Buckeyes defeat the Nittany Lions in big rivalry game


Megan Mckay, Staff writer

The No. 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes hit the road to face No. 13 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions for an exciting Big Ten match-up on Saturday, Oct. 29. The Buckeyes entered the weekend with six wins and no losses, while the Nittany Lions endured their first loss in seven games a couple weekends prior vs No. 4 ranked Michigan.

ESPN Analytics predicted the Buckeyes over Penn State with 80% of the College Football Power Index vote. Penn State had the home field advantage with over 100,000 fans in attendance for the annual stripe out game. The Buckeyes got on the board first with a 38-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive.

The Nittany Lions followed with two interceptions. On the first attempt, the home team defense held strong to force a miss by the Buckeyes. However, in the final minutes of the first the second interception gave the Buckeyes a 10-0 lead with a 4-yard TD by Miyan Williams. Early in the second quarter the Nittany Lions had a good re-sponse with a 58-yard catch and run from Sean Clifford to Parker Washington to cut the Buckeye lead to 10-7. On the play, Washington made a glorious tackle and scored his second TD of the year and in the contest had a career high 179 receiving yards. He became just the second Nittany Lion in history.

Continuing their push in the second quarter on their next possession, the Nittany Lions found the end zone with a 23-yard pass to KeAndre Lambert-Smith to put Penn State up 14-10. The Buckeyes answered the call with a 37-yard field goal to close within one.

The third quarter didn’t have as much action and was very back and forth until Ohio State’s Noah Ruggles connected on an-other 40-yard field goal with 10 seconds in the quarter to take the lead 16-14. In the fourth quarter, Penn State converted inside their 10-yard line and Kaytron Allen followed with another conversion to give Penn State the lead 21-16 with less than 10 minutes in the fourth quarter.

In just over 30 seconds, the Buckeyes responded quickly with a 41-yard touchdown run by TreVeyon Henderson to put Ohio State in front again, 23-21. On the ensuing Penn State drive, Ohio State forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Penn State 24-yard line. A pass from C.J. Stroud to Cade Stover added another touchdown for the Buckeyes, bringing the score to 30-21.

With less than six minutes remaining, the Buckeyes defense held the Nittany Lions to just a 44-yard field goal to cut the lead to 30-24. Ohio State held strong and added up two back to back touchdowns after Penn State’s Sean Clifford’s pass was inter-cepted by J.T. Tuimoloau. Tuimoloau forced the inter-ception and cruised in for a TD. Tuimoloau, the sixth overall NFL pick put together a spectacular performance with six tackles. The Buckeyes lead increased to 44-24.

The Nittany Lions scored the game’s final touchdown as Clifford connected with Allen for a 5-yard score to make it 44-31 with 1:12 left. The scoring pass was the 78th of Clifford’s career, giving him sole possession of the Penn State career passing touch-downs record. The Buckeyes were able to run the clock out for the win. The final was Penn State’s 11th consecutive loss to a Top 10 opponent.

Penn State Coach James Franklin met in midfield to shake hands with Ohio State Coach Ryan Day to signal the end of a competitive rivalry game from the border battle. Despite nursing a fourth quarter lead the home team un-raveled to the undefeated Buck-eyes. According to an All Penn State FanNation article,

“This one’s a heart-breaker, just because we had our shots,” said QB Sean Clifford, a sixth year senior.

Penn State’s 4 turnovers to the Buckeyes 0 proved to be the game changer. Possession was even through-out the duration of the game but key plays from the Buckeyes shut down Penn State’s chance at a comeback. The Buckeyes lead the series 22-14 against the Nittany Lions.