9-2 Overall, 6-1 Conference, 4-0 Pig Division. With this win, Penn State beats out both Kevin and my preseason predictions of 8-4. Always happy to be wrong if it's on the happy side of the equation.
This American Life. The critically acclaimed radio program visited Penn State two years ago, shortly after PSU was named the #1 Party School. They returned to Happy Valley in the wake of the Sandusky scandal to find a very different, yet quite similar atmosphere. Well worth a listen.
Wildcats. As we know by now, Bill Belton and Curtis Drake ran Wildcat-type schemes in high school with great success, but give Tom Bradley credit for ordering Jay Paterno and Galen Hall to install the Belton/Drake packages into Saturday's offense. Perhaps is an easier call to make for a coaching staff with little to lose, but it's hard to imagine Joe Paterno making a similar decision -- especially in a venue where hyperconservatism has always ruled the day for Penn State. Neither Belton nor Drake threw a pass, but their impact on the game was obvious. If there was ever a time to trot out the sports cliche, "gave 'em a spark", it was during the first half in Columbus.
Balanced Like A Drunk In An Earthquake. Penn State's first down playcalls? 21 runs, three passes. When Penn State runs for 6.1 yards per carry in Columbus, however, we shouldn't complain.
Special. Game MVP, Anthony Fera? There's a compelling case to be made. He nailed two 40+ yard field goals, and with the help of excellent coverage teams, kept Jordan Hall from making any impact in the game. Hall returned two kickoffs for a total of 48 yards and had absolutely no punt return yards.
Moxie-ish. McGloin was good enough. He helped move the offense with several nice throws early, and threw only one interception. Nobody will ever refer to it as a quarterbacking masterpiece (10-for-18, 1 INT, 88 yards) but McGloin now has something very few Penn State quarterbacks can claim: a win at the Horseshoe. And as pointed out by one of the JoePa's Doghouse guys (I think) on Twitter, the graduating seniors at Penn State can claim a winning record in Columbus. Not bad.
Sean Stanley Was Covering An Eligible Ohio State Receiver Approximately 184 Yards Downfield. That is all.
Tom Swagley. I will admit this much. While watching the game in a Harrisburg bar with PennLive's Michael Sedor and Conor Nelson, I'm fairly sure I referred to Tom Bradley's decision to run the ball on 4th and goal at the OSU 1 "a 50/50 call". So I understood it at the time -- go for the two-touchdown lead and even if PSU fails, Ohio State starts at the one, etc. It was balls over brains, and maybe that's what Penn State needed from a psychological standpoint. I'm still not entirely sure what the correct call is in that scenario. I'm sure there plenty of statistics out there (expectation on 4th-goal at the 1 vs. 19 yard field goal, and so on down that road) and if anyone can dig those up, I'd be wildly interested from a wacky game theory perspective. But really, Tom, make it a two-score game.
Or, Better Yet. Don't run two crappy fullback dives that everyone knows is coming, followed by sending McGloin sqirming into two pinched Ohio State defensive tackles. That's the real issue here.
Woof. Ohio State didn't sniff Penn State's side of the field before the final drive in which Braxton Miller's swan dive came up a yard short of the first down marker. Here's how far Ohio State made it on their second half drives: own 40, own 11, own 46 (that was after the goal line stand), own 32 (following Fera's coffin corner punt), PSU 32, own 28. Barely even made it into field goal range. Amazing work by the PSU defense, again.
Dear Braxton Miller. Please never learn how to throw the football, because my heart won't be able to take it.
Overdramatic As Ever, But Still Fun.
All told, a powerful statement by a focused group of players and coaches in the face of unimaginable turmoil. Being away from home almost certainly helped in this one. Be proud, one and all.
Your favorite moments, statistical anomalies, complaints, kvetches, and compliments from Saturday -- as always, welcome in the comments.