Sunday, October 3, 2010

Iowa Hawkeyes beat Penn State 24-3 on Homecoming; while State of Iowa Division I teams go 3-0 in Week 5

The Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) open Big Ten play with a solid 24-3 win over Penn State (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) on Homecoming on Saturday night. Like the 2002 season, Iowa heads into Big Ten season at 3-1, and like 2002, Iowa opened with a solid win over Penn State. Unlike 2002, which was an offensive dominated game, defense shined on Saturday night this year.

Iowa for the past couple years has been compared to Alabama by Phil Steele, the noted college football magazine. Call Iowa a version of Alabama lite. Like the #1 Alabama program, both programs own a 24-3 win at home over the Nittany Lions this season.

Iowa's base 4-3 defense held ground and kept the Nittany Lions out of the end zone again. Other than a first minute TD on the first drive at Happy Valley last year, the Hawkeyes have kept the Nittany Lions out of the end zone for the past 119 minutes, as a happy coach Kirk Ferentz responded to Gary Dolphin on the Hawkeye Sports Network, after Saturday's game. As Gary Dolphin noted, the Hawkeyes have held the Nittany Lions without a touchdown for seven straight quarters now.

Iowa's defense was outstanding during last year's Penn State game in Happy Valley. This year, with two key newcomers in the linebacker corp, Iowa played solid football again. Senior Jeremiha Hunter, from York, PA, was the only returning starter, but junior Tyler Nielsen and true freshman James Morris were solid, as well. Morris entered the game in the second quarter, with Iowa ahead 10-0, after seniors Jeff Tapinian and Troy Johnson went out with injuries. Iowa has already lost junior Bruce Davis with an ACL injury at the MLB position.

It all started, as it has in the past three wins over Penn State, with the defensive line. Iowa has five outstanding lineman, with DE Adrian Clayborn, DT/DE Christain Ballard, DT Karl Klug, DT Mike Daniels and DE Broderick Binns. Ballard, pictured to right, was outstanding on Saturday night. He was considered by most the player of the game. Klug pulled off a couple tackles equal to his 2008 performance. Clayborn continues to garner the attention of most offensive coordinators and OL coaches.

Further, junior cornerback Shaun Prater had an outstanding game, including a 33 yard INT and a TD saving open field tackle at the tail end of the first half. Senior safety Brett Greenwood made some key open field tackles, as well.

Senior QB Ricky Stani, sophomore LT Riley Rieff, sophomore RB Adam Robinson, senior FB Brent Morse, senior WR Derrell Johnson-Koulanos, who missed last year's game, junior WR Malvin McNutt and senior TE Allen Reisner were all key performers on offense. The special teams units were solid, though Penn State took our return squads completely out of the game. Senior punter Ryan Donahue continues to show why he is one of the nation's best. True freshman place kicker Mike Meyers was perfect on the day.

Iowa will get a bye week next week, then head to Ann Arbor to face the Michigan Wolverines (5-0, 1-0) on Homecoming for the Wolverines faithful, in Week 7. The Iowa-Michigan series, since 1981 has been one of the better rivalries in the Big Ten. The 1981 game, which was a 9-7 win in coach J. Hayden Fry's third season. It brought an end of the Ohio State-Michigan dominance in the Big Ten. Wasn't the 1981 game in Ann Arbor a Homecoming game for Michigan, as well?

Iowa is now 12-11 in the PSU series. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is now 8-2 head to head, as a head coach vs. all-time great Joe Paterno. Ferentz has the oldest tenure among Big Ten coaches, with the exception of Joe Pa, who is in his 45Th season as head coach and 61St overall on the sidelines for the historic Penn State program.

Iowa will open Big Ten play in 2011, in the new-improved Big Ten, at Penn State in Happy Valley. Will Joe Paterno be on the sidelines again in Iowa City in 2012?

For now, the quest for the Rose Bowl has started in 2010. Iowa is 1-0, with Ohio State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Michigan, after opening Big Ten play in the first weekend in October. It should be another exciting season of Big Ten football, as the 2010 College Football season heads into Week 6.

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Since the 7-35 loss at Iowa in Week 2, Iowa State (3-2, 1-1 Big 12 North) has been playing competitive football, as they returned to Big 12 play on Saturday night at Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State beat Texas Tech (2-2, 0-2 Big 12 South) 52-38, after taking a 24-0 lead early. ISU coach Paul Rhoads beat his old boss, first year coach Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech. Rhoads was a defensive coordinator at Auburn for Tuberville, ahead of becoming the ISU head coach in '09.

Utah (4-0, 2-0), Top 10 team, will visit Ames this Saturday for the Cyclones final OOC match up for the 2010 season. The Cyclones will work to remain competitive, after a near miss at Arrowhead Stadium over Big 12 North leader, Kansas State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) and back to back wins over UNI and Texas Tech at Jack Trice.

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The University of Northern Iowa is only 2-2, but they have won two big MVfC games to start the 2010 season. On Saturday, UNI beat South Dakota State (0-4, 0-2 MVfC) 24-14 in the UNI-dome. Turnovers have been a heartache for the Panthers much of the 2010 season, but were not a thorn on Saturday. UNI will travel to #13 Southern Illinois (2-3, 1-1 MVfC) on Saturday.

Unlike Week 3, where Iowa fell at Top 25 Arizona (5-0, 1-0 Pac 10) and both Iowa State and UNI fell short to Kansas State and Stephen F. Austin, respectively, the State of Iowa shined on Saturday.


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