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Nittany Nightmare 09/26/2009

Posted by sportretort in NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
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109,000 Screaming Fans.  Almost all of them dressed in white.  A driving rainstorm with the temp in the mid 50’s.  The 5th ranked team in the nation.  That’s what Iowa faced Saturday night as they visited  Penn State.  All that going against then,  then they got punched squarely in the mouth.

Iowa took the opening kickoff and quickly went 3 and out.  On the first play following the punt, Penn St went for the early knock out blow, and it

109 thousand, white clad, screaming fans packed Beaver Stadiun Saturday

109 thousand, white clad, screaming fans packed Beaver Stadiun Saturday

 connected.  Penn St quarterback Darryl Clark had his worst game of the season last year in a loss to Iowa.  He wanted revenge, and he got it on the Nittany Lions first offensive play.  Clark faked a handoff, the play action drawing Iowa up to stop the run.  He then dropped back and hit wide out Chaz Powell perfectly in stride.  The play covered 79 yards, and the Lions had a 7-0 lead.  It was a right cross to the jaw.  The Hawkeyes were staggered.  Could they respond? 

The Hawkeyes second possession ended with an interception at the Penn State 21.  The Lions went on a 20 play, 68 yard drive that ended in a field goal.  That field goal, however, marked a turning of the tide.  Iowa’s defensive front became dominant, forced the kick, then allowed Penn State a total of -16 yards for their last 4 possessions of the half, including a safety that got Iowa on the board in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 10-2. Iowa added a field goal with about 4:40 left in the half and the two teams went to the locker rooms at the half with PSU leading 10-5.

The second half belonged to Iowa, especially their defense.  There was no scoring in the third quarter, and It was the Iowa defense that delivered

Iowa's defense pressured Penn State QB Clark all night

Iowa's defense pressured Penn State QB Clark all night

the knock out blow with just under 12 and 1/2 minutes left in the game.  Penn State was punting on the fateful 4th down play when Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn broke through the line, blocked the punt, picked the ball up on the bounce and out ran the stunned Lions for a 53 yard touchdown.  That gave Iowa the lead 11-10.  Iowa’s Adam Robinson scored on a 13 yard run on Iowa’s next possession, following another Iowa interception of Clark, to stretch the lead to 18-10.  A field goal with 8 seconds left made the final 21-10 Iowa.  Iowa’s offensive line took control in the second half, but the game belonged to the Hawkeye defense.  Penn States possessions in the second half ended in an interception, missed field goal, blocked punt, interception, fumble recovery, and interception.  Make no mistake about it, this is a special defense.

It was a gutsy, solid performance by the Hawkeyes.  Perhaps it was not pretty, but the Hawkeyes dominated the 5th ranked team in their house.  Iowa came in a double didget underdog.  They left with a doubble didget win.  Penn State managed 307 total yards, but were only able to cash in on that first big play.  The Lions gained 109 rushing yards, but Iowa answered with 163 of their own, most after halftime when their O-line took over the line of scrimage.  And Iowa’s defense forced four turn overs, had a safety and returned a blocked kick for six.  There are tough games ahead, but this team sent a message to the rest of the conference.  This team has a shot at the Big Ten title.

Hawkeye Clayborne's blocked punt changed the game

Hawkeye Clayborne's blocked punt changed the game

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