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Hawkeyes appear to ‘own’ PSU

With 7-2 record against Lions under Kirk Ferentz, fans chant may very well be right.

A familiar chorus rang out from the gathering of gold ponchos and raincoats in the corner of Beaver Stadium late Saturday night.

With the home crowd stunned and silent as the seconds ticked away, the Iowa faithful who made the trip to Soggy Valley were free to twist the Nittany Lions’ signature chant to their own liking.

“We own!”

“Penn State!”

That one used to be saved exclusively for Michigan fans, who had watched the Wolverines win nine straight over the Lions before last year.

But Iowa, now 7-2 against Penn State since Kirk Ferentz took over the team in 1999, can lay claim to it.

Despite typically having less talent and coming into the games as underdogs, the Hawkeyes find every way possible to beat the Lions.

In 2000, it was double overtime. In 2002, they blew a three-score lead in the fourth quarter but won in overtime. The infamous 6-4 game -- one of the strangest in recent memory at Beaver Stadium -- came in 2004.

And now for two years in a row, Iowa has rallied in the fourth quarter for a win over a Penn State team ranked in the top five.

Last year, it was a 24-23 win that came on a field goal with one second left.

This season it was a blocked punt for a touchdown that went back for a touchdown, sparking the Hawkeyes to a 21-10 victory.

And it came when Iowa was in a punt safe formation, not even looking to get to the punter.

But defensive end Adrian Clayborn ran right through Nick Sukay and was on punter Jeremy Boone before the kick could even get airborne.

“I didn’t even see him,” Boone said. “He was just there, and he took it right off my foot.”

“It was a mistake on the blocking,” coach Joe Paterno said.

Going back to his days at Mechanicsburg High School, Boone said he couldn’t ever remember having a punt blocked before. Much less have it bounce right to the other team for an easy touchdown.

But the way this series has gone, Penn State more or less was bracing itself for that big play to come from the Hawkeyes.

“Their coaching staff and coach Ferentz, they’ve been around for awhile. They know what they’re doing. And that’s exactly what they did,” Penn State’s Daryll Clark said. “I had a feeling that they sensed that something was bound to happen to spring their momentum, and unfortunately it had to happen to us.”

Clark called it a snowball effect, as the Lions proceeded to turn the ball over three times after that punt block, with two tipped passes turning into interceptions and Evan Royster fumbling the ball away in Iowa territory.

Just as problematic was the offensive line. With personnel continuing to switch around -- Nerraw McCormack took over at right tackle for DeOn’tae Pannell in the second quarter -- the Lions rushed for just 103 yards.

Clark was only sacked twice, but he faced considerable pressure all night long and was often jittery in the pocket because of it.

“I just told (the O-line) that we win as a team and we lose as a team. There were a couple mistakes here and there from everybody. What we do after this is what will determine what type of football team we are. We still have a lot of football left.”

“I think it’s wrong to start blaming anybody,” Paterno said. “I think at times the pass protection got a little shaky. A couple of times that got (Clark) out of rhythm and early in the game we were doing a little better job with the pass protection and he had a better chance.

“That was a team loss, no one person or play lost it. We got licked.”

Too much hype at night?

Since upsetting Ohio State at night in a 2005 game at Beaver Stadium, much has been made about Penn State’s home-field advantage under the lights.

But since that game, the Lions are now just 1-3 in night games at home, and are only 7-7 all-time.

The loss dropped Penn State nine spots to No. 13 in the coaches’ poll and 10 spots in the AP poll to No. 15.

UP Next

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3:30 p.m., ABC-TV

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