Football Dominates Iowa on the Road, Extends Winning Streak
The Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-0 Big Ten) ended 13-year drought in road games against the Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) at Kinnick Stadium Saturday night, handily defeating Iowa 38-14.
Redshirt senior quarterback Matt McGloin has been gaining confidence slowly but surely this season and is looking more comfortable under head coach Bill O’Brien’s offense.
McGloin’s progress this season compared to last year has been incredible. Coming into the game McGloin had completed 136 of 222 passes for 1499 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has only thrown two interceptions all season long. His success continued Saturday. McGloin was 26-38 for 289 yards and 2 TD’s completing passes to nine different teammates.
“Through seven games, you can't say enough about Matt McGloin," O'Brien said of his quarterback.
Penn State opened the scoring early in the first quarter, as McGloin did a great job scrambling to his right and finding freshman tight end Jesse James for a 31-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
The Nittany Lions followed up that drive with another touchdown, as McGloin found sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson for an 8-yard score. The key play on the drive was a 4th-and-3 conversion from McGloin to tight end Kyle Carter, who made a phenomenal catch over cornerback Micah Hyde for a 34-yard completion. Carter would finish the game with six catches for 85 yards.
"That was a great play," McGloin said. "That kid's a great talent."
Penn State shut out the Hawkeyes in the first, and Ted Roof's defense has still not allowed a point in that quarter in seven games. The Nittany Lions are outscoring opponents 66-0 in the first quarter. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill led the Penn State effort throughout the game, finishing with nine tackles, seven solo, and one sack.
The key for Penn State was shutting down the Hawkeye rushing attack led by Mark Weisman. Weisman, hwoever, entered the game battling an injury and was limited to just five carries. Injuries to two Iowa offensive linemen compounded the Hawkeyes' problems, and the Nittany Lions would hold them to 20 yards for the entire game.
While Penn State has struggled on special teams, Iowa kicker Mike Meyer missed two field goals on the game while Sam Ficken made his second quarter attempt.
After Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg fumbled to set up Penn State inside the 15-yard line, Bill Belton scored from 11 yards out for his first career rushing touchdown for a 24-0 lead. In the first half, the Nittany Lions had 304 total yards compared to Iowa's 101.
Vandenberg’s fumble was the 13th turnover gained by the Nittany Lions this season.
Penn State’s homecoming victory against Northwestern prompted talk among national pundits that Bill O’Brien deserved consideration for Big Ten and national coach of the year. Although, O’Brien isn’t even thinking about it, one must consider him. He’s led Penn State to five straight victories after a 0-2 start, all amid the NCAA sanctions that lost his team several key players.
"These guys are a resilient bunch of guys," O'Brien said of his team after the game.
The Nittany Lions continued to roll in the second half as Jesse Della Valle opened up the third quarter with 46-yard kickoff return for Penn State. A 42-yard pass from McGloin to Brandon Moseby-Felder set up a three yard Bill Belton touchdown run and a 31-0 lead.
James Vandenberg would then throw a pass right into the hands of Michael Mauti, who finished the game with eighttackles, for his third interception of the season, setting up the Nittany Lions on the Iowa 14 yard line, but Hyde would force a fumble, punching the ball out Zach Zwinak’s hands on the goal line, negating the turnover.
Belton would increase Penn State’s lead to 38-0 with his third rushing touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter Penn State marched 97 yards on 14 plays taking 6:27 off the clock on the scoring drive. Belton in total had 16 rushes for 103 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
"When you play football at Penn State, you have a lot to play for," O'Brien said. "I believe that you have fans to play for, you have tradition to play for, you have a student body to play for, you have each other to play for. I believe that these kids have a really good chemistry."
Iowa would eventually get on the baord with a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. James Vandenberg would also add an 18-yard touchdown pass to Keenan Davis as the game came to a close. Vandenberg finished 17-36 with 189 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Penn State now turns its attention to the biggest game of its season, a home matchup with ninth-ranked Ohio State.
"We have a really difficult challenge coming up against one of the best teams in the country," O'Brien said.
The Nittany Lions return home to Beaver Stadium Saturday with a showdown against Braxton Miller and the unbeaten Buckeyes. Tune into ComRadio at 5:30 for coverage of the game.
Tom Zulewski is a senior majoring in Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Journalism/Kinesiology Minor
Tom Zulewski is a senior from Horsham, PA. He’s majoring in journalism with an emphasis in sports and minoring in kinesiology. Son of Richard and Kathleen Zulewski. Has a younger sister, Stephanie. Besides writing, passions include traveling, weightlifting, hockey, and the outdoors. Tom is an executive board member of the Penn State Hockey Management Association and editor for ComRadio. He aspires to be a professional beat writer someday covering an NHL team for a newspaper. He is also an Eagle Scout.