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Penn State Falls 24-3 In Iowa

Well, that sucked. But no surprise, really. Most reasonable people expected a loss to Iowa before the season started. So this shouldn't be a huge shock.

What was a huge shock was how poorly Penn State played to start the game. It looked like Iowa was going to win 50-0 after they marched down the field effortlessly on two of their first three drives to take a 10-0 lead. Missed tackles and blown coverages were once again the story of the first quarter.

The offense wasn't doing the defense any favors going three-and-out on their first four drives. Iowa outgained Penn State 148 yards to 1 in the first quarter.

Iowa put together an eight play 68-yard TD drive midway through the second quarter to take a 17-0 lead to pretty much put the game out of reach. That was the point it seemed like Penn State finally started to relax and just execute the plays. Penn State finished out the first half with an eight play 74 yard drive that ended with a field goal, but Penn State might have had a shot at a touchdown with better clock management.

Penn State came out in the second half with an impressive 70 yard drive that consumed almost 8 minutes, but Rob Bolden was stuffed at the goal line on fourth down. Meanwhile the Penn State defense came to life holding the Hawkeyes to just 26 yards on two drives in the third quarter.

But at the end of the day the Iowa defense was just too much for the Penn State offense. Bolden had little time to throw, and the running backs had no room to run. For the most part Bolden played a good game until the late pick-six where he was trying to make something happen. His two losses this year have come against two of the best defenses in the country. There's no shame in that.

I still believe this Penn State team is going to be really good some day, but they have a long way to go to get there. I pointed it out in the comments earlier this week, but I'll do it here for the benefit of those who didn't see it. This is how Penn State breaks down by class.

5th Year Seniors 9
4th Year Seniors 2
Juniors 24
Sophomores 33
Redshirt Freshmen 24
True Freshmen 26

The bottom line is this is a very young team. I think Penn State played a half dozen true freshmen tonight. They need to get stronger, and they need to get smarter. I'm confident this coaching staff will get them there, but they're going to take their lumps in the process. (FYI, this is also why I'm not worried about the small recruiting class.)

As you can probably tell, I'm not jumping off the cliff tonight, but I'm also not optimistic about the rest of the season. I figured this game would be a loss, but frankly after events today I'm a bit worried about the games against Michigan, Northwestern, and Michigan State. Heck, even Illinois looked pretty good in giving the Buckeyes a scare today. This is going to be a tough season, and no games are a sure thing until this team finds its identity and starts playing consistently well.