STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — It didn’t gain a yard or make a tackle, but the revenge factor played for Penn State.
In their postgame, Nittany Lion after Nittany Lion spoke in terms of getting the Iowa gorilla off its back. The Hawkeyes (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) had beaten PSU (5-1, 1-1) in eight of nine games, including the last three, before Penn State muscled its way to a 13-3 victory Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
At one point in the second half, the crowd of 103,497 fans broke into a “beat Iowa” chant, which went along perfectly with the “Beat Iowa” cardboard signs fans carried out of the stadium.
“We tried not to make it a personal match,” PSU linebacker Glenn Carson said. “But you know what, I think everyone in the back of their minds is thinking, ‘We’ve got to beat Iowa for the last couple years. They really rained on our seasons.’
“It was a big game, not only for this season, but for what they’ve done the past seasons to us.”
Another tangible sign of the revenge factor showed up on the cover of the stadium issue of the Collegian Magazine. The cover had the headline, “Redemption, pay back, retribution.” All caps, by the way.
“I definitely noticed that today,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Maybe Iowa took notes. The Hawkeyes have a personal gorilla of their own coming to Iowa City this weekend.
Northwestern (2-3, 0-2) makes its way to Kinnick Stadium after falling to Michigan 42-24 on Saturday night. It was the second week in a row the Wildcats fell victim to a frantic second-half comeback. Michigan outscored NU 28-0 in the second half.
In their first two Big Ten games, the Wildcats have been outscored 56-21 in the second half and 35-7 in the fourth quarter.
Still, it’s Northwestern. For Iowa, that’s three straight losses and five out of the last six. For Iowa, Northwestern is a giant purple gorilla.
“We know we have a huge game in Northwestern,” Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg said. “They’ve played us really well the last three years and they’ve beaten us. It’s going to be a challenge.”
Not exactly the fiery call to arms that Carson — yes, the linebacker who called Iowa a “wrestling school” — issued before and after Saturday’s game, but it does at least acknowledge the Northwestern problem.
Of course, Iowa has its hands full right now with Iowa. You saw the game.
“The only thing we’re focused on right now is watching that tape and learning from it and correcting it,” defensive tackle Mike Daniels said.
Iowa lost both sides of the line of scrimmage. Iowa’s skill players were never allowed to develop any rhythm in the run or pass game. Vandenberg had some success against Penn State’s base defense, but coordinator Tom Bradley shifted out of it and into a blitz-happy attack mode that kicked in pressure and general mayhem. Sacks came late, too.
“We went into this trying to do a lot of things differently,” Bradley said. “Mostly against down and distance and formation, but we really got out there blitzing in the second half.”
Iowa’s defense allowed 231 rushing yards, the most against the Hawkeyes since a 27-7 loss at Penn State in 2007, when the Lions ran up 256 yards. That’s a span of 50 games.
“As an offense, we feel we can do whatever we want if we go out and execute it the right way,” wide receiver Marvin McNutt said. “It doesn’t have to be a certain identity, it’s whatever we have to do to win games. Today, we just didn’t execute.”
The fact remains that Iowa is an inexperienced team that is young and some areas and still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. That comes with some trail and error and a national TV audience and stadiums full of critical eyes.
“We are still trying to find out what kind of team we’re going to be,” linebacker James Morris said. “At the end of the day, you never know what kind of team you were until you take a retrospective look four months from now.
“We want to make sure when we do take a look back, we’re proud of what we did. It’s hard to be proud of what we did today, unfortunately.”
Iowa at Penn State game notes
The all-time series between the two schools is now even at 12-12 following Penn State’s win. Iowa had won the last three meetings and eight of the last nine games. Iowa is now 7-5 in games played at Penn State, having won five of the last seven in Beaver Stadium.
STARTING ON OFFENSE
Iowa won the toss and elected to receive. Iowa has started on offense in 128 of its last 148 contests. The Hawkeyes have started the game on offense in 131-of-154 games under Coach Kirk Ferentz. Iowa games vs. Iowa State (9/10/11), Minnesota (11/27/10), Wisconsin (10/23/10), Ohio State (11/14/07), Indiana (10/31/09), Purdue (11/15/08), Penn State (11/08/08), Wisconsin (10/10/08), Minnesota (11/10/07), at Northwestern (11/3/07), vs. Michigan State (10/27/07), at Penn State (10/6/07), vs. Iowa State (9/16/06), vs. Minnesota (11/19/05), vs. Michigan (10/22/05), at Purdue (10/8/05), at Minnesota (11/13/04), vs. Purdue (11/6/04), at Miami, OH (9/7/02) and at Michigan State (9/27/03) are the only contests that the Hawkeyes didn’t start on offense. Iowa won 13 of the 20 games.
