Captain's Corner - PSU game thoughts

Winning close games in the fourth quarter is a priority at Ohio State, and the Buckeyes were able to do it once again.

At the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, you hear about different team goals. These goals always seem to include graduation, winning the National Championship, winning the Big Ten, winning the Rose Bowl, and winning all games played at the Horseshoe. One other goal that always stood out was "Win all games determined in the fourth quarter." Coaches make a point of emphasizing that. Coaches realize even the best teams have games that go down to the wire. In the fourth quarter, you need to play smart. You need to be well conditioned. You need to convert your third downs. You need to take care of the ball. You need to manage the clock. The list goes on. Great teams constantly talk about winning those games that go into the final quarter. No coach in America has done a better job of pulling out games in the fourth quarter than Jim Tressel.

Add another classic to the OSU-PSU rivalry…and yes, it is a rivalry. Both sides played good football. We made a few sloppy mistakes, but for the most part we played real well. Penn State has had a legitimate chance to win every football game they've played this year. They are in no way a bowl team, nor are they a team on the top half of the Big Ten, but they match up well against the Buckeyes. In addition, Penn State goes after Michigan and OSU with everything they have. Those factors along with a rowdy home crowd on a nationally televised game made for a dogfight.

You have to be happy for Scott McMullen. He could have had a bad attitude since Krenzel won the job. Instead, he decided to have fun and stay upbeat about his OSU playing days. Aren't we all glad he didn't fold the tents with his career? Many people would have done that. In this day and age, you need two quarterbacks. While a platoon system isn't necessary, a quality back up is an absolute must. You are a throwing hand on the helmet away from losing your top guy. Whether it is Zwick or Smith down the road, the second teamer better be darn good because we will need him at some point.

Yes, McMullen is capable of providing things Krenzel cannot. McMullen has a quick release. McMullen puts tremendous pop on the ball. McMullen pulls the trigger in tight situations. On the flip side, Krenzel avoids costly mistakes. Krenzel has great vision of the field. Krenzel seems to will the team to victory. These characteristics are not exclusives. Both guys can think, run, throw, and win, but each has their own little niche. The players, coaches, and fans all have faith in McMullen. Krenzel has been our guy (and will continue to be) because he has better intangibles than any other college football player in the country.

There has been a lot of conversation about Penn State embarrassing the Big Ten this year. I have heard many columnists and fans talk about the Nittany Lions being shipped off to the Big East where they belong. I hope people have changed their minds. They had 108,000+ in the stands to watch their team that hadn't even won a conference game yet. They have the second winningest coach of all time roaming the sidelines. The school stays out of NCAA investigations. On top of that, Paterno gushes about the great program OSU/Tressel has. They bring a nice element to the Big Ten. It was a great pick-up for the conference.

Michigan State and Purdue are the only games remaining. Michigan is a season by itself. All these games will go back and forth. We need to step when we have our chance. Against Penn State, we had a chance with 1:30 left in the third quarter with the ball on the 48. It was first and ten and we were down by three. We ended up punting three plays later. We are lucky we got another chance in the fourth quarter. We scored on an impressive eleven-play drive to give us a one point victory. This team did a great job of winning a game that was determined in the fourth quarter.

Buckeye Leaves…

Nate Salley - Nate made his presence felt. I love physical safeties. I love them even more when they are that athletic.

The Officials

Michael Jenkins - Does he sit around doing hand-strengthening exercises all day? Great game-winning touchdown catch.

Dustin Fox - Nice interception. On top of that, he kept the Penn State tight end in bounds on the second-and-six play on the final drive. The Penn State offense was rushed from that point on.

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