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Notebook: Hawkeyes were well-prepared for Lions

| Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2004

Iowa's defense had an extra advantage last weekend against Penn State.

"A lot of times, they knew what we were going to do before we did it," quarterback Michael Robinson said Tuesday.

Robinson and several of his teammates said they heard defensive players calling out the offensive plays before the ball was snapped. The Hawkeyes pulled in four interceptions and held the Lions to 147 total yards.

"If you know whether it's a pass or a run that's coming, it helps you so much," Lions safety Andrew Guman said.

It's not that the Hawkeyes have psychic powers. Instead, credit their intense preparations and film study.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Penn State had a first down on its 34-yard line. Robinson tried to hook up with receiver Terrell Golden on a deep post pattern, but cornerback Javon Johnson picked off the pass.

"We were waiting for him to throw it all game," Johnson said. "You recognize formations from (game) tape, and you wait on it."

Even with extra time to prepare because of an off week, Penn State's moribund offense did not show any new wrinkles against Iowa.

Coach Joe Paterno has trimmed the playbook, hoping simplicity will spark a turnaround. And losing starting quarterback Zack Mills (concussion) in the third quarter might have further limited the play-calling.

However, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said his defense's uncanny success was not the result of predictable offensive strategy.

"I don't think it was Penn State's offense," Ferentz said. "Every team in the world has tendencies. I think it was a reflection that we're a lot more veteran on defense."

The Penn State players who spoke with reporters yesterday were more upset about their performance than about Iowa's extra edge.

"It is a bit disturbing," guard Charles Rush said. "But just because they know what play is coming doesn't mean they can stop it."

"It still comes down to executing and getting the job done," center E.Z. Smith said.

Smolko handicapped

Tight end Isaac Smolko had surgery Oct. 11 to implant a screw in his right wrist, which he dislocated in the Oct. 2 game against Minnesota. He wears a bulky brace on his wrist when he plays.

"It's limited my blocking ability so much," Smolko said. "It's really frustrating. Pass-catching is not that bad. It definitely limits my ability to carry the ball in both hands; I can only put it in my left hand when I run with it."

Ready to rumble

E.Z. Smith said no one was hanging his head in practice this week after the 6-4 loss against Iowa.

"The team is pretty (ticked) off," he said. "I saw a lot of angry guys. I really like that. That's something I really hadn't seen after other losses so far this year."

Buckeyes name QB

Troy Smith, a redshirt sophomore, will make his second consecutive start at quarterback for Ohio State on Saturday. Smith replaced struggling freshman Justin Zwick two weeks ago when Zwick injured his right (throwing) shoulder.

Last week against Indiana, Smith went 12 for 24 for 161 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 58 yards.

True freshman Antonio Pittman will make his first start at tailback against Penn State. Pittman rushed for 144 yards against Indiana.

Senior tailback Lydell Ross was suspended for using fake currency at a Columbus, Ohio, strip club. Ross is practicing with the team, but remains out pending possible criminal charges.

Set your VCRs

Penn State's home game Nov. 6 against Northwestern will kick off at 12:10 p.m. It will be regionally televised on ESPN Plus. Participating local stations, if any, will be announced early next week.

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