Ohio State Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 9 Game vs. Penn State
The run to a perfect season is just three wins away for the Ohio State Buckeyes as they went into Happy Valley and took down the Penn State Nittany Lions, 35-23.
Braxton Miller didn't have the best day throwing the football but was responsible for three touchdowns and had a strong second half to carry the Buckeyes to a win.
The defense also played very well despite Penn State's good day throwing the football, sacking Matt McGloin four times and turning an interception, only McGloin's third of the season, into a touchdown.
Here are this week's winners and losers from the OSU-PSU showdown.
Winner: Ryan Shazier
In honor of his high school teammate Gary Curtis who died this summer from muscular dystrophy, Ryan Shazier wore the No. 48 in lieu of his normal No. 10 in tribute.
He also paid tribute to him by having a monstrous game, racking up seven tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and an interception return for a touchdown to help propel the Buckeyes to a win.
Shazier has been the best of a makeshift LB core for the Buckeyes, and he continued his great play on Saturday.
Loser: Punt Protection
It's amazing how many times in the last three years Ohio State has had a punt blocked.
Whether it's all on Ben Buchanan or if there have really been that many breakdowns in protection, OSU almost got burned when it had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Ohio State has blocked quite a few kicks all season, but they have also been blocked on punts three times, each turning into a touchdown.
Winner: Braxton Miller's Feet
While it's just as fun to talk about how good Braxton Miller is at running the ball, let's let this video do the talking.
Loser: Braxton Miller's First-Half Passes
Braxton Miller got himself and his team going in the second half, but not before a first half that could've been way worse than it was.
On one series early in the game, Miller threw two pick-sixes that were both dropped by Penn State defenders. He also overthrew a wide-open Corey Brown, who would've scored a touchdown.
He settled down his arm and was much better passing in the second half, but this is the second straight game where his accuracy has been problematic early in games.
Winner: Jake Stoneburner
Absent from the stat sheet for three weeks earlier this season, Jake Stoneburner has found himself once again in the OSU offense, as he recorded a career-high 72-yard TD catch-and-run to help put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Stoneburner made the move from TE to WR because of the improvement of both Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett and started off strong with three touchdowns in his first three games of the season.
He may still have an impact on the offense in the last three games of his career, and his performance against Penn State may be the catalyst for a strong finish.
Loser: Corey "Philly" Brown
Ohio State's catch leader was held silent for the second straight game.
Corey "Philly" Brown came into the Purdue game a week ago with 41 receptions for 403 yards. Two games later, that stat still stands.
It's odd for a team's No. 1 receiver to go silent for two straight games, but that's just what Brown has done.
Winner: Pass Rush
Ohio State has been searching to find a pass rush for a little while. It finally got one on Saturday as the defense sacked Matt McGloin four times in the win.
Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell called a good game dialing up a good amount of blitzes to confuse the Penn State offense when the Nittany Lions failed to run the ball.
Ryan Shazier had a pair of sacks, and seniors John Simon and Nathan Williams each sacked McGloin as well.
Loser: Terrelle Pryor
You can argue that if Terrelle Pryor and the "Suspended Five" didn't commit their transgressions, Urban Meyer wouldn't be in Columbus.
But because of what he and several of his teammates did, Ohio State can't go any further than the Michigan game which ends the season early.
If that had not happened, OSU would be a virtual lock to go back to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2010.
You can also argue that Gene Smith should've taken the postseason ban last year to let Ohio State play in this year's postseason, but we'll never know if that would've been a sure thing. The blame belongs squarely on the offenders, namely Pryor and former coach Jim Tressel.
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