October 21, 2012 at 9:45 AM
Penn State had just one drive longer than five minutes, but held the ball for a total of over 38 minutes against Iowa. It was a display of the NASCAR offense in its ideal state.
The Nittany Lions utilized their up-tempo offensive scheme as they dominated the Hawkeyes in the time of possession category in the 38-14 win.
In the first quarter, Penn State set the tone on both sides of the ball. The Hawkeyes had four drives, none of which were longer than two minutes, with three three-and-outs. Meanwhile, the Lions also had four short drives in the quarter, but found the end zone at the end of two of them.
Center Matt Stankiewitch said the offensive and defensive units used each other's success to build confidence.
"We complement each other, offense and defense,” Stankiewitch said. “So the thing is if we have the ball longer, the other team can't score.”
The trend of speedy, productive drives continued throughout for Penn State. The Lions had two separate scoring drives of exactly 27 seconds each in the second and third quarters. And defensively, the Lions were able to quickly get off the field. The Hawkeyes did not have a single drive that lasted longer than four minutes.
Defensive end Pete Massaro said the defense gained momentum from the team’s offensive success.
“We were feeding off them and everybody was staying on each other, keeping everybody positive and it was just a great team win," Massaro said.
The defense held Iowa to drives of three plays or less six times. In the second half, the Lions sealed the victory by holding the Hawkeyes’ offense to a total of less than 10 minutes of possession in the second half.
Stankiewitch said winning the time of possession battle allowed Penn State’s defense to rest, while Iowa’s defenders were not so lucky.
“So if they get a three-and-out, we get back on the field and their defense isn't getting a rest so it all complements each other,” Stankiewitch said. “We really did a good job with each other offense and defense today."