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Oct. 8, 2011
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--The Penn State defense forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter to spark a critical 13-3 win over Iowa in a boisterious Beaver Stadium on Saturday. The Nittany Lions improved to 2-0 in the Big Ten, winning their fourth straight game overall.
Penn State delivered another superlative defensive performance, holding an Iowa team that was averaging 37.8 ppg to just a field goal. The Hawkeyes were held to three or fewer points for the first time since a 23-3 loss to Iowa State in 2005 and the first time in a Big Ten game since a 31-0 loss to Illinois in 2000.
Leading 6-3 early in the fourth quarter, Linebacker U's Gerald Hodges sacked Iowa's James Vandenberg, forcing a fumble that Nate Stupar recovered at the Iowa 49. Silas Redd carried five times for 30 yards and Curtis Dukes had three carries for 20 yards as Penn State ran the ball 10 consecutive plays to earn a first-and-goal. Matt McGloin then tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Haplea for a 13-3 lead with 8:08 to play.
Iowa's three points were the fewest Penn State allowed in a Big Ten game since beating Minnesota, 20-0, in 2009. The Hawkeyes came into the game averaging 421.8 ypg (281.2 passing ypg) and were held to 253 yards by Penn State (84 rush, 169 pass). The Nittany Lions held their fifth opponent below 100 rushing yards and recorded a season-high five sacks. The Hawkeyes had allowed a total of five sacks in their first four games.
Senior co-captain Drew Astorino recorded a career-high 11 tackles, with 0.5 tackles for loss and a pass break-up. He had 10 tackles against Indiana in 2009. Senior co-captain Devon Still had another big game, with six tackles, including 1.5 TFL and a sack for minus-12 yards. DT Jordan Hill and LB Glenn Carson also had six hits. Linebacker Gerald Hodges made five stops, with a sack and a forced fumble and LB Khairi Fortt made five hits, including a sack for minus-13 yards.
The Nittany Lions produced their best rushing performance of the season, gaining 231 yards on 46 carries (5.0). The total was Penn State's second-highest total of season (245 yards vs. Indiana State).
The success of the ground was highlighted by a punishing touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to give Penn State a 13-3 lead. Getting the ball at the Iowa 49 after Hodges' forced a fumble, Penn State ran the ball 10 consecutive plays, earning four first downs. Silas Redd carried five times for 30 yards and Curtis Dukes had three carries for 20 yards to set-up McGloin's two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Haplea for a 13-3 lead with 8:08 to play.
Redd ran for a career-best 142 yards on 28 carries, his third 100-yard game of the season (secnd consecutive) and fourth of his career. Redd's previous career-best was 131 yards last season against Northwestern. Redd also caught two passes for eight yards, giving him career best 150 all-purpose yards. Dukes broke his career-best for the second straight week, punishing his way to 60 yards on nine carries. His previous career-high was 54 yards at Indiana.
In addition to opening running lanes, Penn State's veteran offensive line did not allow any sacks against the Hawkeyes, and have allowed only five sacks in six games.
The effective ground game enabled Penn State to hold a significant advantage in time of possession, 35:54 to 24:06.
The win over Iowa was Penn State's 250th all-time in Beaver Stadium. Penn State has a 250-62 record (80.1) in Beaver Stadium since the facility was erected in 1960, including 15 unbeaten seasons. Beaver Stadium's capacity of 106,572 is the nation's second-largest.
The Nittany Lions' win also was their 50th Big Ten home win since starting conference play in 1993. Penn State is 50-23 in Big Ten home games.
More than 60 members of Penn State's 1986 National Championship team attended a reunion and were recognized at halftime of the contest.
Penn State's first drive was filled with excitement. Sophomore Rob Bolden led an offense that strung together 18 plays for 88 yards, eventually leading to an Anthony Fera 20-yard field goal. Redd recorded a second down run for 17 yards, a chunk of the 72 rush yards the Nittany Lions accumulated on the drive. Penn State had some good fortune on the drive as well, including a 19-yard pass play to senior Andrew Sczerba where the tight end caught the ball after it deflected off an official's foot.
Penn State then surprised the Hawkeyes, as placekicker Evan Lewis lined up for a field goal of 34 yards. The former wide receiver took a direct snap and ran eight yards for a first down. The play would lead to Fera's first field goal.
The Hawkeyes countered on their next possession, stringing together 12 plays for 72 yards. Mike Meyer connected on a 23-yard field goal to tie the game up at 3-3.
McGloin entered the game in the second quarter for Penn State's second drive. He immediately threw a 16-yard completion to junior Justin Brown. McGloin and the offense were successful in converting third downs, as he threw a ball to Derek Moye in between three defenders. The senior wide receiver went up and made a great catch, tipping and catching the ball amongst three defenders for a 23-yard gain. The 12-play drive was capped off by another 20-yard field goal by Fera to give the Nittany Lions a 6-3 lead.
Iowa moved the ball into Penn State territory as the fourth quarter began. But, a Penn State defense that was making plays all day delivered a critical play that changed the game. Hodges came in on a blitz and hit Vandenberg to force a fumble. Senior Nate Stupar jumped on the ball to earn possession back for Penn State to the delight of the All-University Day audience.
The momentum was in favor of Penn State at that point, as the Lions continued to pound the ball on the ground. McGloin completed the drive with a play-action touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Haplea, his first career score, to put Penn State up, 13-3.
On the ensuing possessio, junior Malcolm Willis picked off a Vandenberg pass at the Iowa 47 to get
the ball back for Penn State. A third turnover by the Nittany Lion defense was forced when Nick Sukay picked off a pass deflected by Stupar at the Iowa 44.