Game 8 Recap: Ohio State 33 – Penn State 24
For a game under the lights, with a successful Scarlet the Shoe, and a top 20 matchup, this game delivered. Ohio State had steamrolled their last 4 opponents beginning with Akron, and finally played a team that was on Oregon’s level. If Penn State played like they played Ohio State this week, there was no reason why they should have lost the Illinois last week. According to CJ Stroud in the post game interviews, he mentioned that Penn State was calling out some of their plays, which shows that Penn State probably used 3 weeks to prepare for OSU and did not prepare for the Fighting Illini.
Sean Clifford looked a lot healthier this week, and threw for 367 yards against a soft zone defense for the Buckeyes. If he was still injured, he did not show any signs of it. He took several big hits, and got back up. Credit too to the Penn State defense who was able to slow down the Buckeye run game for the first half, and had very few missed tackles. They difference in this game though as to why the game looked closer than it was is due to the redzone defense from Penn State. They only allowed 1 touchdown in the 5 trips Ohio States offense had, and if any of those were touchdowns, the margin would have looked a lot like the betting spread going into the game. James Franklin knows how to play Ohio State tougher than any other Big Ten East opponent, but Ohio State was able to wins its 5th straight game against Penn State, and 9 of their last 10.
CJ Stroud looked good against Penn State, but missed a few easy throws which was caused potentially to the pressure in the pocket. He finished the game with 305 yards passing and 1 touchdown. He continues to avoid or limit any rushing attempts, and credits that to not wanting to make mistakes.
TreVeyon Henderson got the lions share of the carries with Master Teague and Marcus Crowley being out. He had 28 carries for 152 yards ands 1 touchdown. He also caught a pass for 7 yards. Miyan Williams had 3 carries for 5 yards, and Garrett Wilson has 1 carry for 7 yards that helped convert a first down.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba lead the receivers once more with 6 catches and 97 yards. Garrett Wilson had 7 catches for 82 yards. Chris Olave finished the game with 3 catches for 44 yards and a touchdown, with puts in in sole position of second place for the all time touchdown list for wide receivers at Ohio State.
It was evident Penn State was looking ahead in their game against Illinois as they all but admitted they practiced two weeks to prepare for Ohio State. As tough as Penn State was, Ohio State found an answer, and the point of when the Buckeyes had widened their lead enough to keep Penn State out of it was when Henderson scored his touchdown to give Ohio State a 27-17 lead with almost over a quarter to play.
Star of the Game
TreVeyon Henderson. The need to run the ball was a big part of Ohio State’s offense and not make it one-dimensional against a good Penn State defense. Fueled by a 68 yard run in the 3rd quarter, his 152 yards kept the passing game a threat, and helped the Buckeyes make plays when they needed.
Ohio State played their toughest opponent since Oregon, and found a way to win. At this part of the season, winning is what matters most, and the Buckeyes have made sure they are keeping themselves in the conversation. Their game against Michigan State on November 20th at home will most likely be the matchup for who will represent the Big Ten East in the Big Ten Championship game. We will see how the playoff committee ranks the Buckeyes too in the first rankings on Tuesday, November 2nd.
Ohio State (7-1) travels on the road to play Nebraska (3-6) at 12pm on FOX.
Penn State (5-3) will travel to Maryland (5-3) at 3:30pm on FS1.
Photo credit: Cleveland.com