Penn State gets creative on offense, remains solid on defense in rare Columbus win
Wins in Columbus have not been easy to obtain for Penn State since joining the Big Ten in 1993. So why should Saturday have been any different? Penn State used a creative offensive game plan, tightened up on defense after halftime, and took advantage of Ohio State miscues to hold on for a 20-14 victory in Big Ten Leaders Division play.
Penn State struck first on their first play out of the wildcat formation. Curtis Drake took the snap and handed off to senior Stephfon Green, who burst up the middle of the field for a40-yard touchdown on Penn State's game-opening possession. The score capped a drive that got started with Matt McGloin looking deep for Devon Smith and being helped with a pass interference penalty.
Anthony Fera's temporary career long 43-yard field goal in the first quarter gave Penn State a 10-0 lead after two offensive possessions.
Ohio State picked up their first points early in the second quarter when Braxton Miller dashed 24 yards to the right side of the field for a touchdown on a third and short for the Buckeyes but Penn State responded with another touchdown run by Green, who plunged in from a few yards out after being set up with a mixture of solid offensive plays. A 42-yard run by Silas Redd, a play-option pass to Derek Moye and a third play out of the wildcat by Bill Belton put the Nittany Lions on the doorstop to take the 17-7 lead.
Ohio State then capitalized on a McGloin miscue. Rolling to the right and throwing against his body, McGloin was intercepted to set the Buckeyes up for a short Miller to Jake Stoneburner touchdown pass. Fera kicked a 46-yard field goal before the half to cap the scoring in the game to give Penn State a 20-14 lead, which the defense held on to.
There was a questionable decision by Penn State in the third quarter when then Nittany Lions had a first and goal from inside the five-yard line. Penn State rushed four times up the middle and was unable to punch the football in to the end zone for a critical touchdown. Ohio State took over inside their own two-yard line and pushed the ball out past their own 20-yard line before fumbling the football away for a second time on as many possessions.
What Does it Mean?
Penn State's 20 points is the most scored in Ohio Stadium since joining the Big Ten. Penn State's previous high came a year ago when they scored 14 points. In each of the last four meetings in Columbus Penn State has increased their point total against Ohio State.
This was Penn State's second win in Ohio Stadium since joining the Big Ten. Penn State has won two of the last three games played at Ohio State.
Penn State kicker Anthony Fera kicked a career long 46-yard field goal in the same game he tied a career high of 43-yards.
Tom Bradley earns his first career coaching victory, and picks up the first win in the post-Joe Paterno era at Penn State. Bradley is now 1-1 after Penn State lost to Nebraska last week.
Penn State heads to Wisconsin next week for a game that will decide the Leaders Division championship and which team plays in the first annual Big Ten championship game. With Wisconsin beating Illinois 28-17 Saturday the result of the game at Ohio State became a non-factor in the division race.
Ohio State will wrap up their regular season on the road against rival Michigan. The two longtime rivals are protected rivals under the Big Ten's division format. Michigan will be going for a ten-win season in Brady Hoke's first season in charge, but will be locked out of the Legends Division championship after Michigan State clinched the division's top spot on Saturday. Michigan blasted Nebraska 45-17 at home.