Ohio State 63, Penn State 14: Autumn breeze
Buckeyes run for six scores in crushing victory
C.J. Barnett intercepts a Penn State pass.
Not content with 19 straight victories? Desperate for style points to sway national doubters?
Ohio State apparently got the message.
The Buckeyes dismantled Penn State, scoring touchdowns on six of seven first-half possessions and rolling to a 63-14 victory in Ohio Stadium.
The 20-game winning streak is the second-longest in Ohio State history. The Buckeyes won 22 straight from 1967-69.
The victory probably won’t bump Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) up from its No. 4 ranking this week, but a dominating performance against a credible opponent should quiet any talk that the Buckeyes are a paper tiger.
It was the most points Penn State (4-3, 1-2) has surrendered in a game since 1899 and matched the most lopsided margin in the 28 games played between the schools. Penn State routed Ohio State by the same score in 1994.
Although the Nittany Lions still are short-handed from the heavy NCAA sanctions leveled against them because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, they did defeat Michigan in four overtimes in their last game.
With Penn State coming off a bye week, Meyer expected the game to be a street fight.
It was a one-sided street fight. The Buckeyes had 414 yards at halftime and led 42-7.
By then, Carlos Hyde already had 130 yards rushing and Braxton Miller had 68 behind an offensive line that repeatedly opened gaping holes. Each ran for two touchdowns in the first half.
Miller was sharp again in the passing game. He completed 18 of 24 for 252 yards and three touchdowns before yielding to Kenny Guiton, who scored to finish a drive that made it 56-7 with four minutes left in the third quarter.
That the offense rolled isn’t a big surprise. It has been purring since Hyde returned from a season-opening three-game suspension and Miller returned from a sprained knee.
It has been the defense that has caused much consternation. Although it had forced two three-and-outs in Penn State’s first four possessions, Ohio State didn’t exactly shut down the Nittany Lions’ offense.
But it was opportunistic. Corey Brown intercepted freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the end zone to thwart Penn State’s first drive. Safety C.J. Barnett also had a first-half interception.
Those turnovers were all the Buckeyes needed to take a commanding lead. Ohio State took the opening kickoff and went 75 yards in seven plays, including a 36-yard pass to Devin Smith that set up Hyde’s 2-yard touchdown run.
After Brown’s interception, the Buckeyes were forced to — gasp — punt on their next possession. Cameron Johnston didn’t kick at all last week against Iowa.
But Ohio State got touchdowns on its last five possessions of the first half. Miller made it 14-0 on a 39-yard run, aided by fierce blocking by Smith for the final few yards.
Miller scored again on a 6-yard run following Barnett’s interception and then threw to Chris Fields for a 3-yard touchdown to cap a 60-yard drive to make it 28-0.
If Penn State had no answer for Miller’s elusiveness, they were as powerless against Hyde’s power on those rare times that the offensive line didn’t blow the Nittany Lions off the line.
Penn State finally scored on a 12-yard pass from Hackenberg to Brandon Felder, but the Buckeyes put the game away with two scores in the last four minutes of the half.
Hyde, who finished with 147 yards on 16 carries, ran 39 yards for the first score. The Buckeyes got the ball back with 55 seconds left in the half. Ohio State drove to Penn State’s 25 with 9 seconds left. Miller then zipped a pass to Brown for the touchdown to make it 42-7, making the second half a formality.
But the Buckeyes weren’t done. Freshman Dontre Wilson scored on a 26-yard swing pass to open the third quarter.
Guiton scored two touchdowns. After his 2-yard score, he scampered in from 11 yards midway through the fourth quarter to make it 63-7.
Penn State scored on a 65-yard reception by standout wide receiver Allen Robinson, who weaved through Buckeyes’ reserves for the score.