#2 Ohio State 28, #8 Penn State 17
I didn’t think it would be a close game. In the end, it wasn’t, but I think the Nittany Lions redeemed themselves, even in losing. When the sports media collectively opine that this was Ohio State’s “first test of the year”, your boys had a high bar to vault.
Sinking Expectations but Then…
When tOSU established a 14-point lead in the first half, which Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day said “should have been 35-0”, and then extended it to 21-0 early in the third quarter, I felt my cynical, adjusted pre-game prediction of 66-3 would come to pass. Penn State would go gently into the detritus pile of those who Ohio State has faced and summarily discarded in 2019. Overcoming the adversity of the injury loss of our starting quarterback, a couple of key defensive plays and one decent drive proved me wrong. At one point early in the fourth quarter, winning the game was in reach for the Nittany Lions with Ohio State leading 21-17, but a costly mistake by backup quarterback Will Levis let the Buckeyes put the game away.
Although the PSU secondary showed some of its characteristic flaws, the defense rose to the challenge. The running of J.K Dobbins (157 yards, 2 TDs) and Justin Fields (68 yards), plus a passing game that was there when they needed it, propelled the Buckeyes to victory. They had 229 yards rushing and 188 yards passing while Penn State was only able to muster 99 yards rushing and 128 yards passing. Ohio State uncharacteristically coughed up the ball three times, a credit to a clawing, tenacious Penn State defense. Micah Parsons channeled his idol LeVar Arrington to play a big part in forcing turnovers. Two of the fumbles resulted in Penn State scores. The Nittany Lions took care of the ball for most of the game, but it was the lone interception of a Will Levis pass that closed the lid on their chances.
OSU Defense Ruled
The stats say the game should have been a blowout. TOSU had the advantage in IITOP, 34:15 to 25:45, with one decent Penn State drive against the staunch Buckeyes defense all day, a 9-play, 75-yard drive capped by a Will Levis TD run in the third quarter. tOSU had 27 first downs to Penn State’s 15. The mighty Ohio State defense was up to the task. Sackmeister Chase Young had three sacks and four tackles for loss, while the rest of the defense contributed to produce a total of five sacks and nine TFLs.
Not many of us expected that the Lions would be able to keep up with the Buckeyes. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome and with their grit in the second half. There will be some whining regarding the noon start, officiating, etc., but that is loser talk and you won’t hear it from me. I have increasing respect for these guys, who hung in there when the chips were down — way down.
You’ll also hear whining about PSU dropping to #12 in the AP poll, while Michigan ascended to #10.
With the Senior Day Rutgers game ahead — a sure win if ever there was one — the Lions are looking to wind up with a 7-2 conference record, fueling some Rose Bowl “what if” speculation. I suppose it is possible, but barely. I’m think the most likely bowl destination for Penn State is Tampa.
This Turkey will now depart for Big Ten country for Thanksgiving, as Artificially Sweetened’s nativity is Chicago. With fall turkey season in progress in Florida, they won’t find me up there. If I have a moment or two, I might write something about the technically required Rutgers game, or I might not. In any event, I wish you all a Very Happy Thanksgiving!
K. John says
I think this was a classic case of addition by subtraction. Clifford gets hurt throwing our offensive game plan out the window (which is a good thing because Rahne’s game planning leaves a lot to be desired) and took Ohio State’s defensive strategy with it. Levis comes in, channels his inner Tim Tebow and gives a Buckeye a look they simply have not seen from our offense, we get back in it before they can adjust but once they did, it was game over. I never thought we had a legit chance of winning but we made it uncomfortable.
The Nittany Turkey says
I think the Sanguinarians were probably thinking about playoff matchups at the point where PSU got to within four points. Oh, the possibilities! That bubble got deflated quickly.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Big Al says
Turkey, have fun in Chi-town this Thanksgiving – assuming the weather will let you.
I wasn’t that surprised by the final score although the way it occurred was unexpected. Penn State’s defense played as well as it is capable of playing, but the offense basically disappeared except for that one third period drive. This offense isn’t capable of generating more than 17 points against a top ten defense unless the defense sets them up with short fields.
The Kitties can still avoid the Outback Bowl if the Schmuckeyes win out, particularly if they win by multiple touchdowns. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Blue Weasels upset them on Saturday. Contrary to what the talking heads and Sanguinarians think, anOSU is NOT the team of the century. I think Clemson beats them in the playoffs.
Since you probably won’t be previewing the Rutgers game, I’ll sign off with my prediction for the game. Take Rutgers getting 41 points – it’s free money. Penn State is going to sleepwalk thru this game. Kitties 28 Rutgers 10. Don’t be surprised if the game is tied at half time.
The Nittany Turkey says
If the offense can’t generate more than 17 against a top ten defense and the defense can’t hold a top ten offense to 16, then why is PSU in the top ten? It appears to me that the CFP committee applied football transitivity in determining the rankings. (PSU beat Michigan, so Michigan must be ordered lower. Minnesota beat PSU, so they have to be ordered higher.) While the Sanguinarians were dreaming of sugarplums, I was thinking about how flawed the CFP is. (Not to the extent that we need another round of eliminations, as Harbaugh is mouthing off about). I’m rambling.
Those same CFP geniuses put the Schmuckeyes at the top. If they win out, the big question is who will wind up #4, maybe, possibly. If Georgia beats LSU in a close game, then LSU might wind up in #4, but if LSU prevails over Georgia in a runaway rout, they’ll probably replace tOSU at #1. I’m rambling again. What will be will be.
I probably had too many potato latkes with the assembled aggregation of Poles, Ukranians, and other varieties of Chicagoans last night, so it’s my belly talking. It was cold and windy yesterday. Might be rain and snow on Sunday, which could complicate departure plans.
Now, as for Rutgers, where football was born and is now dying, I think I’ll post something while I’m wasting some time this morning. I have to agree with taking the Scarlet Nights and the points as a safe bet.