|Score by Quarters
||OSU - Ryan Pretorius 50-yard field goal
||PSU - Rodney Kinlaw 2-yard run (Kelly kick)
||OSU - B. Robiskie 9-yd pass from Boeckman (Pretorius
||OSU - B. Hartline 16-yd pass from Boeckman (Pretorius
||OSU - J. Ballard 15-yd pass from Boeckman (Pretorius kick)
||PSU - Kevin Kelly 27-yard field goal
||OSU - Ryan Pretorius 37-yard field goal
||OSU - M. Jenkins 24-yard interception return (Pretorius kick)
||OSU - Ryan Pretorius 35-yard field goal
||PSU - A.J. Wallace 97-yard kickoff return (Kelly kick)
UNIVERSITY PARK — For the vast majority of the last four seasons,
Penn State’s defense has been the bully. Saturday, against No. 1
Ohio State, it was bullied.
The No. 24 Nittany
Lions’ young and continuously improving defensive
line was stonewalled on passing plays and shoved roughly backward on
Their world-class linebackers found themselves making tackles
seven and eight yards down the field.
Their secondary, tenderized a week ago
by James Hardy and Indiana, could do little but watch as Ohio State quarterback
Todd Boeckman, with all
night to throw the football, perfectly spotted his passes.
The Buckeyes’ 37-17 win before 110,134 in Beaver Stadium was simple,
methodical and thorough — the formula they’ve used to win
27 straight regular-season games but one they had often struggled to
complete in Beaver Stadium, where they had won just two of their last
seven games. There were no such struggles Saturday.
Ohio State racked up 453 total yards — 284 in the first half — turned
three of its four red-zone opportunities into touchdowns and, thanks
to a staggering 75 percent third-down conversion rate, did not punt once.
“We couldn’t stop ‘em,” Penn State coach Joe
Paterno said. “That’s a good football team and they played
Boeckman, a first-year starter but 23-year-old junior, completed 19
of 26 passes for 253 yards and one interception and threw a touchdown
pass in each of the first three quarters. Tailback Chris “Beanie” Wells,
showing a terrific balance of power and speed, ran for 133 yards on 25
carries. Boeckman was taken down just once by the team that led the nation
in sacks going into Saturday, and his interception to Penn State linebacker
Dan Connor was the Buckeyes’ lone turnover against a team that
had forced more than two per game.
“They found some holes in our defense,” said Penn State
cornerback Justin King. “They were extremely balanced, they were
good, they picked up the rush, the running back wasn’t getting
touched until about six yards down the field.”
Penn State’s offense consistently moved the football against
the nation’s top defense, averaging a solid 5.4 yards per play,
but struggled to finish drives. And, because its defense couldn’t
keep the Buckeye offense off the field, had just nine possessions and
held the ball for just 22 minutes and eight seconds.
Quarterback Anthony Morelli was 12-of-21 for 111 yards and without an
interception until the fourth quarter, when Malcolm Jenkins grabbed a pass over
the head of Rodney Kinlaw and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown, a year after
returning a Morelli interception for a score in Ohio State’s 28-6 victory
Try as they might, using blitzes, stunts and even rare four-linemen, four-linebacker
formations, the Nittany Lions couldn’t force Boeckman into many mistakes.
“We didn’t get any pressure on him,” Paterno said, “And
when we did get after him, he did a good job of dumping it off.”
After Rodney Kinlaw’s 2-yard touchdown run capped a 9-play, 78-yard
drive by the Nittany Lions midway through the first
quarter, a well-protected
Boeckman threw a dart to Ray Small, who had several steps on Lydell Sargeant,
for a 60-yard gain to the Penn State 8-yard line. Three plays later, he found
Brian Robiskie (four catches, 59 yards) in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown
with five minutes left in the period, putting Ohio State ahead 10-7.
After Boeckman’s pass to Brian Hartline went for a 16-yard touchdown
early in the second quarter, Penn State went three-and-out. But eight plays later,
Connor intercepted Boeckman at Penn State’s 41-yard line, but the Nittany
Lions could only go 21 yards, electing to punt from the Ohio State 38 after Jordan
Norwood was stopped two yards short of the marker on third-and-6. The score remained
17-7 at halftime.
Penn State’s opening drive of the third quarter stalled at midfield,
and Ohio State quickly showed it had no intention of letting go of the game.
As the Buckeyes picked up a Penn State blitz, Boeckman lobbed a fade to the right
corner to Robiskie, who appeared to come down with the ball at the 1-yard line.
Officials reviewed the play — Ohio State’s players cheered; they
thought it would be ruled a touchdown — and overturned it, ruling that
King had batted the ball out of Robiskie’s grasp on the way down.
Two plays later, Boeckman made it a moot point with a pass to a wide-open
Jake Ballard, his towering tight end, for a 15-yard score that made it 24-7 with
6:03 left in the third quarter.
Morelli’s 10-yard pass to Norwood gave Penn State a first-and-goal
at the 8-yard line in the final minutes of the quarter, but again the Nittany
Lions stalled, settling for Kevin Kelly’s 27-yard field goal with 1:27
left in the half.
A pair of Ryan Pretorious field goals and Jenkins’ interception
return gave the Buckeyes 13 points in the final quarter. A.J. Wallace’s
97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was the game’s final score.
Kinlaw ran for a hard-earned 81 yards on 14 carries. Norwood led Nittany
Lion receivers with six catches for 43 yards but lost a fourth-quarter fumble
in his own territory.
Connor led Penn State with 18 tackles and fellow linebacker Sean Lee added
13. Most of those tackles were closer to the first-down marker than the line
of scrimmage, mainly because the Ohio State offensive line had its way with Penn
State’s rotating front four.
“We go through some things that aren’t supposed to happen,
but we’ve just got to live with it and keep playing,” said sophomore
defensive tackle Phil Taylor. “It was really our first real test. That
was the toughest line we’ve played so far. It really woke us up and opened
our eyes about a lot of things.”
The Nittany Lions, who lost at home for the first time this season and
just the second time in their last 21 games, will host Purdue on Saturday at
a time to be determined. (Written by Jeff Rice, CDT)