Penn State Football: Winners & Losers from the Week 8 Game vs. Iowa
Did anyone honestly see the Penn State Nittany Lions trouncing the Iowa Hawkeyes in this fashion?
Penn State fans, be honest with yourselves here, even blind optimism can't predict an outcome like this.
So when it comes time to congratulate those who had big performances and those who dropped the ball after a game like this, it's pretty easy to tell just how things are going to shape up. I could spend ten slides on Penn State guys who showed up and another ten on Iowa players who have seen far better days.
Frankly, that makes things kind of boring or rather long.
But Penn State fans, feel free to bask in the glow of it anyway (apologies to any Iowa fans who stumble upon this, there's still time not to click to the next slide).
Here are the winners and losers from the Penn State-Iowa showdown.
Penn State Winners
Rather than spend a slide on each winner (which there would be quite a few of) it's easier just to group everyone and hand out game balls all at once.
QB Matt McGloin
It's almost not even fair to keep throwing him in on these winners-and-losers stories. Every game, McGloin seems to come out as one of the stars.
This time he tossed for 289 and two scores, stayed error free and tacked on another 26 yards on the ground. He hit nine different receivers, including six who had more than one catch.
RB Bill Belton
If that wasn't a statement game, I don't know what is.
If this game would have been closer, Belton likely would have approached 200 yards on the ground, but instead took 16 carries for 103 yards and three scores.
The only place he didn't contribute was in the passing game. Bummer.
TE Kyle Carter
Carter tied a career high with six receptions and set a career high in receiving yards with 85.
He didn't record a score, but he had a big 34-yard grab. You don't see wide out Allen Robinson get outgained in this offense much, but Carter found his openings and McGloin took advantage.
Big game for the young guy.
LB Michael Mauti
Mauti is the McGloin of this defense. He always seems to come out a winner in these things.
The senior tacked on another seven tackles (low by his standards this season) and contributed a sack as well. But he also snagged his third interception in three games, returning it 20 yards in the process.
He's the heart and soul of this defense and continues to play like it.
K Sam Ficken
Alright, maybe it's picking on him a little, but congratulations to Ficken for making one of his two attempts, a 34-yarder.
Granted, 1-of-2 two isn't good by any stretch, but maybe this guy just needs some praise after the season he's had. He also converted all five extra points and drilled many of his kickoffs into the end zone.
Coach Bill O'Brien
After having his coaching questioned following two tough losses to start the season (seems like an eternity ago), O'Brien has his team running like a machine.
His offense is clicking, his defense is making plays, and neither side is making critical errors.
WR Jordan Cotton
To any Hawkeye fans reading this, sorry but this won't be nearly as long.
Without Cotton's 92-yard kickoff return for a score, who knows if Iowa ever puts points on the board, given how much its offense was struggling. His touchdown didn't come until 14 minutes left in the game, and Iowa didn't tack on their second score until 10 minutes later.
Cotton also grabbed one pass for 13 yards, one of just six Hawkeyes to record a reception.
WR Keenan Davis
Davis was the only player on offense who seemed to give the Nittany Lions any sort of trouble.
The senior grabbed just four receptions but averaged 20.8 yards per catch, with a long of 31 yards.
He also snagged the only score for the Hawkeyes, an 18-yarder from senior James Vanderberg, with just over four minutes remaining in the game.
Penn State Losers
RB Zach Zwinak
In the spirit of trying to be objective, the one Lion who didn't come out in better shape than when he went in would probably be Zwinak.
After back-to-back 100-yard games and three scores, the sophomore averaged just 3.3 yards on 16 carries, with a long of seven yards. He also fumbled.
That combined with Belton's big game may not bode well for Zwinak. He'll still get his share of carries in the future, but this definitely hurt his stock.
RB Mark Weisman
After four straight 100-yard performances (including 217 yards and three scores against Central Michigan) Weisman didn't even reach the 10-yard mark against the Nittany Lions.
The sophomore had five carries for nine yards on a sprained ankle that had him questionable heading into the game.
He probably would have been better off taking a day off.
QB James Vandenberg
Vanderberg isn't going to light up the stat sheet every week, but he's generally not going to have the kind of performance he did Saturday.
The senior completed just 47.2 percent of his passes for 189 yards and a score. But he tossed two crucial interceptions, nearly doubling his season total to five. Iowa needed him to have a steady game—not necessarily a great one—to beat the Penn State defense, but he simply didn't come through.
Granted, some of that can be attributed to the lack of a running game and his defense putting him in a huge hole early, but senior quarterbacks aren't supposed to throw two picks like that.
Let's face it, the entire squad let Iowa down, allowing 504 total yards and surrendering 38 unanswered points.
The Hawkeyes defense got torched everywhere, giving up 289 yards through the air and an additional 215 on the ground. Penn State was eight for 17 on third downs, not great but enough to control the clock for 38 minutes.
Iowa's defense has given Penn State fits in recent years but not this time around.