Penn State - 6
Ohio State - 14
I'm choosing to ignore the two late interceptions to Malcolm Jenkins and Antonio Smith since they were late in the game when Morelli was pressing to make something happen. 14-6 more accurately reflects the true result of the game.
The Lions entered the Shoe on Saturday without the pressure of high expectations. And they played accordingly. They were aggressive and loose.
The Lions started their first drive and went three and out. But the Penn State defense set the tone for the day on the Buckeye's third play from scrimmage. Troy Smith tried to get the ball deep but overthrew his receiver. Justin King outran Ginn for the ball and made an outstanding interception laying his body out and catching the ball at the Penn State 25 yard line.
Penn State came back trying to attack with the running game, They managed to get a first down, but then a deep pass by Morelli was deflected and intercepted by Laurinaitis. But Ohio State couldn't capitalize on the turnover and missed the field goal after the Penn State defense stopped them at the PSU 35. Both teams would then go 3-and-out over their next two possessions to end the first quarter.
The second quarter started with Ohio State making a good offensive drive. They strung together four first downs, but again stalled at the Penn State 37 and had to punt pinning the Nittany Lions at their one yard line. Penn State couldn't get out of the shadow of the goal post, but Jeremy Kapinos shifted the field position game back in Penn State's favor with a rolling 68-yard punt to give Ohio State the ball at their 31 yard line. Prior to the punt there was an odd sight as Joe Paterno sprinted down the sideline and through the endzone to the locker room. Later it was discovered he was suffering flu like symptoms.
On their next possession Smith found Ginn for a 12 yard play on first down, but then the Lions shut down the Buckeyes forcing another punt which rolled favorably for the Nits for only 28 yards. The Lions came out with their best offensive drive of the day. Tony Hunt carried the ball five times for 36 yards. The Lions were also aided by a pass interference call on a deep pass to Derrick Williams. Penn State drove down to the Ohio State 7 yard line before they ran out of downs and had to try a field goal. Kevin Kelly missed the field goal as the clock expired, but Ohio State ran into the kicker giving the Lions another chance. That kick rang true and the Lions went into the locker room with a 3-0 lead.
The second half started with both teams trading three-and-out series. Then Ohio State got the ball and Tony Pittman took over. They drove down the field handing Pittman the ball three times for 32 yards and using him on a screen pass for 19 yards. Pittman capped off the drive with a 12 yard run for the touchdown. (OSU 7-3)
Both teams would go three and out on their next two series. Then the Lions would get a first down before having to punt again. Ohio State could sense the Nittany Lions defense starting to tire, so they started feeding Pittman and started having success. He ended the thrird quarter with three consecutive carries for 18 yards.
The fourth quarter started with Troy Smith showing everyone why he is a Heisman candidate. On 2nd and 9 from the PSU 37 he rolled right and was being pursued by Tim Shaw. He spun around and reversed field buying himself a few seconds as another Penn State defender drew a B-line on him. Then Smith heaved the ball into the end zone and found freshman Robiski for the touchdown. (OSU 14-3)
Penn State came back determined to ride their best offensive player, Tony Hunt, down the field. Hunt carried the ball on eight of the next nine plays for 72 yards down to the OSU one yard line. But the Lions stalled again. On a fourth and goal attempt from the one, the inexperienced offensive line jumped offsides and forced PSU to kick the field goal. (OSU 14-6)
The Penn State defense stepped up again like they had all day and forced the Buckeyes into another three and out getting the offense the ball back on the PSU 8 yard line. The offense once again moved the ball well utilizing Tony Hunt on five of seven plays getting the ball out to the PSU 44 yard line. But then Morelli tried to force the ball into coverage and it was intercepted by Jenkins who returned it for a touchdown with only 2:31 to play. (OSU 21-6)
The Jenkins INT/TD broke the Lions back. Less than 90 seconds later Antonio Smith intercepted another pass and returned it for a touchdown breaking the Lions hearts. The game ended with a final score of 28-6, but it was much closer than that.
Offensive Player of the Game
For the second week in a row, Tony Hunt is the Black Shoe Diaries Offensive Player of the Game. Hunt was the best weapon the Lions had all day. Tony carried the ball 24 times for 135 yards. He also caught the ball 3 times for 12 yards. But all day long when the Lions needed the tough yards Tony was there. He nearly took over the game in the second half forcing Smith and Ginn to sit on the sideline while he moved the ball and wore down the highly touted Buckeye defense. Only the lack of passing balance stopped the Lions.
Tony Hunt - Offensive Player of the Game
Defensive Player of the Game
Justin King set the tone for the game on Ohio State's first possession. The Buckeyes tried to stretch the defense with a deep ball to Ginn on their third offensive play. But King outran Ginn to the ball and intercepted it on a fantastic catch. The rest of the day it was evident that Smith and Ginn were frustrated as the two only hooked up twice for 15 yards. King has also shown great improvement in his tackling since we saw him getting run over by Kennedy in the Akron game. He contained Ginn to zero yards after the catch and made a fantastic open field tackle on Pittman to end the third quarter. Had he missed that tackle Pittman would have got some major yards as King was out there all alone. For his fantastic play, Justin King is Black Shoe Diaries' Defensive Player of the Game.
Justin King - Defensive Player of the Game
Special Teams Player of the Game
Every time the Penn State offense sputtered, Jeremy Kapinos bailed them out with a fantastic punt. Kapinos punted six time for an average of 50.5 yards including a great rolling punt for 68 yards. All of his punts pinned Ohio State inside their 30 yard line. Three landed them inside the 20, and two landed inside the 10. None of them went for touchbacks. Jeremy Kapinos is Black Shoe Diaries Special Teams Player of the Game.
What Went Well
The Penn State defense stepped up and proved they can play with anyone in the country. They held the high powered Ohio State offense to 14 points. It was clear that the dynamic duo of Troy Smith and Ted Ginn were frustrated all day lone. Smith on the day went 12-22 for 115 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT. Very un-Heisman like numbers. So far the Penn State defense is the only defense to intercept Smith all season.
Tony Hunt and the Penn State offensive line erased the asterisk from the outstanding rushing performance against Youngstown State. It's clear the offensive line has arrived and Penn State can go on to have success rushing the ball against good defenses.
What Needs Work
Anthony Morelli still looks uncomfortable running the offense. His two turnovers at the end of the game were the difference. He just keeps making too many rookie mistakes. He's locking on his receivers, holds the ball too long, and often throws behind his man. These are all signs of a quarterback that just hasn't seen enough snaps.
Some people are calling for Daryll Clark to replace Morelli as the starting quarterback. I would like to say something to these people. Shut up! Daryll Clark is not ready to lead this team yet. I bet you're the same people who were calling for Morelli to replace Michael Robinson after four games last year. How smart does that decision look now?
I don't want to take anything away from Daryll Clark. He looks like an exciting player and I'm sure he's going to have a bright future for the Lions. But he sat out all of spring practice and was #4 on the depth chart going into the fall. He needs to get some more work other than one or two series when the game is in hand. Right now the best chance the Nittany Lions have of winning is with Morelli playing quarterback and getting experience. But having said that, if Morelli comes out and really struggles against Northwestern next Saturday, I might be interested in seeing Clark play a meaningful series or two.