Recap: #2 Penn State (7-1, BIG 4-1) vs #6 Ohio State (7-1, BIG 5-0)

First off before I say anything else, hats off to Penn State.  They proved why they are ranked so high in the rankings, and why both their offensive and defensive units are one of the most feared units in the nation.

In one of the most memorable and the wildest game in recent memory, both as a fan of the team and a writer, Ohio State looked doomed from the start of the game, but they battled back with their backs against the wall.

On the opening kickoff, adversity struck the Buckeyes as their error-prone Special Teams unit imploded as they let Barkley return the kick 97-yards to put his team ahead 7-0.  On Ohio State’s first possession, the Buckeyes attempted to establish the run early and after two successful runs Barrett tried a swing pass to Campbell, but tragedy struck once again as he coughed it up on a fumble that was returned to the 23-yard line for another scoring opportunity.

While on the 23, Penn State took 1:56 and 5 plays to punch in another score with a 13-yard pass to Hamilton over Arnette, who was beaten off of the line to add to the lead 14-0.  It only took less than 4 minutes for the Nittany Lions to score 2 TD’s and it looked grim as the game progressed.

An Ohio State punt followed with the Buckeyes abandoning the run before settling for the screen and swing passes to the RB’s and WR’s, but they nearly converted on 3rd and long but Baugh dropped the Barrett pass.  The Buckeyes defense forced a punt before JT Barrett got to work in chipping away at the lead.  He went 2-3 for 12 yards, while Dobbins ripped off a 12-yard run, but he was sacked forcing Urban Meyer to settle for points.

The defense had another good series for Ohio State forcing another Penn State punt, but they were turned away on downs while trying to convert in the red zone.  McSorley responded by taking the ball 80-yards before Barkley took it 36-yards for his second TD of the game.

Barrett looked like he was running a 2-minute drill as he took the field with urgency after being down 21-3.  He took a listless offense and created a well-needed spark to chip away some more.  Barrett leaned on Weber to keep the defense guessing before hitting Mack for 36-yards, then McLaurin on a 14-yard strike to cut into the lead.  Penn State still leads 21-10.

On the ensuing kickoff, another mistake on Special Teams happened as Koa Farmer returned the ball 59-yards to the Buckeye 23 yard line.  It took McSorley two plays before taking it on an 8-yard scramble to put his team up 28-10.

In what was mostly a back and forth game Barrett and Ohio State responded with a 10-play 75-yard drive to settle the score at 17-28 with a short run into the end zone by Weber.  Both teams traded punts to keep the score locked in at 28-17.

In the second half, the Buckeye offense looked crisp while nearly going the distance before sputtering and settling for another short FG to cut the lead to single digits.  The secondary then gives up play after play to the Penn State receivers before Thompkins scored on a questionable play which was originally called an interception, but after the review, it was reversed in Penn State’s favor to extend the lead to 35-20.

It was the second questionable call that negated a turnover, both by Ward in the end zone.  The officiating in the game was terrible and it seemed like the Buckeyes were doomed.  Another exchange of punts occurred then Barrett fumbled the RPO play and gave the ball back to Penn State.

The defense stiffened up and forced a punt, but Ward would not be denied his moment for the defense as he busted through the line and blocked Gillikin’s punt and gave the Buckeyes life as Barrett quickly completed a pass before hitting an open Dixon for a 38-yard score to cut the lead down to single digits once again.

The story of the game is the defense limiting Penn State to just 10 points in the second half after the second half adjustments were made.  The better story would be Barrett going 14-14 for 140 yards and 2 TD’s to will his team back from the depths of defeat.  He hit Dixon one more time and Baugh to seal the win for the Buckeyes.  The defense, especially the Rushmen came up big at the end earning a sack and pressuring McSorley to create incompletions before turning it over on downs.

Overall it was an instant classic that proved the doubters wrong.  It was a hard fought win and this 18 point come from behind victory is the largest comeback under Urban Meyer.  This puts the Buckeyes in the driver’s seat in the BIG 10 East and it puts the Buckeyes in the CFB Playoff conversation.  They must not overlook MSU and TTUN and they must stay focused and improve until the season ends.  But enjoy the win Buckeye faithful.  I sure will!  Go, Bucks!

 

Comments

  1. jimmy wiggins says:

    Before that 4th quarter it didn’t matter how many records JT had set cause many fans like me never entirely warmed up to him. Before last night he hadn’t thrown a TD pass against any ranked opponent in almost a year. Before Ward’s blocked punt you never thought someone would ever mention Heisman and JT in the same sentence again. Guess those unimaginable turning points are why we like college ball so much more. Here’s to JT continuing to make us doubters eat crow and win back his legacy.

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