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Penn State D shuts down Hawkeyes passing game; Redd rushes for 142 yards to win 13-3
State College, PA - The Penn State defense stopped the Iowa Hawkeyes (3-2,0-1) by holding James Vandenberg to 169 yards passing on 17 of 34 and kept the visitors out of the end zone while Silas Redd picked up 142 rushing yards for the Lions (5-1,2-0) who moved the ball effectively until the entering the "Redd" zone to come up with a 13-3 Big Ten win. A third quarter PSU TD pass to TE Kevin Haplea from Matt McGloin accounted for the only TD of the game.
Among 103,497 fans on a
bright, sunny Happy Valley afternoon, Collegefootballfan.com saw the Lions get
off to a sluggish start on offense with Rob Bolden under center before giving
way to PSU's other "#1" QB Matt McGloin who got the offense moving more
effectively until nearing the end zone in most cases. Bolden finished 3 of
7 for 31 passing yards while McGloin completed the game 12 of 19 for 133 yards.
Redd amassed 142 yards carrying the football and hard-charging tailback Curtis Dukes rushed for 60
more on nine carries. It was the defense, however, that aggressively
stopped the Hawkeyes from scoring and
PSU started with Bolden at the controls and moved the ball on its first possession from the nine with Redd picking up the bulk of the yardage. With fourth and four at the IU 17, the Lions set up for the FG, but a fake got them a first down at the Hawkeye eight. The subsequent drive sputtered though and Anthony Fera converted the 20-yard FG for a 3-0 lead in a quick first quarter as Iowa started the fourth possession of the game before the quarter ended.
Iowa knotted the score with Mike Meyer's 23-yard FG to finish up the drive 4:09 into the second period. Devon Smith dropped the ensuing kickoff and the Lions started from the 16. Matt McGloin came in under Joe Paterno's devised plan to use two number one QBs. The former walk-on led the struggling offense down to the six mixing up running plays with two passes to WR Justin Brown. On a third and goal, McGloin's pass to Shawney Kersey in the end zone hit him in the hands but was dropped. The Lions settled for a 20-yard FG by Fera and a 6-3 lead. The two teams exchanged punts before the halftime festivities started.
One of our Guest Game Analysts, Kelle Massimilla, asked for my half-time analysis. All I could say was that the last time I watched these two play back in 2004, the Hawkeyes won, 6-4. Now the Lions led, 6-3! John Massimilla, our GGA for most Penn State games had provided some pregame input since he'd seen all the home games thus far this season. In a good move, John got our season tickets moved down to row 31 in the northeast corner of the end zone. The crowd seems more lively and intense as opposed to our seats we've had many years in rows in the 70s and 80s high atop the eastern sidelines hovering over the Penn State bench. At halftime, the highlight was the introduction on Penn State's 1986 National Championship team (has it been 25 years already?). We watched player introductions through our binoculars at the opposite corner of Beaver Stadium. Some players were more recognizable than others. Captain and LB Shane Conlan was among them as well as RB DJ Dozier, RB Blair Thomas, LB and co-captain Trey Bauer, and QB John Schaffer. The Lions defeated the Miami Hurricanes with Vinny Testaverde and HC Jimmy Johnson. John, Kelle and I saw the Lions win three games at Beaver Stadium that year to get there - Temple, 45-15; Syracuse, 42-3: and Pitt, 34-14. GGA Brian, boyfriend of Ali Van Horn, commented that he was born two years after the championship season. However, the young whipper-snapper and Penn State grad stated that he'd probably seen the replay of the game about 30 times!
To start the second half, neither team could sustain a drive. Paterno re-inserted Bolden at one point, but the Lions could not move. Many PSU fans have been disenchanted with the two -QB system. Our feeling is that JoePa is compensating for his effort to keep Bolden in the program after he threatened to transfer at the end of last season. At this point, many fans voice their displeasure and say let him transfer. I don't know who would want him? He'd probably end up in a D-2 program if he did. In defense of Bolden, he never had much of a chance to develop as he got thrown into the fire to start last season as a freshman. He didn't play behind an experienced QB. However, that's the status of this program. It can't recruit a top-notch QB nor does it have the capability to develop the ones they have. They're lucky to have McGloin. He made the team a as a walk-on. How many Top 25 programs have two top QBs with such qualifications? It's an issue I'm not sure how the program is going to resolve any time soon. Iowa punted and put PSU at its own four. McGloin came in and led the Lions to a third and five at the IU six. Micah Hyde picked McGloin's pass off in the end zone late in the third.
