2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 6 - Iowa at Penn State
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Oct. 8 at Penn State 13 ... Iowa 3
Iowa had a great opportunity to make a lot of noise and come up with a big run, but the offense went nowhere thanks to an offensive front that got beaten up by the Penn State defensive front. James Vandenberg didn’t get a ton of time to work, Marcus Coker couldn’t find a rhythm, and three turnovers were a killer for an attack that was solid on third downs, but couldn’t keep the ball. With Northwestern, Indiana, and Minnesota up next, a 4-0 Big Ten start was on the table before hosting Michigan, but the Hawkeyes aren’t going anywhere unless the pass rush picks up the pace and the offense can be more consistent.
How in the world is this team 5-1? It can’t throw, it can’t move the ball a lick, it could’ve lost to Indiana, it should’ve lost to Temple, and it sputtered and struggled to put points on the board against Iowa. It didn’t matter; the defense, banged up though it is, took care of the Hawkeyes and Silas Redd carried the attack with 142 hard pounding yards. The quarterback debate needs to be over; Rob Bolden can’t play. He completed just 3-of-7 passes for 31 yards, and until he improves his accuracy, Matt McGloin, who completed 12-of-19 passes for 133 yards and a score with a pick, needs to be the main man without looking over his shoulder.
(AP) STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State grounded Iowa's best-in-the-Big Ten passing attack, Silas Redd ran for 142 yards and Matt McGloin capitalized on a fourth-quarter turnover with a touchdown pass in a 13-3 win Saturday.
Clinging to a 6-3 lead with 14:21 left, linebacker Gerald Hodges sacked quarterback James Vandenberg and forced a fumble recovered by Nate Stupar at the Iowa 49.
The Nittany Lions (5-1, 2-0) pounded away at the tired Hawkeyes with 10 straight runs to the 2 before McGloin rolled right to find wide-open tight end Kevin Haplea a 13-3 lead with 8:08 to go.
It was more than enough cushion for Linebacker U's tough defense. Vandenberg threw two interceptions over the last seven minutes and Iowa (3-2, 0-1) stumbled in its conference opener after a bye last week.
As was the case the previous two weeks, Joe Paterno coached the first half from the sideline before retreating to the press box after halftime. The 84-year-old Hall of Famer is getting over a sore right shoulder and pelvis suffered when receiver Devon Smith accidentally ran into him at practice Aug. 7.
It was the Hawkeyes absorbing the big blows on Saturday.
Iowa seemingly regained momentum in the tense affair after Micah Hyde intercepted a poor throw by McGloin in the end zone on third-and-5 from the 6, thwarting what had been a nice drive that started the Nittany Lions 4.
But as it has all season, Penn State's defense came through again.
Hodges got to Vandenberg on the blitz on third-and-7 from the Penn State 45, forcing a fumble that had the 105,00-plus fans rocking creaky Beaver Stadium.
Vandenberg finished 17 of 34 for 169 yards, while tailback Marcus Coker had 74 yards on 18 carries.
Coach Joe Paterno opted to go with the ground game after the fumble recovery, rotating carries for Redd, bruising backup tailback Curtis Dukes (60 yards on nine carries) and fullback Joe Suhey before McGloin found Haplea for a TD.
The sophomore tight end exchanged leaping high fives with teammates as blue-and-white fans frolicked in the stands. Not only did the score give Penn State a 10-point lead, but Haplea also scored his first career touchdown.
It only got worse from there for Iowa.
Safeties Malcolm Willis and Nick Sukay each picked off Vandenberg down the stretch. Then Penn State's defense sacked the quarterback on three straight plays with less than three minutes left to push Iowa to a 4th-and-39 from their 1.
Iowa had come into the game averaging nearly 38 points and 281 passing yards a game.
Anthony Fera's two first-half field goals made up for more early red zone hiccups for Penn State, which again rotated McGloin and Rob Bolden at quarterback with middling results.
McGloin again looked a little better and finished 12 of 19 for 133 yards, while Bolden was 3 of 7 for 31 yards.
Iowa (3-1) at Penn State (4-1) Oct. 8, 3:30, ABC/ESPN/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … Both teams have just one loss and both teams have had some decent moments, but they’re also really, really shaky. It’s a bad year overall for the Big Ten, but Penn State can’t afford to be down in the Leaders loss column with Wisconsin and Ohio State to deal with on the road and Illinois still to face. Iowa has it a bit easier in the Legends, but it has to go on the road to play Nebraska and still has to play Michigan and Michigan State.
