Hawk and Awe

Staying Classy in Iowa City . . .

Penn State unleashed a hell storm of shock and awe all over the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City.  A final score of 38-14 doesn’t even begin to indicate how lopsided this victory was.  And make no mistake about it, even die hard fans like myself couldn’t have fantasized about an outcome like this.  Most of us would have been happy, even giddy, with a one point victory.  It’s like coming home after a long, hard day at the office and your wife greeting you at the door wearing only a smile.  And she’s invited her single friend, the hot girl down the street, over for a threesome–if you don’t mind.  And all the way home, all you were hoping for was that dinner would be ready.

Yeah.  It’s like that.  Dinner would have been just fine.  In a season that just seems to keep getting better and better, when one could only reasonably expect more misery, these Nittany Lions just keep surprising everyone.  In the annals of recent games, this ranks right up there, and perhaps higher, than Nebraska in 2002 (40-7) , Minnesota in 2005 (44-14), or Wisconsin in 2008, a 48-7 win at Camp Randall.

And for Penn State fans on the Internet, it was especially gratifying to quiet the Iowa trolls that appear each year before this game like a case of recurrent herpes.  Mark Wogenrich of the Morning Call writes that the jawing carried from the Internet into the stadium . . .

The first few rows of stands at Kinnick Stadium practically sit atop the visiting team’s bench, making it easy for fans to share their thoughts with players. Credit the Iowa group: They were still jawing in the fourth quarter, even when their team trailed 38-7.

“Hey McGloin,” one guy yelled. “You going to call the cops on me again?”

Throwing towels, and jabs about Jerry Sandusky, continued long after the Penn State offense had lapped Iowa in a 24-0 first half designed, in part, to quiet the 70,585 in attendance. Cornerback Stephon Morris called the environment ‘hostile” in a sporting way, though he did hear Sandusky’s name quite a bit.

“Typical drunk fans,” Morris said. “But it was fun, especially at the end.”

Apparently McGloin informed the cops that fans were throwing things at the team.  Makes you kind of wish Zwinak hadn’t pulled a Michael Vick while fumbling into the end zone for a touch back.  But even 45-14 isn’t enough for the childish Sandusky slurs.

The first half was perhaps one of the best altogether first halves of football Penn State has played in a while, racing out to a 24-0 half time lead.  Penn state then opened the second half with their best kick-off return of the year, and two plays later, they upped their dominance to 31-0.  Play got a little sloppy in the fourth quarter, with a special teams breakdown giving up a TD on a kick off, and a blocked field goal.  Another fumble by Zwinak stopped a drive. 

Many will second guess O’Brien’s choice to go for it on fourth and one from our own 36 in the third quarter, but quite frankly, I liked the call.  PSU was up 31 to zip, the offense, the Zwinak fumble on the previous possession not withstanding, was really rolling, and McGloin has been gold on the sneak in those situations.  We went to the well one too many times, but Iowa failed to put any points on the board anyway, as the defense rose to the occasion. 

Penn State then followed that stand with a 14 play, 97 yard drive that put them up 38-0 with only fourteen minutes to go.

I would like to think had Penn State been nursing a small lead, been behind, or had problems on offense, O’Brien would not have made that call.  But there was simply no reason on Earth not to go for it as our defense had already shut the Hawkeyes down all night and one score would not put them back into that game, as evidenced by the kick off return which failed to do little more than excite the handful of drunkards still hanging out in Kinnick Stadium.

In the end, it was a gratifying win on a day when the likes of THEM, Ohio State and ND all pulled wins out of their collective asses, further bolstering the appearance that they are better than they really are.

BY THE NUMBERS:

You want some numbers to crunch?  Chew on these right here:  Matt McGloin rushed for 26 yards on five carries.  The entire Hawkeye team rushed for 20 yards on 23 carries.  Silas Redd (USC) rushed for 13 yards on 3 carries.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was a wee bit leery about Ted Roof as our new defensive coordinator.  But let’s face it, this defense is playing better each week .  If only we had a special teams coach!

PSU outgained the Hawkeyes 504 to 209 yards.  Belton notched a hundred yard game. 

Despite the NASCAR hurry-up offense, PSU still controlled time of possession with 38 minutes of offensive plays.  Holy Paradox, Batman!

Mike Myers, the Iowa kicker, was supposedly having a good year.  He missed two field goals, winning the Ficken Trophy.

INTANGIBLES:

70,585 fans attended the game.

I didn’t know corn could do that!

The Nittany Lions have won five games in a row.

Penn State leads the all-time series 13-12.  I don’t vacate wins.  Kiss my grits, Emmert.

Penn State won the toss and elected to defer.  This was a little out of character for O’Brien who likes to put points on the board first.  I suspect he respected Iowa’s defense, and felt confident that his own D would hold.  Or maybe he just wanted to switch things up.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

The Buckeyes win, but lose, coming from behind to defeat Purdue.  The Boilermakers led until 56 second left in the game, when the Ohio State back-up QB engineered a scoring drive and two-point conversion to send the game into OT.  The Bucks prevailed 29-22, but the status of Braxton Miller is up in the air for next weeks game at Beaver Stadium.

Little brother came from behind to beat Michigan State without scoring a single touchdown in a 12-10 victory that would have made Joe Paterno as happy as a tornado in a trailer park.  The Spartan season continues to free fall.  Even the ancient Greeks weren’t this tragic.

Nebraska edged Northwestern 29-28 in a come from behind win.  Indiana lost to Navy 31-30.  Wisconsin badgered the Gophers 38-13.

SHEDDING TEARS:

1.  West Virginia–another lopsided loss, this one to K-State 55-14
2.  South Carolina –  back to back losses to LSU and Florida.  No shame,  But tough none the same.
3.  Va Tech–  4-4 on the season after loss to Clemson.
4.  Temple lost to Rutgers 35-10 after leading 10-0.
5.  Auburn is 1-6 after losing to Vanderbilt.  Maybe they miss Ted Roof?

LOOKING AHEAD:

BRING ON THE BUCKEYES. 

WHITE OUT GAME IN BEAVER STADIUM.  5:30 PM.  BE THERE.

The Buckeyes are undefeated but limp into this matchup after an OT win against the Boilers and possibly losing their starting QB, Toni Braxton Miller.  However, before we get too excited, let’s keep in mind that the Buckeye’s back-up came in and finished the job, albeit against Purdue.  Bill O’Brien won’t have much tape to look at in regards to Kenny Guiton, so that may negate some advantage there.  They also struggled with an MSU team that lost to Iowa and quite frankly, was a bit over-rated.  That there’s an understatement!

On the other hand, the Nittany Lions seem to be hitting their stride.  Mauti is playing lights out, and Belton appears healthy and faster than before.  I really can’t wait for next Saturday!

Urban Who?

It was only speculation as to whether Urban Meyer was really interested in succeeding Paterno or not, but there is no denying he didn’t let the door hit him on the ass on the way out when all hell broke loose in Happy Valley last year.  He’s no better than the players who abandoned ship.

And in retrospect, I’m glad Meyer is not our coach.  I’m more than happy with Bill O’Brien and couldn’t even name another coach I’d rather have leading our football team.  And I think we will see who the better coach is come Saturday.  And if you need another reason to hate Urban . . . his initials are UM, that team up north.

GO STATE!  BEAT BUCKEYES!

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Filed under analysis, Big Ten, football, Iowa, Penn State, recap, statistics

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