IOWA CITY, IOWA--- Bill Belton was listed as Penn State's No. 1 running back on the depth chart this week, but Nittany Lion fans probably wouldn't have been surprised if the sophomore didn't play much.
Since returning from injury -- a high ankle sprain sustained in the season-opener -- Belton has been shaky. Zach Zwinak, meanwhile, emerged as a viable, defense-line crushing option.
Penn State defeated Iowa, 38-14, at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night and perhaps to everyone's surprise, Belton was the star.
The sophomore ran for a career-high 103 yards including three touchdowns. They were the first rushing touchdowns of his career.
“You have to prepare each week to be ready to go,” Belton said. “All of us could easily go over 100 yards for this offense on any day.”
On this day, though, it happened to be Belton, whose 23-yard run in the first quarter was a career-long -- and the second longest rush for a Penn State player this season.
“I felt like I did a decent job today there are always things you can do better,” he added.
Here are some other notes from the Nittany Lions' victory, their first in Iowa City since 1999:
-Earlier this week, Kyle Carter said a night game, under the lights, is when the stars come out. On Saturday, Carter and his fellow tight ends shined. Carter, in his first career start, made a career-long 34-yard catch on a fourth down conversion in the first quarter. He finished the day with a career high in catches (six) and yards (85). In total, Penn State's tight ends had more yards tonight (151) than tight ends did all of last season (122).
-Jesse Della Valle's 46-yard kickoff return to begin the second half was a season long for Penn State.
-Mike Mauti, undoubtedly Penn State's emotional leader, made his team-leading third interception.
-Outside the Penn State locker room after the game was the Lions' game day schedule. Nothing seemed too peculiar, except for the second to last activity: "Team prayer, head coach boom!, bring 'em' out!" It is unclear what exactly the head coach boom entails.
-Matt McGloin recorded his 13th career 200-plus yard passing game, one shy of Daryll Clark for third all-time at Penn State.
-Linebacker Gerald Hodges and safety Malcolm Willis received limited playing time in the second half, but after the game O'Brien did not seem concerned about their health.