<
>
Insider

3 Up, 3 Down: Penn State 38, Iowa 14

10/21/2012
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth

The good and the bad from Penn State's 38-14 win over Iowa on Saturday night:

THREE UP

1. Aggressive pass attack: PSU finally decided to get a little more aggressive. Bill O'Brien pulled out the early NASCAR no-huddle offense, and Matt McGloin tossed a few deep balls. Iowa simply had no answer for the passing game. McGloin finished 26-of-38 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and -- in what's becoming the norm -- no interceptions. He spread the field, found 10 different receivers and Iowa was unable to key in on just one or two targets. If this becomes the norm for PSU's offense, it could soon become the favorite to win the division.

2. Bill Belton finally back: He lacked explosiveness against Northwestern, but the bye week clearly did Belton some good. He rushed for his first career 100-yard game, and he ran for three touchdowns on just 16 carries. The sophomore looks fully recovered from his ankle sprain and should be the home-run threat Penn State desperately needs going forward. On one of his first runs, he sprinted for a 23-yard gain -- Penn State's second longest run so far this season.

3. Strong rush defense: Iowa walked off the field with more carries than yards. That's right, PSU held Iowa to just 20 yards on 23 carries. Penn State's defensive line plowed through Iowa's big offensive line, and the linebackers filled in the gaps. The Hawkeyes tried five different runners, but no one could find success. Take away Greg Garmon's 12-yard run and the Hawkeyes managed just eight yards on 22 carries. This was the most dominant performance yet by the defensive line.

THREE DOWN

1. Lack of separation, catches by Allen Robinson: Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde clearly got the best of Penn State's leading wideout, and double-coverage wasn't needed to shut down the sophomore. Robinson didn't help himself by dropping four difficult -- albeit catchable -- balls in the game. It seemed like an uncharacteristic performance from A-Rob, and he'll have to play better than that for PSU to knock off Ohio State.

2. Struggling special teams: Where to even start? No special-teams unit played particularly well Saturday night. In what's become the chorus to Penn State' season, Sam Ficken missed a field goal (1-of-2) and Alex Butterworth punted lousy (29.3-yard average). Iowa's Jordan Cotton ran 92 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff return, as PSU showed it boasts one of the best teams in the Big Ten -- and the worst special teams.

3. Issues with the cornerbacks: Adrian Amos was beaten twice and never even swiveled his head to look at the ball. One pass was dropped, the other was Iowa's biggest gain of the night -- a 31-yard completion to Keenan Davis. Da'Quan Davis missed a tackle and allowed a touchdown, while Stephon Morris -- well, we can't really fault Morris for a phantom pass interference. As a group, though, this unit didn't play nearly as well as James Vandenberg's 17-of-36 night indicated. The cornerbacks have some fundamental flaws they need to resolve before Ohio State.