After a huge win in Columbus two years ago, the Penn State Nittany Lions reverted to their old ways in getting trounced by the Ohio State Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium. The story was different than previous ones as Matt McGloin led Penn State to a 14-3 lead with two first half touchdown passes. Those TD throws were the first by Penn State at the Horseshoe in nearly 50 years. Things were looking great for the Nittany Lions, but failing to convert 4th and 1 near the Buckeyes 20 yard line, after having gone 2 for 2 in 4th down conversions earlier in the game, was the beginning of the end. Watching with my dad, he thought it was the right decision, I disagreed. We both agreed that running outside was the wrong decision. Though the Buckeyes would not score before halftime, they got the big stop that got the crowd in it. I think a successful field goal would have helped Penn State, but ultimately, Ohio State took control early in the second half and those extra 3 points would not have meant much.
The Buckeyes adjusted well at half-time and got their offense going with Terrelle Pryor and Dan Herron picking apart the visitors on the read-option. It was essentially a play-action run that got the Penn State defense to hesitate every time. It seemed every time they ran it, OSU got 8 yards. The 14-3 lead quickly became a 14-10 lead and then a 17-10 deficit. Then, as happens so many times in Columbus, the Penn State quaterback throw interceptions for touchdowns. Twice, Ohio State bated McGloin into making bad throws that went for six the other way. After playing so well in the previous two games and the first half, McGloin was Morellian in the second. He did not have much help either, the playcalling was not quite as a aggressive and he was without Evan Royster and Stephfon Green in the backfield, both felled by leg injuries. Silas Redd has thus far been an exciting change of pace back, but against a powerful Ohio State team, he was unable to shoulder the load. A cut on his hand may have also limited McGloin’s effectiveness. Then of course there was the “Dan Persa’s mom treatment” he was getting from ESPN. If you had played a drinking game based on the times west Scranton or moxie was used in the first half, you would have needed your stomach pumped at halftime. It was as excessive as the many shots of Northwestern’s quarterback’s mother the week before. Oh and too bad about the Achilles tendon, Persa. I am sure the Buckeyes fans were just frothing at the mouth in the second half, loving every McGloin miscue after the “televised deification” he did not seek ruled the first half.
Penn State also struggled on defense when Mike Mauti injured his shoulder. Hopefully, he’s back soon, because he had really emerged as a leader and a force. He’s got future captain written all over him. Ultimately, though, Ohio State won because they have a better team right now and as much as I hate to say it, a better program. It is just the way it is and something we have to reluctantly and angrily accept until Joe Paterno moves on or the NCAA catches up with Jim Tressel.
Oh and did anybody notice that Ohio Stadium sounds just like Beaver Stadium? Guido D’Elia must be thrilled that he’s succeeded in making the Penn State football experience completely generic.