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Penn State 13, Iowa 3: Nittany Lions defense is solid

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 8: Matthew McGloin #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions passes the ball against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the game on October 8, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Penn State defense forces three turnovers

Matt McGloin #11 of Penn State passes the ball against Iowa during the game on October 8, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Penn State‘s defense made sure that Iowa would not leave Beaver Stadium with a win this time. The Nittany Lions defense kept Iowa out of the end zone, the first time Iowa failed to score a touchdown in four years, as Penn State celebrated a 13-3 win in Beaver Stadium to move to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten conference play.

Matt McGloin‘s fourth quarter touchdown pass to tight endKevin Haplea gave Penn State a 13-3 lead on a day that was full of defense and dropped passes for both teams.Anthony Fera kicked two field goals in the first half and Iowa’s Mike Meyer gave Iowa their only points in the game.

Penn State’s defense shut down some quality offensive threats, keeping Hawkeyes receiver Marvin McNutt and running back Marcus Coker each under 100 yards.

“That McNutt, we did a good job on him,” Paterno said after the game. On the other side of the ball, Penn State’s running game carried the load, rushing for 230 yards, with Silas Redd finishing with an unofficial count of 142 yards on the ground.

Rob Bolden started the day under center and alternated once again with McGloin. Bolden completed three of his seven passes for 31 yards while McGloin completed 12 of 19 for 133 yards and the game’s only touchdown. McGloin also threw a lob pass to the back corner of the end zone, which was intercepted by Iowa on a third and goal from a couple yards out.

What does it mean?

Penn State moves to 2-0 in Big Ten play this season, and a win against the Hawkeyes relieves the pressure of beating Iowa for at least a few more years, unless these two happen to meet in a Big Ten championship game at some point.

Once again, the Penn State defense made the plays they needed to make in a solid performance. The three points allowed was the fewest allowed all season, and only Alabama has been able to score more than 13 points against the defense (Alabama scored 27 points).

“The defense has kept us in every ballgame but one,” Paterno said of his defense after the game. Penn State has only allowed more than ten points once (Alabama).

The quarterback competition should finally be settled, although that certainly remains to be seen. Rob Bolden struggled more than Matt McGloin on this day, but despite McGloin putting up better numbers the past few weeks, Joe Paterno has failed to make a final call on a full-time quarterback. Bolden got the start against Iowa, but McGloin had the better day overall again, and he threw an interception in the end zone.

Player of the Game

Silas Redd, Penn State
142 rushing yards (unofficially)

Silas Redd rushed for a new career high (until a late six-yard loss dropped his total) and was the lone offensive weapon that played consistently. His previous career high was 131 yards, against Northwestern in 2010. Redd did not score a touchdown but on a day in which the defenses were the story, Redd was able to keep the chains moving.

It helped having a solid contribution from Curtis Dukes as well, but Redd was the standout performer on offense.

Honorable Mention: LB Gerald Hodges (Penn State)

Hodges had the big play of the game, forcing a fumble on Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg in the fourth quarter. Penn State recovered the fumble and maintained control of the game.

What’s Next?

Penn State stays home next week to celebrate homecoming. They will host Purdue (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) in a division game at noon. The Boilermakers put together a big win in their Big Ten opener, blowing out Minnesota 45-17. The game will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.

Iowa will return home next week for a 6 p.m. kickoff against Northwestern (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten entering the weekend). The Wildcats play at home against Michigan in a primetime match-up on Big Ten Network. Next week’s game between Iowa and Northwestern will also be aired on Big Ten Network.

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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