Penn State didn't appear ready for Iowa
The CFN writers give their thoughts on Iowa's 21-10 win over No. 5 Penn State.
Still needs offense
Iowa can't beat Penn State; it doesn't have any semblance of an offense ... right?
Oh sure, the Penn State offense has been sputtering and struggling, the O-line has been mediocre, but the defense has more than made up for the problems and it should stuff the Iowa attack cold.
While that all might be true, Iowa still doesn't have much of an offense and didn't show off much against the Nittany Lions, but it didn't have to. There were two turnovers, but for the most part, the Hawkeyes played a very smart game with a bruising running game that did just enough to get by, rushing for 163 yards, to help make up for a rough day from QB Ricky Stanzi. The offense's job was to let the defense come up with the win, and that's exactly what happened as the defensive front hit Penn State QB Daryll Clark over and over.
Clark had an awful game, but he was forced into a bad performance; Iowa made it happen. A team with a back like Evan Royster should be able to run at will, but he almost never got room to run and when he did finally make something happen late, he fumbled thanks to a great play by the Iowa D.
But there's a ceiling on what Iowa can do unless the offense starts to pick things up (don't forget how shaky the opening win over Northern Iowa was). The defense isn't going to force four turnovers every game and the offense will have to figure out how to get something going with the passing game. But for now, Iowa walked into a revenge game and came out a winner. Iowa's defense was better than Penn State's defense, and now the spotlight will be on Iowa City.
Imagine if Shonn Greene was still in Iowa City instead of New Jersey.
There's an awful lot to like about this Hawkeyes squad because it's simply a good football team in every sense of the phrase. It's physical at the line of scrimmage, doesn't make mistakes and plays the type of defense that wins championships. You may not have been paying much attention to kids, like Adrian Clayborn, Pat Angerer, A.J. Edds or Tyler Sash, but they'll have cameos in the nightmares of Daryll Clark and the Penn State offensive line tonight.
As far as the Nittany Lions go, you can't help wonder if opening with Akron, Syracuse, and Temple contributed to Saturday's dreadful performance. The drops, turnovers and special teams breakdowns were all signs of a team that hadn't been tested.
Iowa was just fine in Happy Valley with young backs Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher shouldering the load on the ground and averaging more than 5 yards a carry. Still, with a brutal schedule ahead of it, I can't help but wonder what the Big Ten's hottest team would look like had last year's Doak Walker Award winner returned to school for his senior season.
1. This game honestly didn't have the feel of a typical revenge match, because the Nittany Lions owned most of the credentials, the 2008 Big Ten trophy, the iconic coach, home field and a senior quarterback, Daryll Clark, who figured to learn from last year's second-half nightmare in Iowa City.
What makes this result so stunning is not that Penn State was held down by the Hawkeyes' tremendous defensive front; no, the truly remarkable aspect of this Iowa ambush in State College is that Penn State — while not scoring big — handed Iowa points. Late in the third quarter, it appeared for all the world that Iowa's offense would not be able to crack the end zone as long as the game's outcome remained up for grabs. It's not as though Clark, teammate Evan Royster, and the rest of the Lions played well on offense (they didn't), but what's alarming about tonight's events for JoePa and Co. is that Iowa won without having to mount a long touchdown drive.