Five Things We Learned: Ohio State
On Saturday, the Ohio State Buckeyes travelled to Beaver Stadium to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes, having the nation’s No.2 ranking and a 5-0 record, were heavily favored to beat the unranked Lions. The game started off fairly even, leaving the score at 0-0 during the first quarter. Then in the second quarter, the momentum seemed to shift to Ohio State as they scored two field goals and touchdown. They were leading 12-0 when Penn State scored leaving the game a close 12-7 at the half. The Nittany Lions were able to keep the game within two touchdowns when McSorley scored in the beginning of the fourth. Tyler Davis scored later in the quarter, and then with four minutes and twenty-seven seconds left in the game, the Blue and White’s special teams unit blocked a field goal which cornerback Grant Haley returned for a game-winning, 60-yard touchdown. After upsetting the undefeated Buckeyes, here are five things for the Nittany Lions to take away from the game:
1)Penn State needs a constant presence on the pass rush
While Penn State’s defense definitely had one of their best games this season, there is still plenty of room for improvement. The Nittany Lions defense had a difficult time bringing down the Ohio State quarterback, J.T. Barrett, as he was given ample time to throw the ball. They had two huge sacks towards the end of the game that were needed to win, but their inability to bring him down during the duration of the game resulted in multiple pass completions.
2)The third-down conversion rate needs to improve
Penn State's offense also had a phenomenal game, but their third-down conversion rate is far too low. Penn State is currently ranked 123rd in the nation for third downs, and coming into the game this season they had 30 third downs situations of greater than seven yards. The team is currently sitting at a 27% conversion rate, and 10/12 offensive series this game had a third and greater than seven. This needs to improve if the offense wants to continue its’ momentum. The Nittany Lions need to focus more on gaining yardage in the first two downs if they want to avoid getting into these third-and-long situations.
3)The defense played a heck of a game
The Nittany Lions defense played a great game and had an especially strong run defense. Ohio State may have finished with a total of 168 rushing yards, but the Nittany Lions were the only defense this season to stop the Buckeyes from scoring in the first quarter.
The pass defense also was able to stand its ground while making big plays. Even with Barrett’s ample amount of time to find an open player, the Lions did a great job of finding their coverage, causing 15 incompletions by Barrett. The quarterback was also sacked four times during the game, two of which were in the fourth quarter by Jason Cabinda, Kevin Givens, and Evan Schwan, securing the win for the Nittany Lions.
4)The Special Teams unit was a game-changer
The special teams unit, though starting the game off with a blocked field goal attempt and a fumble on a punt return, were able to redeem themselves with several blocks of their own, which included Haley’s 60-yard blocked field goal return touchdown. Ohio State had a total of 413 yards of offense while Penn State had 277, so statistically the Nittany Lions should not have won this game. However, their ability to beat the Buckeyes proves that stats do not always predict a win. One strong play, and a team’s will to fight can change the pace and cause a team to bring home a victory.
5) Penn State is a very resilient team
The resilience of the Nittany Lions was shown Saturday night as they defeated the No. 2 team in the country, leaving the Buckeyes with a huge upset. For this unranked team to comeback from a fourteen-point deficit and claim the victory, it proves that anyone can beat anyone on any given day. This was the first time Penn State, and unranked team, was able to beat a top two contender since 1964. Their efforts really changed the name of Penn State football for this season and for those still yet to come. This win means great things for Franklin and for the Penn State Football program. Beating the Buckeyes means the Nittany Lions are on their way up, and with the chance to bring in top recruits next year, there is strong promise for the seasons to come.
Claudia Hatch is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her please email, firstname.lastname@example.org.