Offensive Onslaught Leads Ohio State Past Penn State
Early Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller and the Ohio State offense combined for 686 total yards of offense to propel the No. 4 Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0) to a 63-14 victory, over the Nittany Lions (4-2, 2-1). Miller was a threat both on the ground and in the air, going 18-for-24, with a career-high 252 yards passing in addition to 68 yards rushing.
It did not take long for the Buckeyes to show their offensive strength, with a very fast start at home, that included quick throws to the perimeters and stretching the Penn State defense.
Miller was able to find Devin Smith on a 36-yard play-action pass, before Smith was knocked out of bounds right before the goal line. Two plays later, Carlos Hyde capped off their opening drive with a two-yard run to give the Buckeyes the early lead.
In their first drive of the game the Nittany Lions were able to convert on third down, something that has been troublesome this season, with an Allen Robinson nine yard catch, with good block from Brandon Felder. But the Buckeyes were able to stop Penn State’s march down the field with a Pitt Brown interception from a Christian Hackenberg pass, intended for fellow freshman Adam Breneman. Brown’s interception was the Buckeye’s first red zone interception of the season.
The two teams would then trade off with three and out drives of their own.
In the Buckeyes ensuing drive that was heavy on runs by Hyde, it was Miller that would take it himself into the end zone for a 39-yard run for the second score of the game. The score was Miller’s first rushing touchdown of the season.
Penn State’s next drive was bad from the start as Ohio State’s Noah Spence was able to get through the Nittany Lions offensive line and get to Hackenberg and force a fumble. The fumble would end up being recovered by Penn State, but the next play Hackenberg would end up underthrowing his receiver and CJ Bennett would come up with the second interception of the quarter.
The Buckeyes quarterback picked up where he left off to begin the second quarter. Miller would keep the ball on the ground again himself and grabbed his second rushing touchdown of the half, to put Ohio State up 21-0.
Miller then stepped up in the pocket on 3rd and 10 with pressure from the Nittany Lions defense to find Smith for a 22-yard catch that helped set up their fourth score of the game. Two plays later, a wide open Chris Fields reeled in a short three-yard touchdown.
Without a first down since the 8:30 mark in the first quarter, Bill Belton’s two-yard run did just that and gave Penn State a much-needed first down. Then a horse collar tackle on a Belton catch-and-run helped set up the first and only Penn State touchdown to get the Nittany Lions on the board. Hackenberg was able to elude pressure from Spence and able to get just enough on his pass to find Felder for a touchdown and make it 28-7.
Nevertheless, the Buckeyes continued their offensive onslaught right after the Nittany Lions showed a sign of life. Dontre Wilson’s 49-yard kick return gave Miller and Ohio State offense great field position. Hyde then added his second rushing touchdown with a 39-yard run on the second play from the scrimmage. He would finish his night with 147 yards on the ground on 16 attempts.
The first half scoring would not stop there for Ohio State with Miller finding Corey Brown on a late 25-yard pass to make it 42-7 and the Buckeyes would take that score into halftime.
If the game did not already look like an atrocity, Zach Zwinak would continue the woes for Penn State with a fumble that would set up Miller’s third and final touchdown pass of the game to Wilson.
After that point, Tyler Ferguson would take over at quarterback for Hackenberg midway through the third quarter. The freshman finished his uneventful night with only 112 yards passing with two interceptions.
Buckeyes backup quarterback Kenny Guiton would then come in for one play towards the tail end of the third with Miller lined up at receiver. Guiton then joined in on the blowout with a two-yard run of his own. He would follow that up with another score up the middle that made it 63-7 Ohio State.
Six different Buckeyes wound up finding their way into the endzone.
With the game well out of reach, Allen Robinson weaved his way throughout the field for the longest play from scrimmage for the Nittany Lions on the season for a video game-like 65-yard touchdown.
Penn State will return back home to face Illinois on November 2. ComRadio’s coverage of the game will begin with the Tailgate Show live from the All Sports Museum outside of Beaver Stadium.
Ross Insana is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.