If 37-17 looks bad, it really wasn’t that close. Ohio State was just better in every respect. They controlled the ball, made few mistakes, and thoroughly dominated the Nittany Lions in front of a hostile crowd of 110,000+. Before this Turkey starts grumbling about certain aspects of the Penn State performance, I have to state that the Buckeyes deserve unfettered credit for a well played and well coached game.
Twenty-four first downs to the Nittany Lions’ 14; 37:52 time of possession to PSU’s 22:08; 453 yards to 263—these are statistical indications of domination. The worst of it is that the Buckeyes didn’t even seem to work up a sweat in thrashing the Lions. Except for a single turnover, they played a mistake-free game while keeping Penn State on its heels all night long.
At first, it appeared that Penn State would have a chance, as the Lions engineered a well played 9-play, 78-yard drive in the first quarter for a touchdown that would provide the Lions’ only lead of the evening. ?????? ??? ???? ???? The drive involved passing on first and second downs, something we have seen succeed in the past few weeks. However, after this touchdown, it seemed as if the offensive brain trust decided to tighten up the proverbial anal sphincter, reverting to the run until desperation time in the fourth quarter.
The next opportunity for conservative clamping of the offense occurred with 1:10 remaining in the second quarter. Ohio State was up 17-7, but Penn State had the ball on the OSU 38, fourth down and two yards to go. It could have been an opportunity to end the half on a high note and preserve the White Out crowd’s rambunctiousness. A touchdown at the end of the first half would have brought the score to within a field goal. Alas, the decision was to punt the ball. Ohio State then took the ball, got a first down on the ground and took one shot at a big play from Boeckman to Robiskie. Fortunately for Penn State, the pass fell incomplete, and the Buckeyes just ran out the clock.
In the third quarter, with Ohio State up 24-7, the Lions put together another drive that would get them into the red zone. In my family room—better known as “the cave”—several shrieks of sheer terror punctured the tense night air. Penn State was in the red zone. Oh my God—how will they screw it up this time? Sure enough, they couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. The first play from the OSU 8 was a run up the middle, predictably stuffed for a two-yard loss. Did they really think it would work? Then, the Three Stooges decided to pass, but passes to Butler and Bell fell incomplete. Enter Kevin Kelly for yet another chip-shot field goal that should have been a touchdown. It succeeded and brought the Lions back to within two touchdowns, with red zone ineptitude reconfirmed.
Early in the fourth quarter, Ohio State added a field goal. Then, it came—the signature moment of a game that was already out of hand, which would subsequently break that game wide open and put redemption out of reach for the Nittany buy tramadol cod available Lions. It was the ugliest interception this Turkey has ever seen. Who knows what Morelli was thinking when he threw that pass that was intercepted by Malcolm Jenkins at the 24 and run in for a touchdown. It appeared to be thrown right to the surprised OSU cornerback. Morelli went to the bench hanging his head, knowing that the game was lost. With 9:36 left, it was Ohio State 34, Penn State 10.
Morelli made three obvious mistakes in this game and this was by far the ugliest. His fumble in the first quarter was quickly covered by Quarless, and his only other major mistake was taking a sack when he should have thrown the ball away. All in all, it wasn’t an awful day for Morelli until the ugly interception happened, an interception that will linger in Morelli’s memory forever. And we will replay it again and again in our minds—albeit unfairly—when we think back to this game.
Daryll Clark replaced Morelli at quarterback for the next Penn State drive, which ended abruptly with Jordan Norwood coughing up the pigskin at the Penn State 39. This eventually resulted in the final points of the evening for the Buckeyes, a 35-yard field goal.
The ensuing kickoff generated a little too-little/too-late excitement as speedy A.J. Wallace took the ball at the 3 yard-line and ran it back 97 yards for a touchdown that would provide the Lions’ final points in the game. ?????? ??? This might have represented the Buckeyes’ only major mistake of the game. If they had kicked the ball to Derrick Williams, he would have been tackled at the 12.
As for our defense, you know it let us down. I should not have to say much. In the secondary, both Lydell Sargeant and Justin King were regularly lit up, but putting the blame completely on them is unfair. The defensive line was able to put absolutely no pressure whatsoever on Boeckman. The OSU offensive line is that good. The hitherto vaunted Maurice Evans was basically invisible. ??? ???? ?? ?????? Furthermore, starting safety Tony Davis was sidelined, having undergone an appendectomy on Friday. He was replaced by Mark Rubin, making his second start. As for shutting down the run, the projected Beanie-bashing did not take place, as Chris “Beanie” Wells was able to run for 133 yards and his dreadlocked compadre, Maurice Wells added another 55.
Can I find any positives in Penn State’s performance? Yes. I believe that Andrew Quarless has come a long way, particularly in his blocking. And while Lawlor will not immediately step into Matt Hahn’s shoes, he did relieve some of the sting of Hahn’s departure. The offensive line did a pretty good job, too, against the formidable Buckeye defensive front seven. If the defense had played as well, 17 points might have been enough to make a game out of it.
