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Coker of Penn State loss: ‘Nowhere to go but up’

[ 10 ] October 8, 2011 |

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Maybe Glenn Carson was right.

On this occasion, anyway, Penn State looked like the football school Carson proclaimed it to be during Saturday’s 13-3 victory against the wrestling school . . .err. . .Iowa . . . before 103,497 fans at Beaver Stadium.

Two points for a takedown. One point for an escape.

Carson was onto something, contrary to how people may have reacted after he commented on a teleconference with reporters Tuesday.

Penn State defenders Glenn Carson, left, and Jordan Hill, center rear, tackle Iowa running back Narcus Coker (34) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar)

“We could have lined up in the wing-T or a full house – they’re a tough defensive ball club,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

Iowa’s lack of offense was one for the record books:

*The last time the Hawkeyes didn’t score a touchdown was in a 31-6 loss against Purdue in 2007.
*Iowa scored its fewest points since losing 23-3 against Iowa State in 2005.
*It was the Hawkeyes’ biggest loss since losing against Western Michigan 28-19 in 2007.
*It was the first double-digit setback since the 25-point “07 loss against Purdue.

“Nowhere to go but up,” said tailback Marcus Coker, who rushed for 74 yards on 18 carries. “They pretty much beat us on both sides of the ball.”

Iowa heads into Saturday’s 6 p.m. home game against Northwestern with a 3-2 record after losing its Big Ten Conference opener. Penn State, which had lost three-in-a-row against the Hawkeyes, increased its records to 5-2 and 2-0.

“We should have been able to go out there and execute – but we didn’t,” Coker said.

Penn State ran through Iowa tackles to the tune of 231 rushing yards, a season-high against the Hawkeyes. They played good enough defense to hold Iowa to 253 yards – its lowest production of the season.

Penn State scored on a 20-yard field goal by Anthony Fera — after the Nittany Lions successfully pulled off a fourth-down field goal fake.
Iowa tied the game on Mike Meyer’s 23-yarder, and then Penn State went to the locker room with a 6-3 lead at halftime after another Fera’s 20-yard field goal.

And then. . .

“The second half . . .Penn State played better than we played,” Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater said.

Iowa appeared to have a rare spark on the football-perfect afternoon when a Micah Hyde end zone interception gave the Hawkeyes the ball with 1:42 left in the third quarter.

James Vandenberg, who completed 17 of 34 passes for 169 yards, drove the team to near midfield, then succumbed to a blitz.

His arm was hit as he cocked to throw, the ball popped loose, and linebacker Nate Stupar recovered.

“A guy came off the edge,” Vandenberg said. “They did a good job giving us different looks.”

Eleven plays and 49 yards later, Matt McGloin and Kevin Haplea hooked up on a 2-yard scoring play.

“My fault,” Prater said. “I didn’t do my job.”

It was typical of a game that included dropped passes by receivers, muffed interception opportunities by linebackers, five Vandenberg sackings and Penn State’s Silas Redd thrashing Iowa’s front seven with 142 yards on 28 carries.

It was a day Iowa continued to use the no-huddle – exclusively on the first two drives, and then sporadically. It also was a day at least three deflected passes were caught – all by Penn State. One of the passes actually bounced off the leg of an official – and into Nittany Lion hands.

“It was a disappointing loss,” Meyer said, “but there’s still seven games left in the season. There’s a lot to look forward to.”

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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