The No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-2, 5-1 Big Ten) found the endzone on their first possession and never looked back in a 41-14 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday night at Beaver Stadium. Here are the game’s “Cheers and jeers.”
Defense playing at top-10 level— Penn State’s defense forced a turnover on downs on the first possession of the game for Iowa and was dominant in all facets of the game Saturday evening. Iowa entered the game averaging 348.1 total yards of offense, yet the Nittany Lions’ defense held the Hawkeyes to just 234 total yards. Coming into the game, Iowa’s running game averaged 167.9 yards between the two-headed monster made up of LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley. Saturday night, that duo — and the rest of the rushing game — was held to 30 yards.
Offensive efficiency— Offensively, the Nittany Lions continued to dominate in both the running and passing game for the second week in a row. Penn State went 52 yards to the endzone on the first drive and wouldn’t trail at any point Saturday evening. Quarterback Trace McSorley led a passing attack that had 240 yards, while running back Saquon Barkley moved into 18th on the all-time rushing list at Penn State and reached the 1,000-yard mark on the ground for the season with 167 of the team’s 359 rushing yards Saturday. The Nittany Lions wound up scoring on seven of their 11 drives.
3rd Downs— Third downs have been the Nittany Lions’ demise throughout the season, however, Saturday night, their third-down success was stellar on both sides of the football. Defensively, Penn State forced the Hawkeyes to four three-and-outs and allowed only a single fourth down conversion. On the offensive side of the football, the Nittany Lions converted on six of their 12 third down chances.
Penalties killer on defense— For the second weekend in a row, penalties had a severe negative impact on Penn State’s defense. Penalty yardage was the best offense for Iowa in the first half as Penn State had five penalties for 59 yards. (The Hawkeyes had only 128 total yards of offense in the first half.) A roughing-the-passer penalty put Iowa inside the 20-yard line to set them up with their lone touchdown in the second quarter. Of the five penalties on the Nittany Lions in the first half, three were personal fouls. Penn State wound up with nine penalties for 89 yards on the evening.
Highlight of the Game
The highlight of the game comes from linebacker Jason Cabinda.
— Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) November 6, 2016
Faced with a fourth-and-one early in the first quarter down seven, Iowa decided to go for it. Quarterback C.J. Beathard was met at the top of his leap by Cabinda, where the linebacker cued up his best LaVar Arrington impersonation and drove Beathard behind the line of scrimmage.
Penn State hits the road for a game against Indiana for the first of two road games for the Nittany Lions in the month of November. The Hoosiers enter the match-up against Penn State with a 5-4 record after beating Rutgers 33-27 Saturday afternoon. Indiana won three of its first four games of the season before losing three straight games to Ohio State, Nebraska and Northwestern. Since the loss against Northwestern, the Hoosiers have won two straight games.
The Nittany Lions defeated Indiana 29-7 in their game last season at Beaver Stadium.
Image credit: Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times