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Position Grades: Ohio State

(Sigh) Let’s just go ahead and rip off the Band-Aid.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that absolutely sucked yesterday. Let’s just move along and grade this

Quarterback: D

The only good thing I can say about Drew Allar’s performance yesterday is that he didn’t turn the ball over. By far, it was his worst outing in a Nittany Lion uniform as his passes either sailed past his targets or were thrown to receivers who were covered like blankets due to an inability to gain separation. You can tell the kid is an absolute competitor from how emotional he was in the postgame press conference, fighting back tears, and he will certainly have better games ahead.

Running Back: C

On PSU’s third drive of the game, Nick Singleton ripped off back-to-back runs of 20 and 16 yards, respectively, to put PSU inside the Buckeye 30 yard-line. So naturally, Mike Yurcich decides to go away with what was working and try to have an overtly-amped up Allar throw a couple of passes, resulting in a sack and an incomplete pass, before Singleton gained several yards on a carry to set up a game-tying field goal. Singleton and Kaytron Allen both carried the ball nine times apiece while PSU threw the ball 42 times. Really playing to the team’s strengths, right there. /s

Wide Receiver: D

KeAndre Lambert-Smith led the way with six catches for 52 yards, but just like his other fellow wideouts, getting separation was a challenge, which led to OSU being able to play up close defensively, knowing there was nobody who was going to beat them deep, or even on intermediate routes. Kaden Saunders did catch PSU’s lone touchdown late in the game, so perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to get him some more snaps going forward.

Tight End: C-

Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren had a couple catches each, but also had some drops, as the tight ends left a little more to be desired.

Offensive Line: C

Not as bad as some fans made them out to be, but it wasn’t a good day either, for the O-line. Allar did have his share of time to throw, but that doesn’t matter when you have the worst wide receiver room amongst Top 10 teams. Like clockwork, OSU’s J.T. Tuimoloau also came up with a clutch play in the fourth quarter, getting a piece of Allar’s arm as he went back to pass on fourth down at midfield with PSU desperately trying to stay alive.

Defensive Line: A-

One side of the ball you can’t blame yesterday’s loss on is the defense. The D-line did well against a shaky Ohio State O-line in generating pressure on Kyle McCord at times and was also able to make sure OSU’s stable of running backs never burst off any explosive plays. Adisa Isaac also came up with half a sack. You have to feel awful for Chop Robinson, who was forced to leave the game with an injury early in the second quarter. Hopefully, that’s not the last we’ve seen of him in a PSU uniform.

Linebacker: A-

Curtis Jacobs and Abdul Carter both led the team in tackles with nine each, and were instrumental in keeping OSU’s ground game in check. Had it not been for a defensive holding penalty, Jacobs would’ve had the most clutch play of the game with his fumble recovery TD that would’ve had PSU up 10-3 in the second quarter. Kobe King shared the other half of a sack with Isaac, but also had a costly “unnecesary roughness” penalty which was highly questionable.

Secondary: B+

While I realize Marvin Harrison Jr. was always going to get his share of catches and yards, it also wasn’t the best outing for Kalen King. Not to mention, King committed an absolute momentum-killer of a defensive holding penalty that negated the scoop-and-score. That being said, Johnny Dixon and Daequan Hardy balled out with their share of pass breakups, with Dixon also garnering a sack.

Special Teams: B+

Alex Felkins was money, nailing both of his field goal attempts from 40 and 41 yards, respectively. Riley Thompson averaged nearly 44 yards on his nine punts, including a pair of 50-plus yarders, and pinned OSU inside their own 20 five times (arguably Thompson’s best outing of the season). Daequan Hardy also had a nice 15-yard punt return to set up PSU with good starting field position, but also made a horrible mistake allowing a punt from the back of OSU’s end zone to go over him and bounce all the way inside PSU’s own 30, blowing a golden opportunity to give PSU’s offense a short field to work with.

Coaching: D

Manny Diaz’s defense did all that they could and seemed to have a good enough game plan, but even the best defenses can only do so much if the offense can’t get out of their own way: Enter Mike Yurcich, who had essentially three weeks to come up with a plan to utilize the talent available to attack this OSU defense, and all we got was a massive bag of flaming dog poop. Considering this is his third as offensive coordinator and that he’s now coaching his most prized QB recruit, this is completely unacceptable, and James Franklin may need to start having some difficult conversations with Yurcich, if he hasn’t already.

It also wouldn’t be a huge game without James making yet another controversial fourth down decision, choosing to go for it on 4th and 3 from near midfield on his own half of the field with seven-and-a-half minutes to go and PSU trailing 13-6. On the one hand, I understand that he was worried the defense was getting gassed and going to give up a score, but on the other hand, how about just trusting that your gassed but super-talented defense gets a stop, or maybe even a turnover?

Overall: D

Yes, it’s totally unfair to give out this grade considering the defense and special teams both did more than enough to win the game. However, my eyes are still bleeding from yesterday’s display of offensive ineptitude, and it is taking every ounce of restraint not to pour bleach into them.


I should preface this by saying that I loved Gus back when he used to call March Madness games on CBS and I even liked him for a while as a college football announcer, even when others were already hating on him. This year has just felt like a turning point though, and yesterday marked the first time that I either muted the broadcast or watched on YouTube TV’s multiview but with the audio on a different game, because I just couldn’t take it anymore with the “Maserati Marv” nickname he insisted on using for Marvin Harrison Jr. every time Harrison Jr. even farted in Gus’ general direction. Aren’t you glad FOX has the majority stake of Big Ten media rights???