Early in the fourth, LB Gerald Hodges nailed Vandenberg from behind to forced a fumble and fellow LB Nate Stupar recovered to put the Lions in business at the 49. McGloin drove his team down to the two. He scrambled and gave TE Kevin Haplea enough time to get open in back of the end zone where McGloin found him with 8:08 left in the game. Behind 13-3, the Hawkeyes went to the air more often, but it didn't pay off. On a fourth and four from their 41, Vandenberg's pass was picked off by QB Derrick Thomas resulting in a 12-yard loss for the Lions! As pointed out before, some of these players think it's all about their stats. Thomas went down low to catch the ball for no chance for a return. Had he just knocked it to the ground, the Lions would have started with the ball on the Iowa 41 instead of their own 47. After the play, one young PSU fan turned to his Dad and sincerely said, "Why couldn't this be Alabama?" Someday he'll realize that they're not quite the same. The Lions punted at the IU 43 and the Hawks began from their 15. Vandenberg's efforts went for naught once again as a pass was tipped and picked off by S Nick Sukay. Penn State started at IU's 44, and as per most of the game, gave the ball back after the offense could not move. The defense held and the Lions won their fifth game of the season based primarily on the exploits of their defense to improve their record to 5-1. The schedule will be much more challenging as the season progresses. Next week they will host Purdue (3-2). We will be back on October 29 to see them play currently 6-0 Illinois. After that, their last three games will be against Nebraska before visiting Ohio State and Wisconsin. Iowa hosts Northwestern and Indiana the next two weeks. CFF.com will go to "The Birthplace of College Football" to see Rutgers host Navy next Saturday at 2pm.
Extra points: The advantage of cell phones is keeping in touch with others first hand for out of town scores. My daughter Alex was watching her Gamecocks paste Kentucky 54-3; Jim Groome reported that Lehigh had beaten Bucknell in Lewisburg, 30-6, and Andy Jacobson was watching his Gators struggle at LSU. They lost 44-11.
Rumors are that Urban Meyer is interested in the
job at State College if it's open. I thought he had health issues and
wanted to spend more time with his family. If he is available, how
committed is he? Moved on from a successful stint at Utah before
getting a prime position in Gainesville.
I met with Chris Schmouder who taped our interview on Friday for our ESPN interview on his Selingsgrove, PA station. He loves Tales from the Tailgate and picked up a few books to give to some friends. I took the opportunity to drop one off at the Radio booth of 93.7 Froggy - 1450 ESPN out in front of the Bryce-Jordan Center. Hopefully we can talk college football with those guys soon.
Iowa brought four nice-looking, female cheerleaders. I didn't bring my camera. We have a nicer seating arrangement now for viewing the visiting cheerleaders. Funny thing though - Penn State gives the visitors all their tickets now in the top rows of the north end of Beaver Stadium. The section where visitors used to sit in front to the cheerleaders is now primarily filled with Lion fans.
John made some great sausages yesterday. Some were hot and some were sweet. After dropping off my book at the radio booth, I stopped in the Jordan center. Some people had ice cream which looked good for settling the internal fire fueled by a few beers. I was told that there was a booth for ice cream from The Creamery. I considered "Peachy Paterno" until I saw the line. It must have been a mile long. I got a frozen bar inside Beaver Stadium.
The game program's biography of Iowa HC Jim Ferentz notes that he played for Connecticut and graduated in 1978. He and I were both in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in 1975 when Navy blasted UConn of the Yankee Conference , 55-7. I always remember what seemed to be maybe the only five Husky fans that sat across from the Brigade that day with a painted bed sheet that read, "Navy sucks bilge water."
Another person in the Brigade that day was the father of Penn State TE Kevin Haplea. We met him last year at the Navy-SMU game in Annapolis parking right next to him. He graduated from USNA in 1976. His son, a graduate of North Hunterdon (NJ) High school in Annandale, caught the TD pass yesterday to give State the 13-3 lead.