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Buckeyes stop Nittany Lions

October 28, 2012
By JIM NAVEAU - Special to the Herald-Star

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -Penn State might have a NASCAR offense, but it was Ohio State that had the fastest car in its 35-23 football win over the Nittany Lions on Saturday night.

The NASCAR offense label came from the no-huddle, hurry-up offense Penn State had used to win five games in a row before playing OSU.

The fastest car? That would be Braxton Miller, who ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 143 yards and another score for the No. 9 Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten).

After falling behind 7-0 in the second quarter on a blocked punt its third of the season OSU built a 28-10 lead by scoring four touchdown in a span of just over 15 minutes by late in the third quarter.

Penn State (5-3, 3-1 Big Ten) never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

Miller put an exclamation point on the Buckeyes' offensive outburst with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 21-10 late in the third quarter that was more exciting than anyone would expect a 1-yard score to be.

When he attempted to hand the football to running back Carlos Hyde, he found a Penn State defender already in Hyde's face in the backfield, forcing him to improvise.

The improvisation started with the sophomore quarterback stepping forward, taking step back, then starting toward the end zone and finally capping it with a dive for the touchdown.

"We work on that. We have a drill-make seven people miss and then dive across," OSU coach Urban Meyer said, with a laugh. "I didn't see it but basically the conversation on the headset was, 'Oh my God.'" Miller said, "A touchdown was five yards away and I've got to do what I've got to do to get a touchdown."

Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin completed 27 of 45 passes for a career-best 327 yards and two touchdowns.

But Ohio State's offense pressured him (4 sacks) and held Penn State's running game to 35 yards overall, putting almost all the offensive burden on McGloin.

"We brought five (pass rushers). We pressured more than we have all year," Meyer said.

Penn State took a 7-0 lead with 6:15 left in the first half when Mike Hull blocked Ben Buchanan's punt and Mike Yanich recovered it in the end zone.

It was the third time Buchanan had a punt blocked this season and the second of those that has resulted in a touchdown. Ohio State has had five punts blocked in its last 22 games.

After struggling to move the ball early and dealing with poor field position, Ohio State drove 75 yards in 12 plays and even the score at 7-7 on a 1-yard run by Carlos Hyde with 34 seconds left in the first half.

Hyde (55 yards) and Rod Smith (48 yards) combined to give OSU 103 yards out of the running back position.

But it was two big defensive plays by sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier that turned the momentum Ohio State's way in a big way. On the second play of the second half, Shazier sacked McGloin for a nine-yard loss. Then on the next play he intercepted McGloin and took the ball back 17 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

"As soon as Shazier got that pick, we kind of got the momentum and went right from there," wide receiver Jake Stoneburner said. "We went no-huddle the whole second half and kind of caught them off guard and tired them."

After a short field goal by Sam Ficken cut the lead to 14-10, Miller scored on a pair of 1-yard runs at the end of back-to-back long drives.

Almost any chance of a Penn State comeback disappeared when Miller and Stoneburner hooked up on a 72-yard pass play for a touchdown that made it 35-16 with 6:11 to play.

Penn State got a touchdown with 1:41 to play but, unlike the Indiana game, the Buckeyes didn't make the following onside kick an adventure and closed out the game.

The win gives Ohio State a commanding lead in the race for the Big Ten Leaders Division title, the only title it can win while it serves its NCAA penance this season.

The Buckeyes are 1.5 games up on second-place Penn State and two games ahead of Wisconsin with three Big Ten games left on its schedule.

 
 

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