hawkeyes’ one, Christian Ballard and Jeremiha Hunter nailed PSU quarterback Rob Bolden one foot from paydirt. The 14-play drive chewed up 70 yards and almost eight minutes of clock, but resulted in zero points for the visitors.

Big Play No. 2 – On fourth and one on Iowa’s 47 early in the fourth quarter, Penn State was whistled for a false start by freshman offensive lineman Kevin Haplea who was reacting to a stunt by Ballard. The penalty forced the Nittany Lions to punt instead of attempting to keep their drive alive

Big Play No. 3 – The Hawkeye defense sealed the victory when Shaun Prater took off with an errant toss from PSU’s Bolden’s 33 yards for a Pick-6 for the good guys in black and gold.

Signed, sealed and delivered: Win No. 4 overall and No. 1 in Big Ten Conference play. Iowa now enjoys its bye week before travelling to Ann Arbor, Mich., for an Oct. 16 date with the Michigan Wolverines. That game will kick off shortly after 2:30 p.m. Iowa time and will be televised live by ABC.

Toss in more than a handful of hurries forced by Iowa’s dominating defensive line and superior linebacker play by true freshman James Morris, and you have a defensive performance. Iowa’s All-American defensive end Adrian Clayborn led Iowa’s defense with 10 total tackles, four for losses and one quarterback sack. Hunter added eight stops and Morris and Klug seven each.

“Bolden is just an athlete. He can run it. He can throw. He’s a young guy though and we tried to rattle him. He’s going to be a good player, but we got him tonight,” said Ballard, who was credited with six tackles including the big one of Bolden at the start of the third quarter.

“We stretched it out and I just had the opportunity to keep him out. It was a big play and big credit goes to our fans for doing their part, particularly on that series of plays. They were huge like they are every game.”

“I can’t say enough about our defense,” Kirk Ferentz offered early in his post-game comments. “They’ve played well all season long and they were stellar tonight. In fact, both defenses played well tonight.”

Ferentz was also high on his offense, particularly its methodical first drive that was efficient and march steadily to three. “

“Our execution was very good (on that opening drive,” said Ferentz,”Ricky did a nice job running the football team tonight. They threw some stuff at us and we knew they would. That’s a good defense.”

“Bolden is just an athlete. He can run it. He can throw. He’s a young guy though and we tried to rattle him. He’s going to be a good player, but we got him tonight.”

“This was no place for a true freshman quarterback. (Penn State’s Bolden) has a lot of skills and will be a great player one day, but this was the wrong place at the wrong time for a young quarterback,” Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette told Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak of the Hawkeye Radio Network during the weekly post-game visit.

“I was talking to Ricky Stanzi this week and his said punts are good things,” Hlas continued. “Stanzi gets that. I think you saw that tonight. He gets it. He pretty much said, `Penn State, you are going to have to beat us because we’re not going to beat ourselves.’ “

Iowa punter Ryan Donohue averaged 40.3 yards for seven kicks with a long of 53 and three – yes, three – kicks inside the 20.

Iowa vs. Penn State 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Iowa Hawkeyes 10 7 0 7 24
Penn State 0 3 0 0 3
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