Iowa got a week off at the worst possible time. Just when everything was kicking in with an all-timer of a comeback to beat Pitt and a blowout of ULM, the break came to work on a Penn State team that doesn’t need a lot of preparing for. The Hawkeye passing game might be the best in the Big Ten, the offensive line is playing well, and the defense is past the debacle in the Iowa State loss. With home games against Northwestern and Indiana up next, and the layup at Minnesota to follow, a win in Happy Valley probably means a 7-1 start before hosting Michigan.
Penn State is 4-1, but it’s an awful 4-1. It needed everything in the bag to get by Temple, it wasn’t any big deal against Eastern Michigan, and it was lousy against a miserable Indiana squad. Even with all the problems with the passing game, and even with the brutal injuries to key defensive players, there’s a chance to come up with a nice record with Purdue and Northwestern coming up next. More than anything else, the Nittany Lions have to show they can actually play, and it’s not a stretch to call this the key game to the season.
Why Iowa Might Win: The Penn State passing game just isn’t getting any better, and it’s not going to. The team appears to be resigned to its fate with Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin each going to get their time, but neither one has shown any semblance of consistency. The coaching staff would love nothing more than for Bolden to step up his game and become THE GUY, but he’s just not accurate. McGloin has yet to throw a pick, but he’s not exactly moving the chains, either.
It Iowa can get out to any sort of a lead whatsoever, Penn State doesn’t have the ability to mount a comeback. The Hawkeye secondary isn’t a brick wall, but it’s good enough to get by and the pass rush is just good enough to bother the Nittany Lion quarterbacks and force them to screw up. If McGloin and Bolden have a slight breeze throwing in their face, or if they get anything less than five seconds to wait for a receiver to pop open, the pass won’t be complete. Iowa can throw on Penn State, but ...
Why Penn State Might Win: If the Penn State passing game was ever going to put up yards, this might be the week. Iowa State’s Steele Jantz had no problems making plays against the Hawkeye secondary, and Pitt, who can’t throw, rolled for 285 yards and three touchdowns. Even ULM was able to crank out 293 yards. Penn State’s passing game won’t ever be consistent or special, but it connected on a 74-yard touchdown against Derek Moye against Indiana and might be able to do just enough to move the chains. No, the Bolden and McGloin won’t ever be special, but the Iowa defense has been awful at getting off the field allowing teams to convert on third downs a whopping 46.88% of the time. The Hawkeyes are 104th in the nation in third down conversion defense. Penn State is 24th.
It’s only been one game since losing star linebacker Michael Mauti to a knee injury and corner D’Anton Lynn after he was carted off the field, but the defense is still working. Granted, facing Temple, Eastern Michigan, and Indiana helps the stats, but the D held up well against Alabama, who’s now blasting away on everyone in its path. The defensive line is doing a terrific job of making plays behind the line, and while there aren’t a slew of sacks, this is a disruptive front that stops running games cold.
What To Watch Out For: Considering the passing game isn’t taking the heat off in any way, the production of the Penn State running game has been impressive thanks to sophomore Silas Redd, who has carried the offense at times and controlled the clock against Indiana with 129 yards on 29 carries. The 5-10, 201-pounder packs power and has a great burst, and he’s showing what he can do with more work. The workhorse potential is there, and he might get more and more carries as the Big Ten season goes on.
Considering Penn State’s offense has been struggling, Iowa’s MVP could be Eric Guthrie, who has started out the year red hot averaging 44.87 yards per kick putting both his boots against ULM inside the 20, averaging 45.5 yards per shot against Pitt, and bombing away for 46.8 yards per kick with two put inside the 20 against Iowa State. Penn State’s punt return game isn’t anything great.
What Will Happen: Iowa has owned Penn State. OWNED. The Hawkeyes have won eight of the last nine meetings going back to 1999, with the one blip coming in 2007. Penn State has the better defense, but there’s not enough offensive punch to come back if and when a rested Iowa come out hot. QB James Vandenberg will do enough early to get up, and Penn State will start making mistakes.
CFN Prediction: Iowa 23 … Penn State 16
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Penn State -3.5 O/U: 44
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