For the first time since 2005, the Buckeyes lost to Penn State in Happy Valley, ending Ohio State's road winning streak under Urban Meyer. The BSB staff gives you their main takeaways from the game below.
1. Ohio State probably isn’t a top-5 team right now…
Urban Meyer said it himself after the game, the Buckeyes aren’t great. This wasn’t an outstanding Penn State team, and only so much can be charged to the atmosphere at Beaver Stadium. And the Buckeyes getting back from Wisconsin at 5 a.m. last Sunday has nothing to do with this loss. In general, Ohio State needs to improve a ton, and that’s not something many would have though a month ago.
2. …But all the Buckeyes’ goals are still on the table
Yeah, no team wants to lose. The players and coaches were nothing short of miserable after the game. But, this coaching staff and a lot of these players have been in the same situation before, and the Buckeyes still control their own destiny. If Ohio State wins out, it will be in the Big Ten title game, and if the Buckeyes win that, they will be in the College Football Playoff once again.
3. O-Line Has Some Work To Do
The offensive line struggled often throughout the game to contain the Penn State pass rush. J.T. Barrett was constantly flushed out of the pocket due to the pressure the Nittany Lions were putting on him. The Buckeye quarterback was only sacked nine times in the first six games, but was sacked five times in the PSU game. He was forced to make plays with his legs on almost every play of that last drive as well. The obvious breakdowns by the line came on special teams. A blocked punt and a blocked field goal in one game? Wow. I did not see that coming. It was almost like it was too easy for PSU to get penetration on both blocks. Billy Price said after the game that the team will have to go back to the drawing board on some things and this aspect certainly has to be one of those.
4. Ohio State secondary is not perfect
Trace McSorley completed just eight of 23 passes, but man were the eight he completed big time completions. The majority of his completions came on back shoulder fades and quite frankly, jump balls that the Ohio State secondary failed to make a play on. Gareon Conley, Damon Arnette and Marshon Lattimore all were beat at times on back shoulder throws and jump balls that ultimately cost the Buckeyes points. The safeties for Ohio State were largely ineffective in the passing game, because the majority of the throws made by McSorley came between the numbers and the sideline, taking them out of the play.
5. Special Teams Are Not So Special For OSU
For an Urban Meyer coached team to have two blocked kicks in one game, something drastic has to have gone wrong. Whether it was the lack of effort in blocking, poor execution or both, the Buckeyes let the Nittany Lions get through on a punt and a kick, the latter of which cost the Buckeyes the game. Ever since Jim Tressel arrived in Columbus, special teams have been a major point of emphasis. Tonight, maybe for the first time in Meyer’s tenure at OSU, special teams cost them a game.