And now, I must shift my attention to the Steelers, who will try to corral Ocho Cinco and Who’s Yo Mama. I’ll be back on Wednesday with some impertinent comments about the Nittany Lions’ next opponents, the Purdue Boilermakers. Will Morelli start?
While our offense wasn’t great, I thought it was actually pretty good, especially considering we were playing (supposedly) one of the best, if not the best, defense in college football. The problem was our defense. Our defense could not get off the field and get the ball into the hands of our offense. Outside of the drive where Morelli threw a pick-6, our offense got at least one first down on every drive, which is pretty impressive. We just didn’t get enough offensive snaps to get in a rhythm. Ohio State played a good game, but that was probably our worst defensive performance in a LONG time. Bottom line is, I think our offense played well enough to win this game, our defense didn’t.
I had a feeling this game would be all about momentum. While I am happy with the outcome (OSU ’93), I think the momentum of this game may have permanently shifted to OSU’s advantage when Penn State chose to punt on that 4th-and-2 play in the second quarter. Plus, Penn State’s defense did not play to their ability. They just seemed “off” last night. OSU’s time of possession (37 min.) can make a difference, but the Penn State “D” is better than that. I can give the Buckeyes some credit for a good game, but I think they had some help from JoPa and his boys.
The Nittany Turkey says
I agree with you, GH. Being unwilling to risk that 4th & 2 play from the OSU 38 speaks volumes about the PSU coaching philosophy—sphincteritis is the term that was coined to describe it at times. Furthermore, I have never been fond of the soft zone that was instituted by Jerry Sandusky and continues to be employed by Tom Bradley. The big problem with the BBDB is that once in a while it does break and because of all the bending that’s gone on, the breaking tends to occur in bad place. But all that having been said, Boeckman played a near perfect game as did the OSU o-line. OSU has a solid offense in spite of all the departures after last season. Tressel and the boys deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve done this year. Congratulations on a well deserved win.
You give Ohio State far too much credit. If they don’t get husked and shelled in the Big Ten I think it will be more of the same in the BCS Championship.
Let’s face it – Penn State stunk. This was a typical game against a ranked opponent. By now even the most dedicated PSU fans realize if Penn State is to be involved in an upset they are invariably the victim, not the victor. Paterno is so far over the hill he’s climbing back over from the other side. I no longer have any respect for the man – he’s a selfish old has-been who’s hanging on simply because he can. He has nothing else to do with his life and even if he retires he’s going to force the administration to give the head coaching job to his son, which will guarantee mediocrity for another 10 – 20 years.
Penn State fans, do not lose sight! There is parity in college football(except the SEC) these days. OSU was shell shocked after having their a—- handed to them by Florida. Is OSU the best in the nation?
I don’t know, but Penn State has too much history, too much success
to be second guessing yourselves.
From this OSU fan, Penn State is the game I sweat every year. Anyway, I was baffled by the calls on both offense & defense by Penn State. Not the play calling I remember from past Penn State / OSU games. Stick with it, OSU went back to basics this year and it seems to be working so far.
See you next year!
The Nittany Turkey says
Thanks, Kevin. As we enter the post-loss rumination period, it is good to have a positive post, especially a gloat-free one from the victorious camp.
As for getting back to basics, our coaching staff has been doing that for quite a while, primarily because they feel the players are not capable of handling anything complex. There have been exceptions, such as 2002, when Larry Johnson was tearing up the conference, and 2005, when Michael Robinson was doing the same. But most of the time over the past decade, the coaching is so conservative as to be completely transparent to our opponents. On offense, OSU knew that we’d be relying on the run and the short pass; on defense, they knew that we’d be trying to stop the run and playing a soft two-deep zone. They attacked us with confidence and it worked fine. I suppose the only thing that confounded the OSU coaching staff is that PSU did not go for it on 4th and 2 at the 38 in the waning minutes of the first half. Yes, we have an excellent punter, but the run and the short pass were both working up to that point. A successful conversion would have kept the crowd in the game, and who knows? (Ah, well. The saddest four words in the English language: “what might have been.”)
Thanks for the good wishes and give my regards to High Street.
Having been busy with some pressing personal things this weekend , I didn’t watch but from the middle of the third to the middle of the fourth (sleep then became the better option). I think that gave me a better perspective than the micro-managing of each play. For one , ABC had a game to sell, and a room full of suits sat down and said ” Let’s put some lipstick on this pig” and did….we didn’t have a chance form the start. We ,the loyal and gullible , bit hard. Did anyone think that Morelli would become super Q/B, or that Joe would defer form sphinter play calling,or maybe on that 4th and 2 we would see that gadget play that came from hours of watching film and seeing a crack in the defense? Sorry, what you see is what you get….Joe’s gota go……
On edit: If you are sitting with that gun barrel firmly planted on the roof of your mouth, please stop, as I feel that we will win the balance of the season. Not because of new found skill, but because there are teams even worse than us.
The Nittany Turkey says
That would be Temple. Moo U. and Purdue are up in the air, as far as I’m concerned.