Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard: The defensive line has been pretty dominant thus far this year, but hasn't necessarily put up great stats or lived up to admittedly ridiculously high expectations. Saturday night was a different story though. The defensive line was completely disruptive and completely shut down Penn State's offense for the majority of the game. Evan Royster was held to just 56 yards, 26 of which were gained on Penn State's final drive in which Iowa's defender were just standing around waiting for the clock to run out. Rob Bolden was pressured much of the night and was sacked twice.
Adrian Clayborn had his best showing of the season. He recorded a team high 10 tackles, 3 for loss, and a sack. He consistently was in Penn State's back field against left tackle Quinn Barham (who kept a picture of Clayborn on his phone for motivation). It was Ballard though who made arguably the biggest play of the game. Penn State had momentum going its way after scoring a field goal at the end of the first half and driving 70 yards down to the Iowa 1 yard-line. It was 4th-and-goal from the 1 and Penn State dialed up a QB-keeper on a roll-out to the right. Bolden looked like he was going to drive in to the endzone when Jerimiha Hunter got a hold of him. Bolden still would have been able to stretch over the goal-line had it not been for Ballard coming over and stuffing Bolden inches short. Ballard finished the game with 6 tackles and a sack.
James Morris: As a true freshman, Morris has mostly been playing on special teams and late in games that Iowa had a large lead. On Saturday he was thrust into the role of first string middle linebacker, one of the most important positions in Iowa's defense. After a injury took Troy Johnson out of the game, and a lingering injury from last week kept Jeff Tarpinian from playing more than a couple of snaps, Morris stepped in to the spotlight. And, he played really, really well. Morris looked great against the run tallying 7 tackles on the night. He also did a nice job in coverage and broke up a pass. Right now he's the only healthy middle linebacker on the roster, but luckily this is a bye week. I'd expect Tarpinian and Johnson to be back soon, so Morris may quickly go back to special team duty. But the future is very bright for him. He could very well be a 3-year starter at middle linebacker.
Ricky Stanzi: I think it's safe to say that Stanzi has wiped away his slow starts. He came out Saturday on fire. Besides an ill-advised shot way down the field into double coverage that was picked off on the second drive of the night, he was fantastic. He led 3 scoring drives in the first half and threw a touchdown pass to DJK that ended up being the winning score. Stanzi finished the game 16 of 22 for 227 yards with a TD and an INT. He also had positive rushing yards, despite being sacked once and scored his second rushing touchdown of his career on a 1-yard QB sneak.
Wow, Kinnick looked absolutely incredible. Walking up to the stadium, I got little glances into the stadium through the gates and I was absolutely floored with how good it looked. When I got inside it was even better...just amazing. It turned out better than anyone could have imagined. I know I doubted Iowa fans ability to pull something like this off, but it looked like almost everyone got the memo and took pride in wearing the right color. Well done everyone!
I was actually surprised at how close it looked to the mock up that I made. This picture from the Gazette was a thing of beauty.
Photo source: Brian Ray - SourceMedia Group News
My view on Saturday