Iowa stuns PSU
This is one bit of deja vu Penn State could have done without.
Not even a rain-soaked "Whitehouse" crowd of 109,316 at Beaver Stadium could prevent the Hawkeye Jinx from biting the Nittany Lions again.
For the second straight year, PSU took a lead into the fourth quarter against Iowa, only to see the Hawkeyes rally to stun the Lions, handing them their first loss of the season.
Last year, Daniel Murray's field goal with time running out gave the Hawkeyes a 24-23 victory at Iowa, the Lions' lone Big Ten and regular season loss, which might have cost PSU a trip to the Bowl Championship Series title game.
On Saturday night, the Lions were clinging to a 10-5 edge heading into the final stanza, only to watch the Hawkeyes score 16 points to pull out a stunning 21-10 win in both team's Big Ten opener.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz continued his mastery over Joe Paterno's Lions, winning for the seventh time in the last eight meeting against them.
PSU (3-1), which was ranked fifth in the Associated Press poll, became the fifth top five ranked team to suffer a setback so far this season and dropped to 15th with the loss.
The Hawkeyes fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter, as PSU quarterback Daryll Clark hit Chaz Powell on a play action 79 yard touchdown bomb on the first play from scrimmage.
The Lions also turned an interception by Nick Sukay into a 20 play, 10:17 scoring march, the longest in terms of plays and time since PSU joined the Big Ten in 1993, but ended up settling for a Collin Wagner field goal.
After gaining 147 yards in the first quarter, however, the Lions managed just 160 yards over the final three quarters.
The Hawkeyes beat PSU at its own game, winning the battle in the trenches and making the game-turning plays on special teams.
Adrian Clayborn blocked a Jeremy Boone punt, picked up the pigskin and rambled 53 yards for a TD with 12:21 remaining to give the Hawkeyes their first lead at 11-10.
Ferentz said it was the first blocked punt in five years, but the last time someone blocked a punt and turned it into a TD against PSU came in 2003, when it was done by (who else?) Iowa.
"The effort our guys played with, the determination, was really oustanding," said Ferentz in the post game press conference (www.gopsusports.com) after watching his team improve to 4-0. "The team proved to be a very resilient bunch tonight, because there was nothing easy about what happened out there."
The Iowa rally began in the second quarter when punter Ryan Donahue pinned PSU inside its own five. Broderick Binns hit Clark in the end zone, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Lions' guard Johnnie Troutman for a safety.
Murray added a field goal to cut the deficit to 10-5, and it appeared the Lions' defense might be able to maintain the lead, despite the absence of linebacker Sean Lee with a knee sprain.
Navorro Bowman returned from his groin injury and joined linebacker mate Josh Hull in making 13 tackles each. Bani Ghabdyu started for Lee and made seven stops, and Sukay added nine.
The fourth quarter belonged to Iowa. Despite having a "safe" punt return on, Clayborn stormed through Sukay to block Boone's punt and give the momentum to the Hawkeyes. Paterno said the Lions made a mistake on their blocking on the play.
Despite that, the Lions still had their chances, but Clark was intercepted twice, one by Pat Angerer that was turned into a 13 yard run by Iowa freshman Adam Robinson, and Evan Royster was stripped on the Iowa 19, with Iowa lineman Karl Klug recovering.
"Every time we had an opportunity to put some points on the board, something seemed to happen," said Clark, who completed just 12 of 32 passes for 198 and a career high 3 interceptions. "It just knocked all of the rhythm out of our offensive drives."
"Obviously, we'll see that turnovers were a big thing in the game," said Paterno. "The blocked punt started it, but I thought the kids hung in there and tried to come back. We just kept making mistakes."
Penn State will try to rebound from the loss with its first road trip of the season at Illinois Saturday at 3:30 p.m.