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Turning Point: A Fumble Followed by a Dagger

Back-to-back back-breaking plays permanently swung momentum towards the Buckeyes

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

With 9:26 to go in the ball game, Penn State had retaken the lead at 21-16 after Kaytron Allen trucked his way into the end zone on 4th and goal. With a raucous Beaver Stadium crowd screaming at them, Ohio State’s quick-strike offense responded as C.J. Stroud starting from his own 25-yard line found Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka for big gains, followed by TreyVeon Henderson blazing through the middle of the line and racing 41 yards untouched to the end zone, putting the Buckeyes back ahead 23-21.

Okay, fine...The Buckeyes were due for such a drive, but there was still plenty of time left and the Nittany Lions had a golden opportunity to respond and reclaim the lead once again, showing the Buckeyes that they really could go punch-for-punch with them.

That response came in the form of Ohio State edge rusher J.T. Tuimoloau shoving Penn State offensive lineman Bryce Effner right into Sean Clifford as Cliff was going back to pass, forcing a fumble that Tuimoloau himself would pounce on at PSU’s 24. The very next play, Stroud hit his tight end Cade Stover, who rumbled to the end zone for another Buckeye TD.

In just 69 seconds, the game went from PSU leading by two and having momentum to OSU up nine and the Lions suddenly struggling to keep pace. Nice if you’re a Buckeye fan, but not so nice if you’re a Nittany Lion supporter.

PSU to their credit, did respond with a 44-yard field goal from Jake Pinegar to cut the deficit back to a one-score game, but by then, the damage had already been done, as the Buckeyes responded with another TD drive to put themselves up by two TD’s. The insult was added to injury when Cliff on the very next drive, threw a pick-six right into Tuimoloau’s hands. PSU tacked on a late touchdown to please certain degenerates by beating the spread but the Lions’ hopes of an upset evaporated with a fumble and a dagger on back-to-back plays.