Despite a hard-to-stomach one point loss in the final plays of the game for a 39-38 final score, the Blue and White proved to the entire college football world that their high rankings this season are no fluke, and that Penn State Football is here to stay.
Proving this was none other than Heisman-contender Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) who logged a touchdown just 15 seconds into the first quarter. Barkley had fans on their feet with his 97 yard kickoff return, leaving Ohio State’s defense scrambling right from the start.
Less than five minutes later, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.) gave the Buckeyes another reason to scramble as he received a 13-yard pass from quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) and caught it in the end zone, avoiding the grasp of the defenseman who was closely guarding Hamilton.
Ohio State could only must a field goal in the first quarter, giving Penn State a hearty 14-3 lead heading into the second.
Things began to heat up in the second quarter with back-and-forth momentum swings.
Four and a half minutes in, Barkley made a beautiful 36-yard run for the team’s third touchdown of the afternoon, but it was quickly followed up by Ohio State’s first touchdown, making the score 21-10, too close for comfort.
A six yard run from McSorley into the end zone was just what the team needed to regain a more solid lead, but yet again, the Buckeyes rallied in the red zone and were able to convert to a touchdown, leaving the score at halftime a worrisome 28-17.
The third quarter was dominated by Penn State, and wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins (Hubert, N.C.) made a spectacular play, catching a 37-yard pass from McSorley and locking it in in the end zone for a 35-20 lead after the Buckeyes kicked a field goal.
As soon as the fourth quarter started it was clear that the Buckeyes had taken their game up a notch. Ohio State put tremendous pressure on Penn State’s offensive line, causing McSorley to be sacked more than once. The Lions used kicker Tyler Davis (St. Charles, Ill.) to lock in a 24 yard field goal with six minutes to go, but not before the Buckeyes had secured a touchdown of their own, bringing the score to 38-27.
Ohio State took advantage of its possession in the final moments of the game, clinching the two touchdowns needed to give the Buckeyes a one point lead and ultimately, the victory both teams worked so hard for.
Despite the one-point loss, Penn State should hold its head high. Last year, it was a miracle for the team to beat Ohio State. This year, although the Buckeyes were favored, critics no longer balked at the idea that a Blue and White team from Pennsylvania might just take down one of history’s biggest football programs. That in and of itself is major progress.
The Lions head to East Lansing this coming weekend for a noon kickoff against the No. 24 Michigan State Spartans, who have been known to give Penn State trouble. Tune in to Fox on Saturday to cheer on your Lions, who we all know are still winners in our book. We Are!