Matchup - 9-0 Penn State @ 5-4 Iowa
Date - November 9, 2008
Game Score and Time - PSU 23, Iowa 21, 0:42 mark of the 4rd quarter
Capsule - Ricky Stanzi was having a Tom Bradyesque 2nd half, with 127 yards passing and two touchdown drives against the Big 10's best defense, but the Nittany Lions held a slim lead in the closing minute. Thanks to the now infamous pass interference penalty on 3rd and 15 and some clutch throws by Stanzi, the Hawkeyes were only a field goal away from pulling a huge upset.
Down - 3rd and 6, ball rests at the Penn State 25.
Play Call - Iowa's play calling, always conservative under Ferentz, lends itself to these situations, one would think, but the options here are numerous. Dive middle for no gain to set up a 41 yard field goal by Daniel Murray on a windy day...Run off tackle with Greene (like they did all year so successfully) for a possible first down or to avoid any chance for turnovers...Roll out Stanzi to give him the throwaway option or a safe, short pass...But I mean, God Almighty, don't throw the ball down the field or take a sack while sitting on the Upset of the Year, you can't take risks...Plus the Penn State defense has spent the entire drive in the Iowa backfield hurrying Stanzi. Some helpful stats to consider:
Stanzi's stats so far: 14-24, 165 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 Sacks
Greene's stats: 28 carries, 117 yards
Iowa's 3rd down conversion at home % in 2008? 7th in the conference.
Penn State's road passing defense in 2008? 1st in the conference.
Murray's stats up to this point in 2008? 1 for 3, with a long of 44 against Maine. No attempts since a miss v Pitt.
Discussion of what actually happened in the Comment section...Like you don't know...