Ohio State hands Penn State first loss of season in final seconds

Written by Garin Turner

(Photo Credit: Don Montague / The SkyBoat)

In what became an instant classic, the No. 6 Ohio St Buckeyes (7-1, 5-0 BIG 10) came from behind to defeat the No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1, 4-1) 39-38.  Ohio State trailed the entire game until they took the lead on a 16-yard touchdown pass from J.T. Barrett to Marcus Baugh with 1:48 left in the game.

“I have to catch it. It was a good ball, great position, just had to catch it and make up big for when I dropped the first one,” Baugh said.

Ohio State came back from two separate 18-point deficits which are the largest comebacks by an Urban Meyer coached team. Meyer now is 20-1 in October as the head coach at Ohio State.

Barrett completed 14 passes in a row to lead the comeback after being down 35-20 heading into the fourth quarter. Barrett had arguably the best game of his career going 33 for 39 for 328 yards and four touchdown passes.

“He’s a veteran quarterback who is protected very well and they have a lot of skillful players. We are usually able to get to quarterbacks just through pass rush or blitz but we weren’t able to do that tonight,” Penn State Head Coach James Franklin said.

Three of Barrett’s touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter.

“When it comes down to playing a Big Ten game with Penn State being No. 2 in the country, we knew someone had to make plays. We talked about it in the offseason. We were going to make plays and I think we have a lot of people on the team that have that burning desire to make good plays. I think that’s what you want in a team,” Barrett said.

Barrett set a school record with 423 yards of total offense which passes Art Schlichter’s record of 412 against Florida State in 1981.

For the sixth-consecutive game, the Buckeyes passed the 500-yard mark for total offense which extends the longest streak in the programs storied history.

Penn State started fast as they normally do, Saquon Barkley returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. After an Ohio State turnover, a 13-yard touchdown pass from Trace McSorley to DaeSean Hamilton brought the score to 14-0.

“They had a couple big plays that just kept giving them life. When you have a good team and you keep giving them life like that, they’re going to capitalize on it. We knew that, so we tried our best to keep on that and given any chance, we took care of business,” Ohio State defensive end Chris Worley said.

The Nittany Lions saw their streak of not allowing any first-quarter points ended when Ohio State connected on a 38-yard field goal which trimmed the lead to 14-3.

McSorley had a good day with three total touchdowns with two coming from the air. He finished the game 17 for 29 for 192 yards and the two touchdown passes. He ran 13 times for 49 yards and another score.

Barkley carried 21 times for 44 yards and a touchdown. He added four receptions for 23 yards in the game.

The Buckeyes overcame bad tackling and two turnovers, both fumbles to come away with the victory. Barrett was the leading rusher for the Buckeyes carrying 17 times for 95 yards. J.K. Dobbins added 88 yards on 13 carries. Mike Webber scored a touchdown as the Buckeyes ran for 201 yards on 39 carries.

Despite the high scoring game, the Buckeyes managed two sacks and 13 tackles for losses in the game. Dre’mont Jones recorded his first career sack in the win.  Denzel Ward blocked a punt for the Buckeyes. It was the first time the Buckeyes blocked a punt since 2014 against Kent State.

Things will get interesting as the season goes on. This game was built as a potential College Playoff Eliminator. The game puts Ohio State in control of the BIG 10 East. No. 16 Michigan State was upset by Northwestern in three overtimes, so Ohio State is the only team in the East without a loss in the conference. No. 4 TCU lost to No. 25 Iowa State, when the rankings come out on Tuesday, the BIG 10 could have two teams in the Top four. No. 5 Wisconsin ground out a win against the Fighting Illini. Ohio State might jump the Badgers in the rankings but both teams have a shot of being in the coveted Top four which will likely include No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Georgia.

The Buckeyes travel to Iowa next week, while Penn State will face their third ranked opponent in a row (as of press time) as they head to take on Michigan State.

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