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Hawk Talk

It’s probably not a good sign when Penn State is favored by three or four points all week and yet everyone, including Kirk Herbstreit, one of the top football commentators on ESPN, is picking Iowa.
Another bad omen was how many times the ball bounced Penn State’s way, especially in the first half.
There were at least five times that the Nittany Lions got a friendly bounce.
I’ve been watching football for over 45 years and I don’t ever remember a quarterback throwing a pass, the ball hitting an official in the leg and the receiver catching it. That happened in the second quarter and Penn State picked up a first down on the way to a field goal.
The bottom line– Joe Paterno came into the game with a solid defense– and made believers out of the Hawkeyes.
So I’ll have to go with a good, bad and ugly.

The Good
This is going to be kind of thin, but Marcus Cooker averaged 4.1 yards per carry against a tough, hard-nosed defense. Though he only totaled 74 yards with 16 carries.
On defense, Micah Hyde saved a touchdown with an interception, his third of the season.
The special teams were decent, with Eric Guthrie having four punts for a 39.5 average with two inside the 20.
The kickoff coverage was the best so far  this season with Penn State averaging only 12.5 yards on two returns.
Brad Rogers played for the first time this year. He showed he can be an effective runner last year and can catch the ball out of the backfield.
James Morris and Christian Kirksey led the defense with 12 and 10 tackles respectively.

The Bad
James Vandenberg had to battle all day against the Lion blitz and finished 17-34 for 169 yards and two picks.
The Hawkeyes dropped some passes that they usually catch and James was sacked five times.
Silas Redd and Curtis Dukes ran over and through the Iowa defense combining for 202 yards. Silas averaged 5.1 yards per carry, Curtis 6.7.
Penn State had the ball almost 11 minutes more than the Hawks. They only scored 13 points but Iowa was worn down at the end.

The Ugly Penn State mostly ran between the tackles and racked up 231 yards rushing averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
James Vandenberg, while dropping back to pass, got crushed on his blind side and fumbled the ball away to the Lions.
Iowa’s offense, averaging over 37 points coming into the game, was held to 253 total yards and three points.
There is not much else to say. The Hawkeyes knew before the season they would be a work in progress.
The Lions showed better execution than the Hawks and controlled the line of scrimmage.
Hopefully Penn State will be one of the better defenses Iowa plays.
The Hawkeyes left some plays on the field and when they convert those, they will get better.
Iowa needs to play well in all three areas to win. Against the Lions, the special teams were the only area that won.
Northwestern comes to town this Saturday.
Iowa had beaten Penn State eight out of nine times.
The Wildcats have beaten the Hawks five out of the last six times.
Home crowd, night game… if Iowa ever needs to be ready it’s this week, Saturday night at 6 p.m.
The Hawkeyes have four of the next five games at Kinnick Satdium… will the magic be there?