Iowa failed to score on its opening possession for the third time in five games. Iowa scored a touchdown on its opening drive vs. Iowa State and ULM.
Penn State scored a field goal on its first possession, becoming the third Iowa foe to score on its first possession. Iowa has allowed 13 first-quarter points in five games.
Iowa has allowed 11 opponents to score on their opening drive in its last 44 games.
• Sophomore LB Christian Kirksey had his second forced fumble of the season. His first came at Iowa State.
• Eric Guthrie had two 49-yard punts. The senior had at least one punt of 50 yards or more in three straight games before today. He finished the game with four punts for 158 yards (39.5 avg.). He had two kicks inside the 20.
• FB Jonathan Gimm had his first career reception in the third period.
• FB Brad Rogers saw his first action of the season. Rogers had not played for the Hawkeyes since the final regular season game of 2010.
• DE Lebron Daniel returned to the starting line-up for Iowa’s defense, again splitting time with Dominic Alvis.
IN THE RED ZONE
Iowa scored on its only trip to the red zone against Penn State, converting a field goal. The Hawkeyes have scored on 124 of the last 135 red zone possessions (82 TDs and 42 FGs), dating back to the Michigan State game in 2008. Iowa is 105-116 combined inside the red zone its last 34 games.
Penn State was 3-4 in the red zone, scoring a touchdown, converting two field goals and throwing an interception in the end zone.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS
Iowa forced one turnover (interception in the end zone), but did not score any points off the takeaway. Penn State scored the only touchdown of the day after an Iowa fumble, but did not convert off two interceptions.
Iowa has scored 20 points in four games following nine opponent turnovers (four fumbles, five interceptions).
The Hawkeye defense has collected at least one takeaway in 60 of its last 67 games, dating back to 2006.
Iowa opponents have scored 14 points following seven Iowa turnovers in 2011.
MCNUTT MOVES UP
Senior WR Marvin McNutt, Jr. grabbed four passes for 73 yards. McNutt, Jr. now has 117 receptions for 2,032 yards. McNutt, Jr. has 20 career scoring receptions, one shy of the school record. The record of 21 is held by Tim Dwight (1994-97) and Danan Hughes (1989-92). McNutt now ranks tied for 10th in career receptions and fifth in career yards. He has at least 100 yards receiving in three of five games in 2011.
Career Receiving (min. 1,000 yards)
Name No-Yards Avg. TDs Years
1. D. Johnson-Koulianos 173-2,616 15.1 17 2007-10
2. Tim Dwight 139-2,271 16.3 21 1994-97
3. Danan Hughes 146-2,216 15.2 21 1989-92
4. Ronnie Harmon 146-2,045 14.0 10 1982-85
5. Marvin McNutt, Jr. 117-2,032 17.4 20 2008-present
6. Kevin Kasper 157-1,974 12.6 11 1997-00
MEYER ADDS TO TOTAL
Sophomore PK Mike Meyer made a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter, improving to 9-11 on the season. He is 17-17 on PAT kicks. He has made 23-28 career field goals.
HYDE GETS PICK
Junior CB Micah Hyde came up with his third interception of the season in the third period, stopping a Penn State red zone opportunity. His first two thefts of the season both came in Iowa’s win over Pittsburgh. Hyde now has seven career interceptions. Hyde added eight total tackles, one tackle for loss and two pass breakups Saturday at Penn State.
Sophomore LB James Morris led Iowa with 12 tackles (5 solo, 7 assists), while Christian Kirksey added 10 (6 solo, 4 assists) and a forced fumble. Mike Daniels had two tackles for loss.
In the second period, a reception by an Iowa receiver was reviewed. The call on the field was upheld.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Iowa returns home to host Northwestern next Saturday (6 p.m., BTN) and Indiana on Oct. 22 (11 a.m., TBA).
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