So much for the house of horrors.
Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium has not treated Penn State well over the years. The Nittany Lions hadn’t won there since 1999 but you wouldn’t have been able tell that from the way they owned the place Saturday night.
Penn State dismantled Iowa in every phase of the game through three quarters. Iowa tacked on two touchdowns to make the score closer than the game really was – if that’s even possible in a 38-14 shellacking.
What’s abundantly clear is that this Penn State football team continues to improve every time it takes the field.
Ohio and Virginia seem like a lifetime ago as the Nittany Lions look like a completely different and far more gifted team than it did in early September. In addition, Iowa had the misfortune of facing Penn State after its week off. The Lions looked fresh and as energized as they have all season.
Offensively, Penn State performed like a machine. Ever improving quarterback Matt McGloin had receivers running open all over the field. Finally healthy running back Bill Belton ran for over 100 yards and showed why the coaching staff has had high hopes for him since they stepped on campus.
Defensively, Penn State was as good as it has been all season. The unit dominated the Hawkeyes all night.
Heck, even Sam Ficken made a field goal and kicked most of his kickoffs in the end zone.
It was a dominating performance. It was a performance that we haven’t seen in quite awhile.
That doesn’t mean that past Penn State teams haven’t completely dominated opponents. Clearly, they have.
But most, if not all, came when the Nittany Lions had the clear talent advantage. They blew out inferior teams. The juggernaut teams over the years had plenty of dominating performances – but again they were clearly the better team.
Penn State was an underdog Saturday night at Iowa. Iowa had beaten Penn State eight of the last 10 times. Even the most optimistic of PSU supporters didn’t expect the beat down we saw at Kinnick.
What does it all mean?
Well, that’s five wins in a row for the Lions and big, bad, undefeated Ohio State comes to Beaver Stadium Saturday.
The official Big 10 championship game is Dec. 1 in Indianapolis but we might find out who the best team in the Big 10 is Saturday night. Neither of these two teams can play in Indy but both have a lot to play for this week.
Bill O’Brien has been selling players and fans alike that bowl games aren’t bigger than games in Beaver Stadium in front of 108,000 people.
This is the week he’s been talking about. There will be no better or bigger game atmosphere than the whiteout under the lights.
If this team takes another step forward – as it has all season – then it has a great chance to stake its claim as the Big 10’s best team – even if it can’t claim the official championship.