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Wine Online: Ho-Hum Win Against Penn State?
'Easy' win over Paterno's squad not a part of the Iowa-Penn State pattern
Kirk Ferentz has had remarkable success against Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Kirk Ferentz has had remarkable success against Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions.
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Oct. 3, 2010


IOWA CITY, IowaIowa and Penn State have played some exciting, down-to-the-wire football games in the past decade, but Saturday`s contest at Kinnick Stadium was not one of them.

There was no suspense in this one. Not after Iowa jumped to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter. Not after Christian Ballard and Jeremiha Hunter slammed Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden short of the goal line early in the third period.


This was nothing like Iowa's overtime wins at Happy Valley in 2000 and 2002. It didn`t come down to a game-winning field goal the final seconds, as the Hawkeye victory at Kinnick did two years ago. This was just a good, solid, decisive triumph to open Big Ten play.

Perhaps the most encouraging thing to come out of the game was Iowa's fast start on offense. Penn State's defense ranks fourth in the Big Ten, but the Hawkeyes moved 77 yards for a field goal the first time they had the ball, and 51 yards for a touchdown on their third possession.

At the end of the first quarter Iowa had out-gained the visitors, 148-1. A touchdown that ended a 68-yard drive gave Iowa a comfortable 17-0 lead. After Penn State's 80-yard drive that opened the second half ended when Ballard and Hunter pinned Bolden short of the goal line, the game was over.

The Hawkeyes have dominated four teams at Kinnick this season. Penn State came into the game ranked No. 20, but Iowa whipped the Nittany Lions in much the same manner it did Iowa State and Ball State. (Did you notice Ball State beat MAC favorite Central Michigan on Saturday? And how about Iowa State rolling up 52 points on Texas Tech?)

Iowa's No. 1 defense has now given up only 10 points in four home games. It's also worth noting that Iowa and No. 1 ranked Alabama both beat Penn State by the same score of 24-3.





Now the Iowa players and coaches get an extra week to prepare for their next test, at Michigan Oct. 16. The good news is the Wolverines give up gobs of points. The bad news is they score even more, which is why they are undefeated.



Kirk Ferentz is one of the few coaches who owns a winning record against Joe Paterno. Kirk is 8-2 against JoPa, but he may not have the legendary coach to kick around anymore. Perhaps the 83-year old Paterno will have actually retired when the teams next meet, in 2013. Don't bet on it, however.

Paterno has been bringing teams to Kinnick Stadium off and on for 40 years. His first visit was in 1971, and that club featured Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell, two of the best running backs in college football. Penn State won 44-14 and the game wasn't that close.

That was one of Paterno's best teams. This one is not playing at that level, but it is a good Penn State team the Hawkeyes thumped by 21 points.

Now the Iowa players and coaches get an extra week to prepare for their next test, at Michigan Oct. 16. The good news is the Wolverines give up gobs of points. The bad news is they score even more, which is why they are undefeated.

In winning 42-35 at Indiana Saturday, Michigan averaged 12.5 yards per play behind its phenomenal quarterback, Denard Robinson, who scored the winning touchdown in the final seconds. He's come out of nowhere to be a legitimate Heisman candidate and is likely to be the best player Iowa`s defense will see this season.

There is a chance that Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker, who has been sidelined with health issues, will be back for this one. Let's hope so. That would be very good news for both Norm and the players he coaches.



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