23 September 2006

Final: Ohio State 28, Penn State 6

My prediction: Ohio State 31, Penn State 17
Final score: Ohio State 28, Penn State 6

Penn State opened up the second half with a big defensive play, as Dan Connor picked off a Troy Smith pass that was tipped by Ed Johnson. However, the Nittany Lions were unable to capitalize on the turnover and Kevin Kelly missed a 42 yard field goal.

Ohio State responded immediately with a drive down the field to score a touchdown by Antonio Pittman and take the lead. Penn State was unable to move the ball at all during the third quarter.

Ohio State finally found the big play at 12:56 of the 4th quarter when Troy Smith scrambled and found Brian Robiskie in the end zone. Penn State responded immediately and Tony Hunt broke a big run that ended inside the 10, but the Nittany Lions stalled and committed an unthinkable penalty on 4th and goal at the 1 and had to settle for a field goal.

Penn State stopped Ohio State on a huge third down play with 6 minutes to play in the game. After getting the ball back, Anthony Morelli ran a quarterback sneak to covert a huge 4th and inches. However, Morelli then through an INT that was returned 61 yards for a touchdown to drive the dagger into Penn State's heart.

Morelli was a very respectable 16-25 but for only 106 yards. The three INTs hurt bad, accounting for 14 Ohio State points. Total yards were 252-236 in favor of Ohio State, demonstrating how well both defenses played. Penn State actually out-rushed Ohio State and gained more first downs. The statistics alone, minus the score, show how close the game really was until the last few minutes.

Both teams played a heck of a game. As I expected, the game came down to mistakes and unrealized opportunities. Unfortunately, Penn State made more mistakes and did not capitalize on Ohio State's few mistakes. They were unable to convert good field position into touchdowns and had to settle for field goals. Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins interception return for a TD sealed the win for the Buckeyes. On the next series, Antonio Smith returned another interception for a TD; and thus the final score did not reflect how close the game actually was. Those two INT returns for TDs also put Ohio State over the 16.5 point spread, which was the last hope I had for the Nittany Lions. This game reminds me a little bit of last year's game in reverse.

Penn State played with a lot of heart. Unfortunately, heart wasn't enough to win this game. Hopefully this team can learn from this experience and apply it to the rest of the schedule. Michigan will be a tough game, but the rest of the schedule is winnable. This was a very tough schedule early, but things should start looking up for Penn State in the next few weeks.
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