Ohio State 38, Penn State 25
Circus catches and occasional flashes of brilliance on both sides of the ball didn’t offset the talent gap as Ohio State never trailed in a mismatch at empty Beaver Stadium. It wasn’t as close as the final score suggests.
Penn State was unable to establish the running game, winding up with 44 yards on the ground. New feature back Devyn Ford had eight carries for thirty-six yards. However, when Sean Clifford was on target, which waited until the second half, the aerial attack worked, albeit sporadically, producing some decent numbers. Clifford wound up 18-30 for 381 yards with three touchdowns and one ugly desperation throw for an interception.
Games are Won and Lost in the Trenches
The problem in the first half was that the vaunted Penn State offensive line was unable to handle the relentless tOSU front seven. Clifford was regularly frustrated by the absence of protection and the running game was nonexistent. Same thing on the other side of the ball. tOSU consistently won in the proverbial trenches, where the old bromide says games are won or lost.
Killing Momentum before It Can Develop
Boneheaded coaching raised its ugly head in the Nittany Lions’ opening drive after the Schmuckeyes had scored their first touchdown. Impatience and the desire for “explosive” plays tempted our offensive brain trust to try to hit a home run, a deep pass on third-and-two from the Penn State 45, which sailed over Jahan Dotson’s head. Instead of punting, the geniuses decided on the Balls over Brains option, resulting in another incomplete pass and the ball going to tOSU on downs at the PSU 45. Given that short field, it was inevitable that the invaders from Ohio would make short work of scoring — five plays in 2:42. Ohio State had a 14-0 lead with most of the first quarter still to be played.
The Schmuckeyes would add another first half touchdown while all the Lions could manage was two field goals, the second of which was a gift from the officials. As Jenny brought out, James Franklin isn’t the only one with clock management problems — sometimes, it is the official timekeeper. At the end of the half, that gift of a field goal after Ohio State thought they had ended the half made it 21-6.
Second Half Hope
Penn State came out looking good in the second half, scoring a TD in their opening drive, but Ohio State quickly responded with a touchdown of their own and after stopping another PSU drive short, a field goal. They then led 31-13.
We got some crazy theatrics at that point. The Nittany Lions’ star wide receiver, Jahan Dotson, did his NFL audition in style. He wound up with eight catches for 144 yards and all of Penn State’s three touchdowns. You’ll be watching at least one of his back-to-back, one-handed grabs (one with each hand) in ESPN highlights. These took place in an impressive touchdown scoring drive in the late third and early fourth quarters, which had the effect of restoring hope when it was most needed. The attempted two-pointer failed, leaving a deficit of just twelve points.
Alas, the Schmuckeyes, who had dominated the game to that point, came back with a 13-play, clock-eating drive to widen the gap to 38-19. Penn State added another score on a 20-yard pass from Clifford to Dotson (who else?) with 6:27 on the clock, but it would prove to be too little and too late. Another two-point try failed, making it 38-25.
Too Little, Too Late
An impressive sack of Justin Fields by Brandon Smith stifled the Bucks, who were forced to punt with 3:49 left. Any hope for Penn State was then lost when Sean Clifford threw an errant desperation pass while being chased out of the pocket, resulting in Penn State’s only turnover of the day and sealing the Nittany Lions’ fate.
Justin Fields had a field day with the Lions, throwing for 318 yards on a 28-34 passing performance that included four touchdowns and no interceptions. If Penn State was worried about his running, Ryan Day’s game plan left that part out, with the bulk of the rushing assignment going to Master Teague III, who wound up with 110 yards on 23 carries.
Don’t Ever Bitch about Officiating, Ever Again
We got several gifts from officials in this game. Why is it that you never hear from the Sanguinarians when officiating mistakes favor our boys? Don’t answer that, and if you do, don’t say because those opportunities are so rare.
Two Delay Penalties?
Jeez! Deja vu. I thought we had seen the last of that crap after Dick Anderson, Galen Hall, and Jay Paterno departed. Get the damn plays in!
Hand-Wringing: My Oh My, What Do We Do?
I’m not referring to the legendary LGBTQ+/- bar on College Avenue when I say, “My, oh my!” Instead, this is my assessment of what is undoubtedly unrest and anguish among the Sanguinarian population this morning.
What of this season, given the 0-2 start? Well, I’ll tellya. Homeys are saying a couple of things: James Franklin must go and the season isn’t real because of the extraordinary circumstances of this year. Hell, for those Sanguinarians, if the start were 2-0, Franklin would be a hero and the season would be damn well serious as a heart attack. You cannot get an honest assessment, let alone a valid one, from partisan fans. They’ll pull things out of their ass one way or another.
What about this omniscient and pragmatic turkey? What I think is that PSU is about where I expected. Although I didn’t anticipate a loss at Indiana, the opening game rust and lack of practice was obvious, and they made too many mistakes to not lose. I expected to lose to at least one opponent the consensus of homeys agreed was inferior (although to some Sanguinarians, tOSU is inferior). The pessimists are now saying that the only win we can count on is Rutgers, but I’m not putting my chips on the line for that one, either. Schiano II is scoring lots of points, and by football transitivity, they beat Michigan because they beat Moo U. and Moo U. beat Michigan. Ya folla?
The Path Ahead
Penn State (0-2) is now firmly in possession of last place in the Big Ten East where everyone else has notched at least one win. I would be really worried about Maryland this coming week, given that Tua Tagovailoa’s little bro Taulia looked awesome in the Turtles’ 45-44 overtime win over Minnesota. The Gophers are no pushovers.
No, I’m not writing off the season. I’m not one of those jaggoffs who think that Penn State is a title contender every year, and I’m not one to be dissatisfied if they don’t make the playoffs. Watching budding stars like Jahan Dotson provides sufficient entertainment and satisfaction for me. If they can put it all together sometime in the future, then they’ll deserve a shot at the still somewhat mythical national championship. In the meanwhile, Sanguinarians, put a lid on it and enjoy the games! The world will not end when PSU finishes the season with a 5-4 record.
I’ll be back after the Maryland game with my glowing praise for James Franklin, Brent Pry, and Kirk Ciarocca after they make turtle soup with their brilliant game plan.
Oops. I’m jumping the gun. First, I must preview the Maryland game and predict its outcome, which I shall be doing later this week. Sorry bout that!