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An Atrocious Offense

The Penn State defense did everything they could to stay in the game. The offense, not so much.

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Kenyatta Jackson Jr. (97) and defensive end Jack Sawyer (33) celebrate a sack of Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) during the second half of the NCAA football game at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won 20-12. Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Let’s keep this one short and sweet, since there’s no way around it. This was by far the worst performance on offense since the 2021 debacle against Illinois. The Penn State offense did not know what hit them, and Drew Allar looked exactly like the first-year starter in his third road game of the season against by far the best team he’s faced so far this year.

Things looked fine at the start, as the Nittany Lions were able to move the ball to score a field goal that would answer Ohio State’s own to open the scoring. Powered by three Nicholas Singleton runs for 42 yards, Penn State was able to drive 39 yards down the field and get on the board.

Halfway through the second quarter, Penn State would scoop a Kyle McCord fumble, return it for a touchdown, only to have the sequence erased by a defensive holding call on Kalen King. First down Ohio State. The Devin Brown package got stuffed, and the Lions looked to hold the Buckeyes to another field goal. Unnecessary roughness. A defensive touchdown for Penn State turned field goal opportunity for Ohio State turned touchdown for Ohio State would end up being the difference in the game. Penn State drove another field goal in before the half, but that four-point lead would prove insurmountable.

The third quarter saw more of the same, two great defenses doing everything they could to get the advantage. Chop Robinson, with an undisclosed injury, would leave the game earlier in the first half, but the Nittany Lion defense still held firm. Until the fourth quarter. It’s always the fourth quarter. After being on the field for half of the game, the signs of wear started to show. The Buckeyes tacked on a field goal to make it an even seven, then, one drive later, would score another touchdown that would cement the Lions’ defeat. In a desperation attempt to look respectable, Penn State would score their lone touchdown of the game with mere seconds left, would go for two and fail to convert, then, inevitably and expectedly, did not recover the onside kick.

Iowa, Northwestern, and Illinois all lost on Saturday. Beating Michigan and forcing a three-way tie at the end of the season is Penn State’s only hope now, but don’t bank on those three West teams doing the Lions any favors.

Stats and Storylines

Lies - If you looked at the box score, you’d see 191 receiving yards for the receivers. Don’t let the raw statistic deceive you. They were mostly ineffective for this game. When Allar wasn’t saling balls beyond their reach, they were dropping the ones he did deliver. This was a bad performance all around.

Speaking of sails - Allar’s 42.8 percent is the lowest since Sean Clifford’s 7-19 performance against Michigan a year ago.

0 - The quarterback has yet to throw an interception, however. He, in fact, as yet to produce a turnover of any kind. If there was a game for this to happen, this should have been it.

Chart for Penn State and Ohio State stats on their game played on Saturday, October 21st. The Nittany Lions lost the game 20 to 12.
1-for-16 on third downs tells the story.