Penn State Lost a Heartbreaker Against Ohio State

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COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 28: Terry McLaurin #83 of the Ohio State Buckeyes catches a 14-yard touchdown pass as Troy Apke #28 of the Penn State Nittany Lions defends in the second quarter at Ohio Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Penn State Lost a Heartbreaker Against Ohio State

No. 7 Penn State lost a heartbreaker in the Horseshoe on Saturday. No. 3 Ohio State edged out the Nittany Lions in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 unanswered, to win the game 39-38. Penn State started the game strong with Heisman hopeful Saquon Barkley returning the opening kick off 97 yards for a touchdown to get the Nittany Lions on the board early. Ohio State would not lead the game at all until scoring with just under five minutes left. After losing the rematch in the Shoe, the Nittany Lions are 7-1 on the season.

Offense Takeaways

The offensive line played steadily in the first half on Saturday in the Horseshoe. It took less than 20 minutes for the Nittany Lions to jump out to a 21-3 lead. Although, after an injury to tackle Ryan Bates in the third quarter, the o-line could not sustain the attacks from Ohio State defensive ends Nick Bosa and Sam Hubbard. The Buckeye defense recorded 13 tackles for loss and two sacks on Saturday.

Trace McSorley threw the ball well and trusted his receivers to make plays before the o-line breakdown. McSorley had 192 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown as Penn State lost a heartbreaker on Saturday. Furthermore, he continued to spread the ball around, utilizing six different players throughout the game. The highlight for the Nittany Lion offense came on an amazing 37-yard touchdown reception by DeAndre Thompkins. Thompkins fought Ohio State’s Denzel Ward for a jump ball, which was originally called an interception. After further review, it was clear that Thompkins came down with it. The reception gave the Nittany Lions a 35-20 lead.

The storyline coming into the game was how the Ohio State defense would shut down Saquon Barkley. Barkley finished the day with one receiving touchdown on 23 receiving yards and just 44 yards rushing. Barkley was efficient in the first half, but after the injury to Bates, which caused the offense to shuffle, the Buckeye defense was in the backfield so often it was impossible to get Barkley going.

As the game progressed, play calling by the Penn State coaches became very conservative, just as they did at the end of the Rose Bowl loss to USC a season ago. This ended up being Penn State’s down fall as the Buckeye defensive front did not allow much yardage. Following the game, Penn State head coach, James Franklin stated “I didn’t manage the game well…There’s enough blame to spread around.” Hopefully, this something everyone can learn from as the Nittany Lions need to close out the season strong.

Defense Takeaways

The Penn State defense played very well in the first half, but an injury to defensive end Ryan Buchholz proved to be a major one. Buchholz exited the game in the first quarter with a lower leg injury and did not return. The Nittany Lion defense came into this game allowing an average of fewer than ten points per game, and not allowing a point in the first quarter. The Ohio State offense scored 39 points and had over 500 yards of offense. Furthermore, defensive penalties hindered the Nittany Lions all game long. The defensive front, after the loss of Buchholz, was having trouble getting to Ohio State quarterback, J.T. Barrett. Barrett was only sacked twice and hurried once throughout the game. In addition, the Nittany Lions only had six tackles for loss as Penn State lost a heartbreaker on Saturday, allowing freshman running back, J.K. Dobbins rush for 88 yards on 13 carries.

Overall, the Nittany Lions did not play their game. It was eventful and at times looked like Penn State would win, but in the end, the defense could not sustain the amount of time they had to be on the field in the second half. This resulted in Ohio State recording 15 unanswered points and winning the game.

Looking Ahead

Penn State lost a heartbreaker in the Horseshoe on Saturday and look to get back on track in East Lansing. The Nittany Lions play a Michigan State team that fell to Northwestern in triple overtime on Saturday. Both teams are entering this week with hard-fought losses. No. 7 Penn State has to regroup and figure out the offensive line struggles before playing the Spartans at 12:00 pm EDT on FOX.

Main Photo Credit:

COLUMBUS, OH – OCTOBER 28: Terry McLaurin #83 of the Ohio State Buckeyes catches a 14-yard touchdown pass as Troy Apke #28 of the Penn State Nittany Lions defends in the second quarter at Ohio Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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