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Oct. 6, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State rolled to 489 yards and held Iowa to just eight first downs en route to a convincing 27-7 win over the Hawkeyes in Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions have won 18 of their last 19 games at home dating to the final game of the 2004 season against Michigan State.
Senior tailback Rodney Kinlaw ran for a career-high 168 yards and senior quarterback Anthony Morelli threw for 233 yards and a touchdown to spark the offense. Kinlaw had a career-best 28 carries and earned his second 100-yard game of the season, having gained 129 yards vs. Buffalo. Kinlaw gained the most yards by a Nittany Lion runner since Larry Johnson' 279 yards vs. Michigan State in 2002. Redshirt freshman Evan Royster gained a season-high 86 yards on 16 carries, as the Lions gained a season-high 256 rushing yards.
Penn State allowed only eight first downs, tied for the fewest allowed by the Lions in Big Ten play since joining the conference in 1993. Iowa also had eight first downs against Penn State in 1996. The Hawkeyes entered the fourth quarter today with only two first downs. The Nittany Lions allowed only 194 yards, its fewest in a Big Ten game since allowing 168 yards to Iowa in 2004.
The Penn State defense has permitted 11 touchdowns in the past 12 games.
Junior linebacker Sean Lee and senior All-America linebacker Dan Connor led another strong defensive effort with 11 and 9 tackles, respectively. Lee recorded his fourth consecutive double figure tackle game. Junior cornerback Justin King made nine tackles and sophomore defensive tackle Chris Baker had four stops. Sophomore defensive end Maurice Evans recorded two sacks among his four hits, giving him 11.0 TFL and 5.0 sacks this season.
Penn State opened up the game with a Kinlaw 12-yard run and a 15-yard pass from Morelli to Butler but, a Kinlaw fumble on the next play gave Iowa the ball on its own 35-yard-line. A big hit by King on third down forced a punt.
A Jeremy Boone punt that sailed 48 yards was downed in an acrobatic play by Knowledge Timmons and A.J. Wallace at the Iowa 1-yard line. With the Penn State student section rocking, the Nittany Lion defense stifled the Hawkeye offense. The Lions narrowly missed earning safety as Damian Sims scrambled out of his own end zone and was tackled by Evans and Lee on the Iowa 3-yard line to end the first quarter.
Penn State forced a Hawkeye punt that was returned 18 yards by Derrick Williams to the Iowa 34-yard line. The Nittany Lion offense kept to the ground in the ensuing drive, with Royster carrying on six consecutive plays for a total of 33 yards down to the Iowa 1-yard line. An apparent Royster touchdown run was overturned and a 24-yard Kevin Kelly field goal put Penn State on the board first with 9:59 left in the half.
The teams traded three-and-outs and on their ensuing possessions. Morelli then hit a streaking Butler, who made a diving catch near the Iowa sideline for a 37-yard gain to give the Lions first down on the Hawkeye 34-yard line. With Penn State facing a 3rd-and-13, Morelli completed a 13-yard pass to sophomore tight end Andrew Quarless to give Penn State a first down on the Iowa 24-yard line. On the next play, Morelli found a wide-open Williams in the corner of the end zone and Kelly's kick gave the Nittany Lions a 10-0 advantage with 1:08 left in the half.
The Lions quickly forced a Hawkeye punt and got the ball on its own 20-yard line with 31 seconds left in the half. Royster gained 17 yards and a Morelli pass to a diving Quarless across the middle for a 24-yard gain gave the Lions another first down on the Iowa 36-yard line with three seconds remaining in the half, setting up a 53-yard Kelly field goal attempt. Kelly's career-long kick just cleared the crossbar, capping an 80-yard scoring drive by the Lions, the longest drive of the season to that point. Kelly's kick was the longest by a Nittany Lion since Massimo Manca hit a 53-yard field goal against Notre Dame in 1985 and is the first kick of more than 50-yards since Robbie Gould during the 2002 season.
The trey was Kelly's 48th career field goal, moving him into second on the school career field goals list, passing Travis Forney. Penn State went into the locker room at half with the 13-0 lead.
The Nittany Lion defense came out strong in the third quarter, holding the Hawkeyes to minus-11 yards on three plays in the first series, including a sack by Evans to force a punt. Rushes from Kinlaw and Royster set up a 16-yard pass play to Royster to give Penn State a first down. The Nittany Lions continued to march down the field, with Morelli hitting Norwood for a 30-yard gain down the Penn State sideline to give the Lions first down at the Iowa 12-yard line. Kinlaw broke through the line and danced around the defenders up the middle for the score, and a Kelly extra point put Penn State up 20-0 with 8:36 left in the quarter.
Following an Iowa three-and-out, the Penn State offense moved the ball 58-yards on eight plays, including a Kinlaw 12-yard rush for the first down, but a 43-yard Kelly field goal attempt sailed wide left, giving Iowa the ball on its own 26-yard line with 3:19 left in the quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Iowa gained 86 yards on eight plays to set up an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jake Christensen to Trey Stross, and Daniel Murray's kick brought Iowa to within 20-7.
A series of Kinlaw rushes brought Penn State to Iowa's 44-yard line, but a Morelli pass was intercepted by Iowa's Charles Godfrey at the 34. Penn State's defense held Iowa to only two yards, forcing a three-and-out with 7:49 left in the fourth quarter.
With 4:23 left in the game, Penn State took over at the Iowa 31-yard line thanks to a Connor tackle on a fourth and four attempt. Two Kinlaw rushes paved the way for a five-yard first down run by Norwood. Kinlaw then ran over the right side for a 23-yard touchdown, his second of the night, to make it 27-7.
The Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-2) host No. 5 Wisconsin (5-1, 2-1) on Saturday for Penn State's 88th Homecoming game. Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium. ABC will televise to a regional audience, with other markets receiving the game on ESPN.