Penn State Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 9 Game vs. Ohio State
The Penn State Nittany Lions saw their five-game winning streak come to an end in Week 9 at home against unbeaten Ohio State. The Buckeyes dominated the Lions, 35-23.
Despite Beaver Stadium being filled with 107,000 white-clad, screaming fans, Penn State could not match the Buckeyes. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller showed why he has been talked about as a candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
Miller threw for 143 yards and a touchdown, but he did the most damage with his legs. The sophomore quarterback ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Penalties, dropped passes and missed opportunities to capitalize on OSU's mistakes ultimately did the Lions in.
While there were several negative aspects of the game for Penn State, fans can be assured that there were also positives that can be taken away.
This slideshow looks at Penn State's winners and losers from the loss to the Buckeyes.
Winner: TE Kyle Carter
The freshman tight end continued to impress in Week 9 against Ohio State. Carter, the second-leading receiver on the team for the year, pulled in six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Carter has flourished in Bill O'Brien's offense that features the tight end as more of a receiver than a blocker. Carter presents a big target for quarterback Matt McGloin and has proved to be reliable, especially in the red zone.
The Penn State offense struggled to get much going for most of the game. Carter was one of the few bright spots for the Lions in Week 9.
Loser: The Offensive Line
The Penn State offensive line was completely dominated by the Buckeyes in Week 9. The OSU pass rush was too much for the Lions to handle. Quarterback Matt McGloin had little time to go through his progressions and faced constant pressure.
The Penn State ground game could never get going against the Buckeyes, managing a total of just 32 yards. That's by far the lowest output of the year for a Penn State run game that had eclipsed the century mark in six straight games.
Aside from being dominated all game, there were several holding and false start penalties that stalled drives. Look for this group to practice hard and improve in the next game.
Winner: The Linebackers
Although Ohio State, namely Braxton Miller, was able to run all over the Penn State defense, the linebackers had some solid individual performances. The group was led by seniors Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges.
As always, Mauti seemed to be everywhere on the field. He recorded 13 tackles against the Buckeyes. Mauti leads the Nittany Lions with 78 total tackles on the year.
Gerald Hodges had perhaps the best game of all the linebackers. Hodges made a team-high 14 tackles and a sack. Hodges did all that he could to slow down the Ohio State offense.
Glenn Carson, the third starting linebacker, also had a solid game against the Buckeyes. The junior made five tackles.
Mike Hull, who doesn't start but sees a lot of time on the field, made the biggest play of the night for the Lions when he blocked a second-quarter punt that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Aside from that big play, Hull made three tackles and added a sack.
Braxton Miller couldn't be stopped, especially late in the game. As bad as it was for the defense, the linebackers deserve to be recognized.
Loser: RB Bill Belton
Good things were expected from Belton against the Buckeyes after putting up 103 yards and three touchdowns against Iowa in Week 8. The game against Ohio State is one that Belton will surely want to forget.
Belton never got going in Week 9 and finished the game with only 26 yards rushing and 35 yards receiving.
The stats are bad enough, but it was Belton's play to start the third quarter that ensured his spot on this list. Belton attempted to field the opening kickoff of the second half and bobbled it before eventually picking it up. He got tackled deep in Penn State territory, backing up the offense.
That poor field position led to an interception thrown by Matt McGloin that was quickly returned for an OSU touchdown.
Belton, who earned a starting spot with a great performance against Iowa, will have to greatly improve if he wants to earn and retain the trust of head coach Bill O'Brien.
Winner: WR Brandon Moseby-Felder
Wide receiver Brandon Moseby-Felder went over 50 yards receiving against the Buckeyes for the second straight week. Moseby-Felder caught four passes for 70 yards in Week 9.
Though the Penn State tight ends and wide receiver Allen Robinson get all of the attention, Moseby-Felder has quietly began to creep onto the scene. He is a good route-runner who has shown reliable hands.
Moseby-Felder has yet to find the end zone but came close against the Bucks. He caught a 42-yard pass from Matt McGloin and took it down to the 4-yard line. He tried to fight forward but was brought down just short.
That play led to a Sam Ficken field goal.
The Penn State offense had a tough time moving the ball all game. Moseby-Felder was one of the few offensive players who stood out against the Buckeyes.
Loser: Head Coach Bill O'Brien
For the first time all season, Bill O'Brien was outcoached by an opposing coach. O'Brien's game plan seemed flawed against a defense that entered the game as one of the worst in the Big Ten.
The Penn State offense was tentative and content to just run simple stretch runs and short screen passes. The usually high-octane offense turned into a slow-moving one that reminded fans of offenses of the past.
O'Brien also made a few questionable decisions, such as electing not to try a field goal and faking a punt.
While facing a 4th-and-7 at the Ohio State 20, the Lions committed a penalty that backed them up five yards. Instead of attempting a field goal from the 25, O'Brien elected to go for it on 4th-and-12. That decision ended up as a turnover on downs by the Lions.
Of course, the kicking problems of Sam Ficken have been well documented, but in a 0-0 ballgame, the smarter move may have been to attempt the kick.
In the third quarter, trailing 14-10, O'Brien chose to let his punter try to pass for the first down on a 4th-and-9. The failed attempt gave the ball to the Bucks near midfield and led to an Ohio State score.
There's no question that O'Brien has had a great season at Penn State. The Week 9 game against Ohio State just wan't one of his best coached games.