October 21, 2012 at 10:01 AM
IOWA CITY, Iowa--Penn State held Iowa to a mere 209 yards and seven points of offense in the Nittany Lions' 38-14 win on Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium, but the team did a particularly good job in shutting down the Hawkeyes running game. Iowa managed just 20 rushing yards the entire evening, making the Hawkeyes' offense one-dimensional much of the night.
"Our No. 1 focus coming into the game was to stop the run," defensive end Pete Massaro said after the game. "We wanted to get vertical penetration and force their running backs to make cuts. I think we did that early and I think we had a great game as far as run defense goes."
Entering the game, the status of Iowa's leading rusher, Mark Weisman, was unclear after he suffered an injury in the Hawkeyes' 19-16 double-overtime win at Michigan State last weekend. The sophomore suited up and got the call on a few carries, but Penn State bottled him up well when he was in the game, holding him to nine yards on five carries.
Greg Garmon got the bulk of the handoffs for Iowa, but he fared little better, managing just 27 yards on eight carries, good for an anemic 3.4 yards per carry.
"It just came down to guys fitting their gaps and really just playing physical, getting off blocks," linebacker Michael Mauti, who finished the night with eight tackles and a sack, said. "Credit our d-line. Jordan Hill really was playing well. He's a monster."
Hill, a senior defensive tackle, plugged running lanes and led the team with nine tackles in the game. He added a sack on Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg, who found himself taking on a bigger role with the running game sputtering. He didn't have much success, finishing the night completing just 17-for-36 passes for 189 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, and Hill was quick to give his coaching staff credit for putting players in good positions all night.
"It says a lot about [defensive coordinator Ted] Roof and it speaks volumes about how hard our defense plays," Hill said.