Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lions Overcome Penalty Increase

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lions Overcome Penalty Increase

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK - James Franklin was a happy man Saturday night, and understandably so.

He had just watched Penn State perform a 41-14 vivisection on Iowa at Beaver Stadium, a victory that presumably made an impression on the College Football Playoff selection committee members, as well as the recruiting targets and commits who witnessed it.

It certainly left one on Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz.

"They played a tremendous football game, right from the start," Ferentz said. "And we weren't capable of responding."

In the process of running their winning streak to five games, the Nittany Lions put up a few noteworthy numbers. To wit:

* Saquon Barkley ran for 167 yards, pushing him over 1,000 for the second year in a row. He finished with 211 all-purpose yards, making him the first Penn State back since Larry Johnson in 2002 to surpass 200 in back-to-back games.

* Iowa managed just 30 yards on the ground, which means Penn State has held Big 10 opponents to fewer than 50 rushing yards in consecutive games for the first time.

* Penn State's 599 yards of total offense were the most it has generated inside the conference since 1994.

* Quarterback Trace McSorley threw a touchdown pass for the 10th consecutive game, and recorded a rushing and passing touchdown for the fourth time in the past five games.

Still, Franklin was quick to note that every victory has flaws, that even the best of performances could be better.

"We'll never be satisfied," he said. "Ever. That's not just coach-speak. I mean that. We'll always be looking at things [at which] we need to get better . areas we can improve."

One of those that Franklin and his staff won't have to look hard to spot is Penn State's recent penchant for taking penalties.

It was assessed 86 yards worth for nine infractions against the Hawkeyes, a week after being flagged for 91 yards on 11 penalties in a 62-24 victory at Purdue. …

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