Three Thoughts: Penn State Game

It was one of the more memorable evenings in Ohio Stadium history Saturday night as the Buckeyes drubbed the Nittany Lions by a fitting 63-14 score. BSB editor Jeff Svoboda has some thoughts that stand out about the Buckeyes' win and what it means going forward.

1. The offense extinguished all of its options: This was the kind of performance that has to bring terror to the remaining opponents on the schedule as Ohio State used just about every weapon it had. Not only was Braxton Miller great on the ground, he was even more impressive in the passing game, going 18 of 24 and often making something out of nothing by escaping the backfield from Penn State's constant blitzes. He also showed more poise in the pocket than ever before, standing tall and delivering passes on schedule as receivers broke open – and man, did they break open. The Nittany Lions didn't have the athletes (or the coverage schemes, really) to match up against the Buckeyes targets out wide, as four receivers had at least four catches. Then there was a rushing attack that could have had simply run the ball up the gut whenever it wanted; add in Dontre Wilson's speed on the edge – he's becoming more a part of the offense each week – and all the weapons were there for the Buckeyes.

2. Big play defense is back: The defense wasn't perfect – it ceded some yards on the ground, for example – but it did make the big plays that haven't been consistently there over the past few weeks. Ohio State got to Christian Hackenberg four times before he was mercifully pulled from the game, forcing a fumble as well, and the Buckeyes made the Nittany Lions cough up three turnovers. Anytime the Buckeye defense can get the ball back to the offense, especially the way it is playing right now, it's a good thing. For a defense that has been described as passive over the past few weeks, this was a sorely needed performance of impact plays, and the Buckeyes admitted as much after the game. Noah Spence was dominating up front and the rest of the line was solid as well, while safeties C.J. Barnett and Corey Brown came up with big interceptions that helped alter the course of the game. Whenever the Nittany Lions threatened, especially early in the game, the Buckeyes had an answer.

3. What a night: It's hard to imagine a more perfect evening in Ohio Stadium. Each week I write the Game Analysis section of BSB, which includes a note about "What Went Wrong," but that is almost impossible to fill out this week. There are some things to nitpick – no pun intended against the Nittany Lions – but when your punter's first touchback of the season is one of the worst things that happens, complaining is pretty much out of the question. Ohio State finally has its statement win, the comprehensive blowout against a solid conference opponent that national pollsters likely wanted to see. In addition, a huge crowd of recruits was on hand and had to like the spectacle, and TBDBITL even put on another fantastic show. Other than the temperature – it was a bit chilly in Columbus – what wasn't there to like?

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