The Nittany Lions got off to a slow start against the Cornhuskers, which was to be expected in the surreal atmosphere that was Beaver Stadium on Saturday. But interim head coach Tom Bradley deserves a lot of credit for keeping his team composed throughout the day and in a position to tie the game up until the very end. Matt McGloin was inaccurate for the majority of the game completing just 16 of 34 passes, but led the team on two second half touchdown drives the put the Nittany Lions within three. He did so with limited production from the team’s most valuable offensive weapon in Silas Redd, who carried the ball just 15 times and suffered an injury to his collarbone. Stephon Green stepped up big in the loss carrying the ball 17 times for 71 yards and finding the endzone twice for both of Penn State’s scores.
Ohio State has held the advantage over Penn State in this rivalry here in recent memory, winning four of the last five matchups and eight of ten overall. Since joining the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions have come away with victory in just one of their nine trips to the Horseshoe. However, this Ohio State squad is not as dominating as they have been in years’ past, with their four losses this early in the year being the most since 2004. That team was led by a young and inaccurate Troy Smith at quarterback, and was not so different from this Braxton Miller led squad of 2011. Both teams were even headed into their final home contest fresh off a loss handed down at Purdue University. Hopefully that is where the comparisons will end, with the 2004 Buckeyes closing out the year by beating down rival Michigan at the Horseshoe. One other thing to keep in mind before getting excited about Ohio State being down this year is that even during their rebuilding year of 2004 they found a way to knock off Penn State.
In light of recent events that have taken place at the university, how the football team performs is no longer a primary concern nor should it be. But these current players are still on the verge of completing something special as they control their own destiny to win the Big Ten, and they should not have their achievements belittled because of the atrocious acts of those in power. The fan base did an honorable job supporting the team at home against Nebraska, and I fully expect for the players to once again have that same support from the Penn State faithful even as they head to a hostile Ohio State environment. This season may be the Nittany Lion’s last chance to win the Big Ten for quite some time, with football likely to take a huge step after this season as the university will shift its focus toward correcting much more important institutional issues.