Halftime update: Lions in control, lead 13-7

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Don't be fooled by the score. Penn State is in complete control after a lousy start at blustery Kinnick Stadium.

Sure, Iowa is within a touchdown and could come back to take the lead. But the Hawkeyes have shown little to suggest they can hang around with the Nittany Lions in the second half, particularly on offense.

After fumbling on its first drive, Penn State has executed a methodical game plan on offense, mixing different types of runs and various personnel to wear down a talented Iowa defensive front seven. It might not wow the people who need to be wowed, but this is the perfect game plan in these types of conditions (cold and windy).

Sophomore running back Evan Royster has dented the Hawkeyes up the middle and on the edges, and senior wideout Derrick Williams is showcasing his versatility. Williams has been an effective ball-carrier on direct snaps and end arounds, and he also caught a first-down pass. Quarterback Daryll Clark settled down after the early fumble and is making smarter decisions both with his feet and his arm. Hawkeyes linemen Adrian Clayborn and Mitch King have put some pressure on Clark, but the unit is struggling to stop the run.

Here are the vitals on Penn State's scoring drives:

  • 19 plays, 71 yards, 9:43

  • 11 plays, 75 yards, 5:02

  • 16 plays, 78 yards, 8:18

Now two of those ended in field goals, and Penn State must be more effective in the red zone. But the system is working. Penn State holds a 23:34-6:26 edge in possession time and 47-15 in total plays.

Iowa running back Shonn Greene is as advertised, but he can't beat Penn State by himself. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi has struggled under pressure, and Iowa's offense can't stay on the field very long. There needs to be more variety in the second half to move the ball against the Lions defense.