Penn State Football

Penn State upsets No. 2 Ohio State

psheehan@centredaily.com

Ohio State entered Saturday night with a remarkable 118-point second half differential this season.

The Nittany Lions knocked that down a bit on Saturday night.

Despite trailing by five at halftime and 14 at the end of the third quarter, Penn State — led by a Twitter-exploding, crowd-igniting blocked field goal returned for a touchdown with 4:27 left in regulation — pulled off a highly-improbably 24-21 upset of No. 2 Ohio State in front of a White Out crowd of 107,280 at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) were three-touchdown underdogs to the No. 2 Buckeyes (7-1, 3-1).

Penn State's biggest upset in years was generated by a chaotic fourth quarter.

After a 12-7 Ohio State lead at halftime, the Buckeyes came out of the locker room and scored first.

Samuel, Ohio State's leading receiver and second-leading rusher, had a handful of receptions at the time — but the Buckeyes had yet to hand it off to the versatile junior.

On Ohio State's second drive of the second half, the Buckeyes obliged, and it worked out for them.

Samuel picked up the necessary yards on a 3rd-and-2 and them some, bursting through the right side untouched and outpacing any nearby Nittany Lions for a 74-yard touchdown run with 10:10 to go in the third quarter.

A few plays later, after a Penn State three-and-out, the Nittany Lions' long-snapper overshot punter Blake Gillikin. The freshman punter fell on the ball in the end zone for a safety, giving Ohio State a 21-7 advantage.

Penn State bounced back. With 13:32 to go in the fourth quarter, McSorley dove for the pylon from two yards out for a critical touchdown scramble. Set up by a 37-yard rush by Saquon Barkley and a 35-yard pass to Saeed Blacknall, it slimmed the Buckeyes' lead to 21-14.

The Nittany Lions proceeded to hold the Buckeyes to a three-and-out, and Brown, a freshman linebacker, single-handedly blocked Cameron Johnston's punt. Penn State recovered on Ohio State's 28-yard line and settled for a 33-yard Tyler Davis field goal after stalling out in the red zone.

The Nittany Lions trailed by only four points.

On Ohio State's ensuing drive, the Buckeyes killed a bit of clock, working the ball down into Penn State territory. Buckeyes placekicker Tyler Durbin went out to attempt a 45-yard field goal.

The kick was a bit low, and Penn State safety Marcus Allen leapt and blocked the kick. Nittany Lions cornerback Grant Haley scooped the ball up and outran the Ohio State field goal unit for an electrifying 60-yard touchdown.

Davis' extra point gave Penn State a 24-21 lead with 4:27 left in regulation.

On Ohio State's subsequent drive, the Buckeyes faced a 3rd-and-10 on their own 42-yard line — that is, before Jason Cabinda acquainted himself with Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Barrett dropped back to pass, but the Nittany Lions brought pressure and Cabinda brought the dual-threat down for a 13-yard sack.

Timeout Ohio State. The Buckeyes were staring down a game-deciding 4th-and-23.

The result? Another sack. Defensive linemen Evan Schwan and Kevin Givens brought Barrett to the ground.

Penn State killed the clock from there with the victory formation.

After the evening's opening kickoff, the Nittany Lions got the fast start they wanted. Winning the coin flip and electing to receive, Penn State almost got on the board early.

Pushing down the field with tempo — highlighted by a 19-yard run by Barkley and a 26-yard play-action completion to Mike Gesicki up the seam — drove 53 yards, but stalled in Ohio State territory.

Penn State sent out Davis to attempt a 39-yard field goal, but his boot was blocked by Ohio State. It ended Davis' perfect career field goal mark.

The Nittany Lions held Ohio State short on 3rd-and-9 on the Buckeyes' first drive, forced a three-and-out on their second series, and a Brandon Bell sack generated another three-and-out.

However, Ohio State received some help on the subsequent punt. Nittany Lion returner John Reid muffed the kick, allowing the Buckeyes to recover on the Penn State 38-yard line.

Penn State's defense held firm, though, keeping Ohio State out of the end zone and limiting the opposition to a 33-yard field goal attempt, which Tyler Durbin buried with 14:55 left in the second quarter.

Ohio State added to its total later in the second, as a 26-yard completion from Barrett to tight end Marcus Baugh signaled the game's first touchdown. It capped an 11-play, 78-yard Buckeye drive.

However, Durbin shanked his extra-point attempt, leaving Ohio State with a 9-0 lead with 4:53 to go.

Durbin did convert a 30-yard field goal with 1:14 left until halftime, as Penn State's defense stood its ground yet again.

But the Nittany Lions responded.

Facing a 2nd-and-11 on the Penn State 46-yard line, McSorley rolled right to avoid a sack and heaved it deep for DaeSean Hamilton. The redshirt junior hauled it in for a 34-yard grab.

Two plays later, McSorley found Chris Godwin with a 20-yard, back-shoulder throw for Penn State's first score. Davis nailed the extra point to cut Ohio State's lead to 12-7 with nine seconds until halftime.

  Comments