October 3 Philadelphia Inquirer:
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Through the first month of Penn State’s season, coach Joe Paterno repeatedly said of his team, “We’ve got a long way to go.”
Now that they are in the second month of the season, and with Big Ten opponents such as Iowa coming at them with malice, the Nittany Lions showed Saturday night that they still have a long way to go – maybe even longer than Paterno thought.
With a nonexistent running game and a freshman quarterback running for his life against a relentless pass rush, the 22d-ranked Lions did almost nothing on offense and dropped their conference opener, 24-3, to the 17th-ranked Hawkeyes in front of a black-and-gold-streaked crowd at Kinnick Stadium.
Penn State (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) lost for the eighth time in its last nine meetings against Iowa (4-1, 1-0) and almost definitely will fall out of the top 25 for the first time this season.
The Nittany Lions blew their best two scoring chances, a combination of indecision on the sideline and the inexperience of freshman quarterback Rob Bolden.
They took a delay-of-game penalty before the final play of the first half at the Iowa 2 and had to settle for Collin Wagner’s 25-yard field goal, their only points of the game.
They then moved the ball steadily after taking the second-half kickoff, going from their 29 to the 1. But they had to burn a time-out when Bolden was slow to recognize that the play clock had run down, then saw the QB stopped inches short of the goal line on a fourth-down sweep.
A freshman mistake ended a drive early in the fourth quarter. With fourth and less than a yard, tight end Kevin Haplea, playing in place of injured starter Gary Gilliam, was called for a false start, and Penn State elected to punt.
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi passed for one touchdown and ran for another. But the Penn State defense held the Hawkeyes scoreless in the second half until Shaun Prater’s 33-yard interception return with 1 minute, 27 seconds to play.
The Nittany Lions had clock-management issues on back-to-back drives – the final one of the first half and the opening possession of the third quarter – and came up with just the field goal instead of two touchdowns.
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