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The Takeaway: Penn State

First of all, I covered this game from the press box at Kinnick Stadium for CBS Sports. And while that might sound like crass self-promotion, I mention it for a specific reason: the credential conditions. On the back of every pass is a "NOTICE TO ALL!", and here are the relevant portions, gently consolidated and emphasized by us:

"This working credential is issued for the sole purpose of providing facility access to an accredited agency's employee who has a legitimate working function (media or game service) in conjunction with this game or games. [...] Any secondary use of any picture, photograph, audio description, video, film/tape, drawing or other description of a game taken or made by the accredited organization or individual to whom this credential has been issued (including, but not limited to use in delayed editorial or non-editorial advertising, sales promotion or merchandising) is prohibited without prior specific written approval of the University of Iowa or the Big Ten Conference.

Now, BHGP Commenters, LLP are invited to debate the specifics of this argument and how they pertain to yours truly, but from here, the language seems like a clear warning against using my access to provide BHGP with content above and beyond what would normally be available through the usual broadcast of the game. So quotes are at the above link, Ross did an admirable job of covering the immediate reaction to the game here, and the following is a general overview of the game in the larger context. Please do not kill me, Iowa athletic department.

Fear the defense. There is a certain joy in seeing the Iowa defensive line dominate the game against the backdrop of a world-class fanbase on a nationally televised night game. It was the type of experience that every football fan should have the privilege of enjoying at least once in their lives. It was at once elegant, indulgent, raw, and borderline illegal, like watching two otters fucking in a pool of champagne.

Among the five designated "starters," there wasn't a single Iowa defensive lineman who didn't look positively unblockable at times against Penn State's offensive line, and certainly none of them were outplayed by the man in front of them. Adrian Clayborn's 10 tackles and 3 TFLs made him the star of the show, but they were all harassing Rob Bolden into difficult, hurried passes. Bolden will be good for PSU very soon, and Penn State fans should not lose any confidence in the freshman yet, but he was simply not in a position to succeed on Saturday.

So even with Iowa's offense accomplishing little in the second half--Iowa crossed the 50 all of once after halftime, and it ended in a purely field position-motivated punt from the PSU 38--the Hawkeyes weren't seriously challenged after Christan Ballard made that goal-line stand. And as for that play, to paraphrase Larry Munson, "My god, a 300-pounder." We love Adrian Clayborn unconditionally, of course, and Clayborn ought to have a more productive 2010, but do not be surprised if Ballard is the higher pick in the 2011 draft; he's a potential game-changer as a 3-4 end.

8 of 9. Much has been made about the dominance Kirk Ferentz has exerted over Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions, but it's worth re-examining in the wake of this, Iowa's biggest victory in the Iowa-PSU series ever (and the most in post-WWII era by nine points). For once, the Hawkeyes were the favored team in this matchup, and they played like it.

More, even going back to Ferentz's first year at Iowa, it's been evident that he and Paterno basically run the same type of program: play to your strengths, win between the hashes, use the athleticism you've got, don't neglect the special teams. Paterno's a pretty safe bet to stay above Ferentz in just about every possible career category, of course, so we'd never suggest that Ferentz is a better coach overall.

But results speak for themselves, and here they scream that JoePa is being beaten at his own game by Ferentz. PSU's linemen are usually nasty. Iowa's linemen are usually nastier. Penn State usually establishes a ground game. Iowa usually establishes it better. Penn State usually has a talented quarterback. Iowa usually fields the more effective quarterback. And Iowa usually wins.

With that, this is the bye week, and Michigan looms. The Wolverines have never faced a defense like that of the Spartans, which isn't really saying much when you see Denard Robinson shred a well-distributed 11-man squad of Weebles every week. We're not going so far as to suggest the Michigan game will define Iowa's season, because that would be totally unfair to all parties involved, but it should mean a lot when the two 9-ish win teams are jockeying for bowl position.

But we digress. This really is a fantastic win, and one for which Iowa fans should be happy until whenever it is they see Denard Robinson in highlights or game prep. This season's just getting started folks; and this matchup might end up being the best in the conference. 

As for tonight, justs figure shit out.