The Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0) continued their undefeated season with a 35-23 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions (5-3). The Buckeyes rode a 21-point third quarter to take a commanding lead and never looked back.
Penn State would have loved to upset their rivals at home and got off to a great start with a blocked punt in the end zone for an early 7-0 lead.
While points have been scarce for Ohio State this season, they got some help from linebacker Ryan Shazier, who provided the turning point in the game. The Nittany Lions were starting a drive in a deadlocked 7-7 game when Shazier intercepted Matt McGloin and coasted for a 17-yard touchdown.
From there, though, the Nittany Lions weren’t able to establish the running game all afternoon. The Buckeyes kept them in check with 44 yards on the ground.
The last gasp for Penn State occurred on a crucial third down with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. Down 28-16, they needed a stop against Braxton Miller and Co. to make a game out of it. Miller connected with Jake Stoneburner, who raced 72 yards for a score and put the game out of reach.
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit liked what he saw out of Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes after picking his alma mater to lose. A bit of a biased reaction from the former Buckeye QB, but we’ll take it:
Very impressed with Ohio St and @braxtonmiller5 winning in a tough environment against Penn St. Played with poise!!— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) October 27, 2012
Penn State has been through a ton of bad press the last year, but they still pack the stadium better than most. Check out PSU Footblog’s panorama shot:
Here's a panorama of Beaver Stadium just before kickoff of the Ohio State vs. Penn State game tonight. twitter.com/psufootblog/st…— Collegian Footblog (@psufootblog) October 27, 2012
Former Ohio State standout Cam Heyward rekindled some memories while watching his alma mater play their rivals. He must’ve liked the final result at Beaver Stadium.
I remember playing penn state.. Very fond memories. Love silencing the white out— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) October 27, 2012
This game garnered a popular nickname, “The IneligiBowl,” in the Twitter-sphere, due to both teams’ suspension from the 2012 bowls. A fake Urban Meyer account took the label and had some fun :
People claim this is the #ineligiBowl. I don't think so, I just think Penn State is terriBowl.— Urban Meyer (@OsuUrbanMeyer) October 27, 2012
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller: A-
Braxton Miller once again came through for the Buckeyes, passing for 143 and rushing for another 123 yards.
Ohio State had some trouble moving the ball in the first half, but Miller would provide explosive plays when they needed them.
He ran for multiple first downs that kept drives going in the third quarter, and a key fourth-quarter strike to Stoneburner would put the game away for good. What Miller’s Heisman campaign lacks in gaudy stats, he makes up for with flash and victories.
Penn State QB Matt McGloin: B
Can’t fault McGloin for Penn State’s woes in this rivalry matchup. The Nittany Lions QB threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, all without any running game for support.
His one miscue was the pick-six in the third quarter, a misguided throw that would prove to be the difference in the game. Considering not getting much help from the running game, Penn State fans will have to be satisfied with McGloin’s transformation into a viable signal-caller.
The Buckeyes’ undefeated season continues its stretch of Big Ten play, first with a home game against Illinois. Ohio State shouldn’t have much trouble with the Fighting Illini, who lost to a middling Indiana team by two touchdowns.
The real tests for them will come in consecutive games at Wisconsin and at home against Michigan. An undefeated campaign, though, is certainly in play.
Penn State still has four games left on the schedule, starting with a visit to Purdue next Saturday. They have two games coming up in which they’ll be favored, Purdue and Indiana, so seven wins wouldn’t be out of the question.