Game 5 Recap: Ohio State 27 – Penn State 26
What a game.
This top 10 Big Ten Showdown had everything you could have wanted if you love close games with game changing potential on every drive. Trace McSorley is a man amongst boys for the Nittany Lions, and his 400+ yards of offense was the most of his career. Ohio State must have game-planed to stop everyone else but him, and to a degree it worked, because they got the win away from home, but you wonder what would have been different if they focused on McSorley the entire game. Penn State also set an attendance record, with the Happy Valley faithful all clad in white, and the 110,889 screaming fans made their presence known and was a difference maker in the first half. A lot of credit to the Penn State team, and James Franklin for turning the team around, and hopefully they win out the rest of the season.
Ohio State fans, enjoy the win. The defense got gashed for big plays. That needs to get fixed. Ohio State committed over 100 yards in penalties, including a questionable targeting call on Isaiah Pryor. If Ohio State wants to compete at its highest level, they will need to get those things fixed. Fortunately, the combined opponent record for the remaining October games is 9-9, so they will have some teams to work out the defense issues. With an inexperience linebacking corp, the more reps and looks they can get, the better the will be and battle tested.
Ohio State could not get any momentum going in the first half. What helped keep them in the game was fantastic field position to defend against with Drue Christman’s punts. He averaged 47.9 yards per punt, and placed 3 inside the 20. The defense was able to hold Penn State to only 3 points in the first quarter, and were only down 13-7 at the half. The lone touchdown drive for Ohio State was on a fumble recovery, which JK Dobbins caught a 26 yard pass from Haskins deep into Penn State territory.
To start the second half, Ohio State drove down the field on a methodical 75 yard drive, capping off with a 4 yard touchdown run from JK Dobbins, and giving them the first lead of the game 14-13.
Ohio State was able to hold onto the lead throughout the third quarter, but a sustained Penn State drive gave them the lead early in the fourth quarter, 20-14. After a quick 5 play drive, Penn State scored once more, extending the lead to 26-14. They 2 point conversion attempt was stopped behind the line of scrimmage.
If you were a fan watching the game, it would be easy to think Penn State had this game won. They held Ohio State’s high-powered offense to under 100 yards. With 8 minutes left in the game, and down 14 points, it was a tall task for Ohio State to make the comeback. Dwayne Haskins was number 2 in the Heisman rankings entering the game, and up to that point, did not look like a Heisman candidate. If he wanted to make a statement, now was the time. And folks, he delivered.
It took only 3 plays and a defensive pass interference penalty, but Haskins connected with Binjimen Victor on what could be the play of the game. Victor caught the ball behind him, and maneuvered against the Nittany Lion defense, and took it to the house. The once raucous crowd, who was singing along to Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” was silenced, and the momentum swung Scarlet and Gray.
Penn State got the ball back after the kickoff, and McSorley took the game in his hands. He was able to drive the ball down to the Ohio State 42 yard line, but the defense tightened up, and stopped them on a big 3rd and 5. Penn State took the delay of game penalty and to give themselves a little more space, and was able to punt the ball down to the Ohio State 4. The drive will go down in Buckeye Lore for a long time.
The first play of the drive should have proven that Ohio State was in it to win it. Haskins connected with JK Dobbins on a short screen pass who then ran it 35 yards. The next play, Dobbins ran it 7 yards to make it 2nd and 3. After an incompletion to Luke Farrell, Ohio State was facing a 3rd and 3 with 3 minutes and 33 seconds left. The crowd was back, and making it noisy for Ohio State. If there were any doubts if the moment was too big for Haskins, the camera crewed showed a close up of Dwayne looking to the sidelines for the play. He was stone solid, and laser focused. Ohio State has next level quarterback and should enjoy him while they can.
The very next play, Weber rushed for 11 yards, taking it into Penn State territory. Haskins then connects with Parris Campbell, Jr. for a 14 yard pass, taking it to the Penn State 29. After an incompletion on first down, Dobbins rushes 5 yards. on 3rd and 5 with 2:03 minutes to go, history was made. Haskins connects with KJ Hill on a screen pass to the right, where he takes it to the house 24 yards after some great blocking from the receivers. 26-21 Ohio State. The 2 point conversion fails, and the Buckeyes kick off to the Nittany Lions for a touch back.
With the game in McSorley’s hands once more, Penn State connects on a big pass to bring it to the Ohio State 48 yard line. Chase Young comes up with a big sack, 2nd and 14 with 1:51 to go. After an incomplete pass, McSorley runs it for 9 yards, and we have the biggest moment of the game. Penn State called 2 time-outs, Ohio State called one, and this would be the play that would either decide it for Ohio State or get Penn State closed to a field goal. After a lengthy delay, McSorley hands it off to Miles Sanders, who is tackled in the back field for a two yard loss. Game Ohio State.
As it has been for the last two seasons, this game will add to the “rivalry” and become another great moment in Buckeye Football history.
Ohio State had a handful of sustained drives in the second half, but the turning point of the game was Binjimen Victor’s 47 yard touchdown catch. He adjusted to the ball in the middle of the air to catch the Haskins pass and once his feet hit the ground, he maneuvered some shifty moves to escape the Penn State pursuit and take it to the house. That brought Ohio State back in striking distance and at the point only trailed 21-26.
Star of the Game
Chase Young. He stepped up big for our defense with the absence of Nick Bosa. I know he had a critical facemask penalty that kept the drive alive for Penn State, but he came up big when it mattered most, including the tackle for a loss on Penn State’s questionable 4th and 5 call on the Nittany Lions last drive. Arguments could be made for Dwayne Haskins for his 4th quarter performance, and Binjimen Victor, who made the play of the game with the amazing 47 yard touchdown reception.
Ohio State is not only in the driver seat now for the Big Ten East, but the Big Ten’s best chance for a playoff team. The AP and Coaches moved up Ohio State to number 3, behind Alabama and Georgia, and have a good gap from Clemson, and Oklahoma. The road win in that environment, and the come from behind 96 yard drive will be on the playoff committees mind as they are evaluating the teams. The win also gives Ohio State one of the best resumes amongst all teams at this point, with LSU having arguably the best resume. Leading the Bayou Tigers? Joe Burrow of course, who has also led LSU to a perfect 5-0 record. LSU will host a surging Florida team next week, and a big showdown against Georgia in two weeks.
Ohio State (5-0) will host Indiana (4-1) at 4pm.
Penn State (4-1) has a bye week and will play Michigan State (3-1) on October 13.
Photo credit to FOX Sports