COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a 63-14 loss, Penn State’s defense clearly had its deficiencies. The most glaring of those was allowing big plays.
Ohio State gashed Penn State for 11 plays of 20 yards or longer for 311 yards. That was nearly half of the 686 total yards the Buckeyes gained.
At times it looked as though the Nittany Lion defense wasn’t on the same page. Linebacker Mike Hull said he felt they were, most of the time.
“For the most part I feel like we were. A couple plays here and there we weren’t,” he said. “They just made big plays. They got open in coverage. Whenever you have to add an extra defender in the box, it makes it tough. You have to play man coverage and you can have a lot of breakdowns.”
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One or two breakdowns are to be expected, Hull said.
“It just happens throughout the course of a game and they’re a good team so they’re going to take advantage of it,” he said.
“We’ve just got to play as a unit, we’ve got to get on the same page and we’ve got to come ready to play next Saturday.”
On this Saturday, it seemed like Ohio State took advantage of every miscommunication, every breakdown, every mismatch.
Four of those 11 plays went for touchdowns:
• Braxton Miller broke free for a 39-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
• Carlos Hyde rumbled 39 yards for a score in the second quarter.
• Miller hit Corey Brown for 25 yards and a touchdown to end the first half Buckeyes scoring.
• Miller then hit Dontre Wilson for a 26-yard scoring strike to open the Ohio State scoring in the second half.
Five other big gainers came on passes from Miller. He hit Devin Smith for gains of 36 yards (setting up the Buckeyes’ first score), 22 and 20 yards. Miller connected with Brown for a 23-yard gain.
Then, when the game was out of reach, the Buckeyes gashed Penn State for two more long runs. Jordan Hall sprinted 41 yards and Cardale Jones added a 20-yard run.
Put it all together and 11 plays added up to 311 yards gained. That’s a whopping average of more than 28 yards per play.
No team, no matter what level, can be expected to survive an onslaught like that.
Penn State surely couldn’t on this night.
It added up to the most points allowed by Penn State since 1900. The Nittany Lions allowed 106 points at Lehigh on Nov. 11, 1889 and allowed 64 points to the Duquesne Athletic Club on Nov. 25, 1899.
It also added up to the most yards ever allowed by a Penn State team — 686. The previous mark was 656 against Boston College in 1982, a 52-17 Nittany Lion win.