No. 25 Iowa 6, Penn State 4

Preview | Box Score | Recap

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)—Iowa had so much confidence in its defense, the Hawkeyes gave Penn State two points.

The 25th-ranked Hawkeyes held Penn State’s offense scoreless, making Kyle Schlicher’s two first-half field goals stand up for a 6-4 victory on Saturday.

Iowa handed the Nittany Lions their final points, conceding a safety instead of punting from its own end zone late in the fourth quarter. The strategy worked perfectly when the Hawkeyes intercepted Penn State for the fourth time.

“It was a pretty obvious decision,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Typically, if you punt off your own 1-yard line, it’s almost a guaranteed three for the other team. And this type of game, I sure as heck didn’t want to give them three easy ones. Just take the safety and ride our defense.”

The Hawkeyes (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) went up 3-2 when Schlicher kicked a 27-yarder late in the first quarter to cap a 15-play drive. Sean Considine intercepted a pass by Zack Mills in the second quarter and returned it 53 yards to set up Schlicher’s second field goal, also a 27-yarder, that made it 6-2 going into halftime.

“I knew that two field goals wasn’t going to be enough,” Schlicher said. “I was actually surprised that it was.”

Iowa had just three first downs in the second half, all of them late in the fourth quarter, and one was the result of a Penn State penalty.

But despite the Hawkeyes’ offensive shortcomings, Penn State’s offense was even worse. Twice in the second half, the Nittany Lions (2-5, 0-4) had a first down inside the Iowa 10, but failed to score—Robbie Gould missed 25-yard field goal wide left in the third quarter, and Antwan Allen intercepted a pass by Michael Robinson pass on the 1 in the fourth.

“I don’t know whether we could play much poorer than we did today,” Penn State coach Joe Paterno said. “I mean, I think Iowa’s a pretty good defensive football team, but we just didn’t play very well at all offensively.”

That interception set up Penn State’s final score, a safety that Iowa planned to give away. The Hawkeyes were also called for holding on the play that made it 6-4.

The defense came through for the Hawkeyes. Jovon Johnson intercepted Robinson on Penn State’s next play from scrimmage.

“I was waiting for him to throw it all game,” Johnson said. “They line up in a formation that you recognize from film, and you just get an early jump on it. I knew what the play was.”

Robinson fumbled away the Nittany Lions’ last opportunity, a fitting end to an awful day for Penn State.

Earlier this week, Ferentz left the team to attend his father’s funeral in Pittsburgh. John Ferentz died at 84 after a long illness.

“I told the team on Tuesday, I wish they’d gotten to know my dad, you know,” Ferentz said. “Unfortunately because of his health, his last time out was 2000. But they’d have loved the guy. He was a heck of a guy.”

Iowa hadn’t won a game scoring so few points since a 6-0 victory over Northwestern in 1957.

It was Penn State’s lowest scoring game since being shut out 20-0 by Michigan in 2001.

The Nittany Lions took 2-0 lead on the first possession—Penn State’s first lead in a Big Ten game this season—when the snap went over punter David Bradley’s head and into the end zone. Bradley kicked the ball out the back of the end zone to score the safety.

Related Articles

Top Performers

 Top Performers
A. Mickens A. Mickens, RB
7 Rush, 28 yds
 Penn St.
T. Hunt T. Hunt, RB
16 Rush, 49 yds