IOWA CITY, Iowa. -- No more than two minutes -- not game minutes, but actual minutes -- after Iowa’s second half kickoff, Penn State scored its fourth touchdown of the game for a 31-point lead.
The Nittany Lions went on to rout the Hawkeyes, 38-14, on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Close to Penn State’s sideline, Iowa fans watched in silence. Before the game, Kinnick Stadium rumbled with an intensity that could have in part been fueled by the Nittany Lions’ 0-4 record against the Hawkeyes at Kinnick over the last decade.
Following the Lions’ quick strike in the second half, Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg led the Hawkeyes onto the field in an attempt to get on the board. On the second play, Mauti intercepted him and the building was further deflated.
With the volume turned down, Penn State’s offense put up a season-high 504 total yards. Quarterback Matt McGloin displayed poise at the line of scrimmage, showcasing his ability to change plays in what was, at least initially, a hostile environment. The redshirt senior completed 26 of his 38 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns.
"It's neat to see how each and every week, we get more and more comfortable," McGloin said about the offense. "We can continue to jell and come together as an offense. It's to the point where everybody knows exactly what they're doing on each and every play. There are limited mistakes throughout the course of the game.
McGloin even made potential mistakes look like flashes of genius Saturday. More than once, he appeared to have missed a receiver before landing the ball in the arms of another for a nice gain.
His favorite target was tight end Kyle Carter, who had six receptions for 85 yards.
McGloin had plenty of time to let plays develop as Penn State’s offensive line controlled the trenches. Right tackle Mike Farrell held Iowa defensive end Joe Gaglione without a tackle for loss or sack. He was fourth and sixth in the Big Ten in each category, respectively, before the game’s conclusion.
Bill Belton, whom assistant coach Charles London said fully recovered from an ankle injury during the bye week, burst back onto the scene after a couple of lackluster games. Belton rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Zach Zwinak also had some carries, but he was not Penn State’s primary running back as he was in the Lions’ last three games.
Belton said that sharing the carries with other backs doesn't bother him.
"We just got to prepare each week to be ready to go basically," Belton said. "We all do different things. Zach is a power runner. Zordich is a power runner. We got different backs. All of us can easily go over 100 yards or have big games like this on any day.
Ultimately, Penn State’s offense just couldn’t get off the field. They possessed the ball for 38:08 as Iowa coughed up the ball with three turnovers, four 3-and-outs and two missed field goals. In the fourth quarter, Iowa even returned a kickoff for a 92-yard touchdown to boot the ball right back to Penn State.
For what time the Penn State’s defense was on the field, defensive tackle Jordan Hill led the charge with eight tackles — two for a loss — and one sack. The Lions held the Hawkeyes to just 198 total yards.
"Football is a sport you have to be ready to show up ready to play every single day, every single week," coach Bill O'Brien said. "If you don't, you're going to be in trouble, so hopefully they continue to do that."
Penn State (5-2, 3-0 Big Ten) will play No. 7 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.