Iowa upset crystallizes defense's vital role in rugged Big Ten race
There are few certainties left in this young college football season -- four more top-10 teams fell this weekend, making it nine on the season -- but there is one thing you can take to the bank: Iowa's defense.
The Hawkeyes brought a top-15 scoring defense to Happy Valley on Saturday night and proceeded to hold No. 5 Penn State to its lowest scoring total in more than two years in a 21-10 upset
You read that right. Iowa (4-0) held Penn State (3-1) out of the end zone for 58 minutes Saturday night. The Hawkeyes pressured All-Big Ten quarterback
With the score stalled at 10-5 Penn State heading into the fourth quarter, Iowa turned the momentum with
It was a thoroughly dominating defensive performance by a largely overlooked team that has won eight straight games dating back to last season (including two over Penn State). The Hawkeyes also exposed what many suspected about the previously untested Nittany Lions:
Iowa's defensive masterpiece comes a week after similarly stifling Arizona in a 27-17 win in Iowa City. (Note the Wildcats rebounded Saturday with a 37-32 win at Oregon State.)
The Hawkeyes are too limited offensively to be taken seriously as a national-title contender, but they did serve notice Saturday the Big Ten race is going to involve at least three teams -- and that it's going to be decided with defense.
No. 13 Ohio State, which has pitched consecutive shutouts against Toledo and Illinois, faces Iowa and Penn State on consecutive weekends in November. And all three will get a chance to put their staunch defenses up against No. 23 Michigan's suddenly explosive offense.
Expect plenty more field goals and safeties en route to Pasadena.