It Gets Better: Penn State 13, Iowa 3

Matt McGloin (11) scans the field during a third quarter drive in Penn State's win over Iowa, 13-3, Oct. 8, 2011. (BSD/Mike Pettigano) View more photos from the game.

Penn State 13, Iowa 3

5-1 Overall, 2-0 Big Ten, 1-0 Pig Division

Game Over, Man.  Game Over.  This quarterback contest is done.  Urban Meyer remarked toward the end of Penn State's first offensive drive that at Thursday practice, he did not see Bolden complete a single pass over five yards.  This makes sense, as Bolden did not throw a single decent pass on the entire first drive.  Please allow me The Reading Of The Box Score:

PSU     1-10    at Psu10    PENN STATE drive start at 09:52.
PSU     1-10    at Psu10    Bolden, Rob pass incomplete to Suhey, Joe.

Wildly overthrown as he was about to be hit.

PSU     1-10    at Psu27    Bolden, Rob pass complete to Suhey, Joe for 3 yards to the PSU30.

Screen, which again, too high to be cleanly handled by the running back.


PSU     3-4    at Psu33    Bolden, Rob pass complete to Suhey, Joe for 9 yards to the PSU42, 1ST DOWN PSU.

This should've been a pick-six for Iowa's LB Nielsen, and magically wasn't.

PSU     2-1    at Iowa49    Bolden, Rob pass complete to Szczerba, A. for 19 yards to the IOWA30, 1ST DOWN PSU.

Kick save by the umpire, as detailed here.


PSU     3-4    at Iowa17    Bolden, Rob pass incomplete to Brown, Justin.

A McNabb special, thrown behind and at the feet of the receiver. Also nearly intercepted by Micah Hyde.

PSU     4-4    at Iowa17    Lewis, Evan rush for 8 yards to the IOWA9, 1ST DOWN PSU.

PSU     2-G    at Iowa06    Bolden, Rob pass incomplete to Szczerba, A..

Corner route for Szczerba, thrown nowhere near him.

Bolden threw one more pass on the afternoon, a third quarter incompletion to Devon Smith.  Rob looks completely shattered at this point, and it's time for the coaches, players, and fans to embrace the crazy train that is McGloin Moxie Mania.  Which reminds me.

McGloin Moxie Mania.  I write this as a pre-season member of #TeamBolden, but we can't deny that Matt is the right quarterback for this offense, right?  Yes, McGloin's red zone interception was unconscionably bad.  It was a mental mistake (throwing to a covered receiver instead of the 10th row) compounded by a physical mistake (horribly underthrowing the pass).  Really, the only redeeming part of this play was ABC cutting to a young female student in a tanktop, mouthing the words "You gotta be f**king kidding me."  With you, sister.  With you.

Yes, McGloin throws a handful of passes each game that take months off your life.  Otherwise, he was pretty good on Saturday, especially on out patterns to Justin Brown and Derek Moye. Honestly, it's practically irrelevant what McGloin can or can't do at this point.  He's the best option, and even the most ardent Bolden supporters are crazy to deny it.  Urban Meyer and Chris Spielman were preaching it throughout the entire broadcast.  Also, Urban Meyer and Chris Spielman are not blind.  Bolden has been given every opportunity to seize the position, and has painfully regressed.  End this circus now, please.

LOLWUT?  Iowa has a 3rd and 12 on their opening drive, and Penn State rolls with this defensive alignment:

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A 3-3-5?  Eat it, Rich Rod!

A Stephfon Green Sighting!  Yes, it was only one screen pass (naturally) in the second quarter, but keep an eye on Green's workload in upcoming games.

Dukes: A Hazard.  How nice is it to see Curtis Dukes truckin' fools?  Listen to anyone around the program and they'll tell you that the switch has flipped for Dukes, and he now runs like the 230+ pound running back he is (rather than the guy who spent high school outrunning eleven McLovins at a time).  For an endorsement of Dukes' newfound confidence in his power, talk to Iowa DB Jordan Bernstine, who took on Dukes in the first quarter and landed about five yards further downfield.

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The Mysterious World Of DeOnt'ae Pannell.  If the first two plays of the game for Penn State's offense don't sum up Pannell and the offensive line in general, what does?  On the very first play, he's quickly discarded by Iowa's DT Mike Daniels, who then takes a free run and hit on Rob Bolden as he's releasing the ball.  On the second play, he beautifully seals off Daniels (with a little help from Chima Okoli) as Silas Redd runs for 18 yards.  However, it was clear that this unit became more effective as the game progressed, and put together their finest effort of the season -- and yes, that includes the cupcake games.  This became especially apparent halfway through the third quarter, when everything for Penn State's ground game appeared to be downhill.  Iowa's front seven couldn't get off blocks, and the unblocked defenders that plagued PSU throughout the first five games were no longer unblocked. So very encouraging.  Now let's finish some drives in the red zone, boys.

A Cacophony Of HAM.  Just a never-ending series of blitzing linebackers, especially in the second half.  Iowa never adjusted.  It helped that Iowa's receivers were dropping hot-read passes practically all day long, but the point remains.  Iowa prepared for the same Penn State defense they'd always seen, and got something completely different:

"We went into this trying to do some things different than we had done in the past against [Iowa]," said Tom Bradley. "A little different on down-and-distance and personnel groupings. They had two weeks to prepare for us [with a de facto bye against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 24, then an actual one last Saturday]. We didn't want them to get a great bead on us."

The exact reasons were left encrypted but the coordinator said the defensive staff saw some things on tape that indicated specific "choice blitzes" were a good idea:

"We've never 'gone' that much in a long time."

Choice blitzes are called when an anticipated offensive set tells a tendency. Whatever that tip-off was, Penn State saw it a lot and the end of the equation was very often Hodges careening in from Vandenberg's blind side, juking a lunging tackle, tight end or running back and pouring into the quarterback's face.

Hodges' big play was a 3rd and 7 early in the fourth quarter.  Nate Stupar was already showing blitz, dancing on the line of scrimmage between Eric Latimore and Devon Still.  At the snap, Stupar dropped back and Hodges charged forward between Iowa's LG (who blocked down on Jordan Hill) and LT (preoccupied with Sean Stanley).  Hodges flashed around Marcus Coker, knocked the ball out of Vandenberg's hand, and Still recovered the fumble.

The result of all this?  Worst loss for Iowa since a 28-19 headscratcher against Western Michigan in 2007.

"THANK YOU GOD!"  Just noticed a female student in a PSU hardhat screaming this after McGloin's touchdown pass to Kevin Haplea.  Your 2011 Penn State offense, ladies and gentlemen!  The touchdown, of course, was the only passing play on the entire drive.  Iowa's defense was ground to bits at this point in the game, making this seem like the absolute opposite of practically every Penn State - Iowa game we've witnessed lately.  Second half turnovers?  Worn out defense?  Yes, please!

Nexting.  A game against something called Purdue, which beat Minnesota 45-17 on Saturday.

Finally.  One of these guys wore a crisp shirt with a blue and white tie that was TOTALLY NOT FORESHADOWING YOU GUYS SHUT UP.  The other wore something which prompted my wife to say, "it looks like autumn threw up":

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