Game 2 Recap: Ohio State 38 – Penn State 25
The game that had a lot of build up finally kicked off, but the lack of fans and noise was really felt on the screen, as well as for the players and staff who were at the game. Penn State’s White Out is one of the toughest environments in college football, but without them for this match up, it became a battle of talent, and Ohio State had too much for Penn State to try and match.
The first drive for Ohio State really set that stage. One the first play of the game, Justin Fields handed it off to Garrett Wilson on a wide receiver sweep, and he took it 62 yards to the Penn State 13 yard line. The Buckeyes scored 2 plays later after two Master Teague runs for a touchdown, to lead 7-0 one minute and 17 second into the game.
The defense responded by stopping the Nittany Lions from a 4th down conversion attempt, and with a short field, the offense only needed 5 plays to score once more, this time a 26 yard touchdown pass from Justin Fields to Chris Olave. Aided by penalties, Penn State was able to respond with a field goal, cutting the lead 14-3.
They game went back and forth for a few drives, both teams preventing any other scores, until the second quarter, Ohio State had a methodical 6 minute touchdown drive, where Justin Fields connected with Jeremy Ruckert for a 10 yard touchdown pass.
The first half ended very bizarrly. Ohio State had the ball with 2 seconds left on 4th down, and Justin Fields took a few steps back and took a knee to take it into halftime, however as the teams were heading into the locker room, the officials determined Ohio State left 1 second on the clock and did not run it out. Penn State connected on a 50 yard field goal to take the half 21-6 in favor of the Buckeyes.
Penn State rallied to start the third quarter, and came out of the gate with several big passing plays to score, making the score 21-13. The Buckeyes would responded on their next drive, taking over two and a half minutes off the clock, and Justin Fields found Chris Olave on a long 49 yard touchdown pass. 28-13.
On Ohio State’s next possession, they extended their lead with a 22 yard field goal. Penn State though would responded back with a touchdown on their own, cutting into the lead once more to make it 31-19 after failing on a 2 point conversion.
The Buckeyes would respond again on their next series taking their drive into the 4th quarter, and on a gutsy 4th and 1 call in the redzone, Justin Fields faked a run and found an open Jeremy Ruckert once more. Penn State would score on their next series, but never were able to get more momentum after that, making the game and final 38-25.
Justin Fields finished the day with 28-34 for 318 yards passing and 4 touchdowns, and -4 yards rushing on 6 carries. Master Teague had 110 yards on 23 carries with 1 touchdown, and Trey Sermon had 56 yards on 13 carries.
Chris Olave had 7 catches for 120 yards, and 2 touchdowns, and Garrett Wilson had 11 catches for 111 yards. The duo become the first 2 Ohio State wide receivers to have back to back games of 100 yards or more in school history. Jeremy Ruckert also added 4 catches for 25 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The defense intercepted Penn State once at the of the game, and had 5 sacks. They allowed 281 yards passing, most of those coming in the second half, but contained the Nittany Lions run game by holding them to 44 yards.
Penn State, despite a second half comeback, could not keep up with the Buckeye’s scoring, so the game was never in question, but on a drive that ended before it began, Penn State got the back back in the first quarter, with the score at 38-25, with around 3 minutes 35 seconds left in the 4th quarter, Sean Clifford makes an errant pass, and it was picked off by Marcus Hooker. This would allow Ohio State to get the ball back, and chew some clock to not allow Penn State to have more than 1 possession left to try and try to win. The defense allowed almost 200 yards in the second half, but they came up in big spots to stop any momentum the Nittany Lions were trying to build.
Star of the Game
Justin Fields. He was almost perfect again, and made some plays that showed how much of an impact he brings to the offense by extending some plays, and was able to once more not have any turnovers. For the year he he has as many incompletions (7) as he does overall touchdowns. The defense also had some amazing plays that we don’t want to ignore, including Zach Harrison’s Sam Hubbard impression by tackling both the quarterback and running back on an RPO play, but Fields once more elevated himself and showed why he is one of the best players in the country.
Ohio State never really had this game in doubt, and took a 14-0 lead within the first 6 minutes of the game and never looked back. On a day Clemson was without Trevor Lawerence and had to rally back to beat Boston College 34-28, and Alabama looked dominant without their top receiver against Mississippi State to win 41-0, Ohio State played a team with more talent and controlled it from start to finish, and keeps themselves in that top 3 mix. Notre Dame hosts Clemson this week, another week Clemson will be without Trevor Lawrence, and will try and keep themselves in the top 4. A win against the Clemson Tigers could shuffle around they top 4, but the Buckeyes are where they want to be. The Big 12 all but eliminated itself with its last undefeated team in Oklahoma State going down, and PAC-12 opening up this week. Could there be a Group of 5 team crashing the playoff? We shall see, but the Buckeyes didn’t do anything to hurt their standing near the top.
Ohio State (2-0) returns home for its second prime time game against Rutgers (1-1) at 7:30pm on BTN.
Penn State (0-2) hosts Maryland (1-1) at 3:30pm.
Photo credit: Buckeyes Wire – USA Toda