The No. 2 Buckeyes was handed a stunning defeat against the Penn State Nittany Lions in University Park, Pennsylvania Saturday night. The 24-21 score actually was not a true reflection of the Buckeyes missteps and miscalculations.
Coach James Franklin thus far in his venture at Penn State has come up short in big games.
In front of a gruff whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium, the unranked Nittany Lions upset No. 2 Ohio State, 24-21. The Nittany Lions overcame a 21-7 fourth quarter deficit to complete the comeback.
The winning score came on a blocked field goal returned 60 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Grant Haley. Ohio State was looking to extend its lead with less than five minutes to go, but safety Marcus Allen blocked the kick and Haley took it the distance.
It only got better for Penn State’s defense who applied steady pressure on Buckeyes QB J.T. Barrett, twice coming up with sacks as Barrett looked to lead a tying or winning drive in the final minutes.
Things looked dreary for the Nittany Lions coming into the fourth quarter. Penn State went three-and-out on its first three second half drives, one of which ended in a safety when the long snap went over punter Blake Gillikin’s head for a safety.
But the Penn State defense was able to force an Ohio State punt after the safety gave the Buckeyes a 21-7 lead.
From there, Penn State finally shoved it into drive offensively. Saquon Barkley broke off a 37-yard run before quarterback Trace McSorley found Saeed Blacknall on a 35-yard gain to the two. Two plays later, McSorley dove on a hard-nosed back-in-the-day play to bring the lead to 21-14.
With Beaver Stadium rocking, the Nittany Lions forced another OSU punt, but this one was blocked by freshman Cameron Brown, setting up a Penn State field goal to cut the lead to 21-17.
From there it seemed as if Ohio State, stunned in real time, hadn’t a clue what or where to go. Barrett’s QB under pressure experience faltered, primarily due to the usually reliable offensive line’s protection – which failed this evening.
Tyler Durbin was sent out to go for a field goal at the end, and, arguably it all looked rather rushed. There was certainly more going on – on the Buckeyes sideline that we will ever know. It appears as if I am searching for an excuse, which is probably true. What happened at the end of this game – simply should have never happened.
Admittedly, I am not a Warriner & Beck fan, reference offensive call-playing. But who am I? I am simply arm-chair. But as I see it the Buckeyes have an explosive offensive, with players that all will be in the NFL soon. The call-playing is way too conservative. It oddly gives a presentation of zero trust in their talent. I could accept a loss if there was questionable talent, or if circumstances presented were of astronomical deliveries of the opposition … but tonight none of this happened. PSU played well, hard-nosed, that’s all. The Buckeyes lost this game because they did not play to their potential. In this I blame Warriner, Beck and Urban for not stepping up and taking control.
What does this all mean? As a Buckeye fan I am hugely disappointed. Of course I wished it had gone more positively for the Buckeyes. But it didn’t. It all now gives credence to the mission of educating Harbaugh in The Shoe.