Game 11 Recap: Ohio State 28 – Penn State 17
The energy for this game was electric, and the pregame festivities helped build the hype. Game Day kicked things off before 9am as Rece Davis, David Pollack, Bobby Carpenter, and Pat McAfee interacted with the crowd, including superfan Big Nut. AT 10, Big Noon Kickoff started their coverage, and anyone who was in though crowd could tell Urban was the celebrity. Big Ten Network also was able to hype the crowd with some interactive games.
It was a tale of two halves for this game, and Penn State was expected to be a team to really challenge the Buckeyes. Ohio State led 14-0 going into the half, a lead that could have been 21-0, but a fumble by Justin Fields before the endzone stopped their second drive. Ohio State had out-gained Penn State with over 220 yards in the first half, and held Penn State just above 60 yards. The Buckeyes controlled the ball for nearly 20 minutes, limiting the possessions for the explosive Penn State offense.
The second half, Ohio State started with the ball, and drove down to score and extend their lead 21-0. Penn State marched right back on their own 75 yard drive, and closed the gap 21-7. Ohio State then turned the ball over their next two possessions, giving Penn State a short field, which their were able to get 10 points, making the score 21-17 into the third quarter. Ryan Day had rallied his team to keep them sharp, and challenge them to how they would handle this adversity. Oho State was able to hold Penn State in check, despite the big efforts from backup quarterback Will Levis, and Justin Fields found Chris Olave for an athletic catch in the endzone, making it 28-17, and that would be the final score.
With the win, Ohio State punched their ticket to Indianapolis, and will represent the Big Ten East. A lot of preseason pundits had the Buckeyes finishing as low as 4th with the departure of Urban Meyer, but Ryan Day has this team locked in, and will have a big game next week with The Rival. The outcome of the Minnesota and Wisconsin will determine their opponent for the Big Ten Championship.
Justin Fields made plays with his feet and his arms. He threw for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns, passing 16/22. It was clear that Ohio State wanted to win this game on their ground as nearly 75 percent of their plays were run plays. He also gained 68 yards on 21 carries.
JK Dobbins had a monster game with 157 yards on 36 carries, and 2 touchdowns. He is now 60 yards away from being the number 2 leading rusher in Ohio State history. Master Teague also got in the game, but on a limited role, and had 7 yards on 2 carries.
KJ Hill led the receivers with 4 catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. He now has 42 catches for the season, and is 3 away from typing the record. Chris Olave had 2 catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. In his return game, Austin Mack had 2 catches for 27 yards, and Ben Victor had 2 catches for 21 yards.
Chase Young was a monster coming back from his suspension, with 9 total tackles, 3 sacks, 4 for a loss and 2 forced fumbles. The defense held Penn State to 227 total yards.
Ohio State had fumbled two times in a row and with the short field, Penn State was able to decrease the Ohio State led 21-17. Ohio State had had all of the momentum, but the turnovers kept the Nittany Lions within striking distance. it wasnt until the fourth quarter, Justin Fields was able to connect with Chris Olave for a touchdown pass and extend their lead 28-17, and took back the momentum. The defense shut down the Penn State attempt at a comeback, and Ohio State clinched the Big Ten East.
Star of the Game
Chase Young. After serving a 2 game suspension, Young returned back rested, and dominated on the defensive side of the ball. He had 9 total tackles, 4 for a loss, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles, The two missed games might have hurt his Heisman chances, but honestly he is the most dominant player in the country.
Ohio State was finally tested and played a 4 quarter game. The Buckeyes dominated the first half, holding Penn State to just over 60 yards of total offense, and held a 14-0 lead. The turnovers kept this game closer, but Ohio State still managed to beat the 8th ranked team in the country 29-17. and should be in consideration for the top spot. They will have a chance to build their argument with a win this upcoming week against Michigan, and either Minnesota or Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game.
Ohio State (11-0) travels up Ann Arbor for The Game against Michigan (9-2) at noon. Big Noon Kickoff will be onsite for this matchup.
Penn State (9-2) returns home to host Rutgers (2-9) for their last game until their bowl game.
Photo credit: SI.com