Penn State woke up a little bit in the second half, but it was far too little, too late as the Buckeyes led wire-to-wire and solidified their status as one of the best teams in the nation.
So, without further ado, your three takeaways.
1. Jahan Dotson is a dude
Listen, I’m gonna start out positive for both my sanity and the sanity of you, the reader. We’ll get to the issues later, but for now we’ll focus on just how good Jahan Dotson appears to be. Dotson is the only Nittany Lions wideout with real experience and was great on Saturday night. He caught eight balls for 144 yards and three touchdowns, including one where he mossed projected first-round draft pick Shaun Wade and one prior where he went right over an Ohio State defensive back. Dotson showed he can get open, make plays in traffic, and fight through contact. As Parker Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith come along, Penn State might just have a solid receiving corps.
2. The Nittany Lions were badly unprepared
It really shouldn’t have taken until the second half the off the ball game for Penn State to show up. Sure, the Nittany Lions were pretty badly outgunned man for man, but they also looked lost early on. Lamont Wade is still an absolute mess on the back end, the offense was miscommunicating seemingly every other play. and Sean Clifford looked terrified by the speed of the game. Mix that in with a baffling lack of timeout usage before a delay of game at the OSU 10-yard line and we’re once again left wondering what the coaches did all week.
3. The gap is really big, and it’s getting wider
Personally, I think it’s a bit crazy to call for James Franklin’s firing or to even think PSU would be better with him gone. Never mind the fact that a cash-strapped athletic department likely isn’t landing anyone better right now, but Franklin has led PSU to its best five-year stretch in over two decades and that has to be worth something, right? That being said, it’s hard not to feel like the Nittany Lions missed their window of opportunity to really go toe-to-toe with Ohio State. The talented gap had been closing and in 2017 Penn State probably should’ve beaten the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe just based on pure talent. Since then, Ryan Day took over and Ohio State went from the best recruiter in the nation to somehow an even better recruiter. The gap in talent tonight was startling and if you look at recruiting rankings, it’s only going to get much larger very soon. That kinda sucks, and it’s fair to fans to be annoyed with it.