OSU: Game Breakdown

The good (first half) as well as the bad and the ugly (second half) from Penn State's loss to the Buckeyes at the Horseshoe.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Penn State team captain Brett Brackett was asked about the difference between the first and second halves of the Nittany Lions' game against No. 9 Ohio State here Saturday.

“They put up more points than we did,” he said curtly.

Did the Buckeyes ever.

Penn State dominated the first half of the game in nearly every respect, and went into the locker room with a 14-3 lead. Quarterback Matt McGloin was a sizzling 13 of 18 for 141 yards and two scores.

In the second half, Ohio State picked up the pace and the Nittany Lions fell flat on their faces. And it wasn't just McGloin (who had two pick sixes) going cold. The entire team struggled.

With the 38-14 loss, Penn State fell to 6-4 on the year and 3-3 in the Big Ten. More troubling is the fact that all four losses this season have been by 20 points or more.

It seems team are not only putting up more points than PSU, but a lot more points.

The Buckeyes, meanwhile, improved to 9-1 and 5-1. Here is how it went down.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Sophomore wideout Justin Brown had five catches for 64 yards and a score. He also returned a punt eight yards.

CLOSE SECOND: Redshirt freshman Malcolm Willi's fourth-quarter interception of Terrelle Pryor at the PSU 2-yard line kept PSU within three, 17-14. He also had five tackles on the day.

TURNING POINT: Facing second-and-23 from his own 42, Pryor launched a prayer for wideout DeVier Posey. Lion DBs D'Anton Lynn and Drew Astorino had perfect coverage, as the pass was swatted away … and right into the hands of Buckeye receiver Dan Sanzenbacher for a touchdown and 24-14 OSU lead. The Lions went completely in the tank from there.

SOLID STRATEGY: The Buckeyes bashed Penn State's awful run defense with 43 carries for 320 yards. It is difficult to remember a Lion defense that was this consistently bad vs. the run.

NUMBERS GAME: Penn State held the ball for more than 18 minutes in the first half. Ohio State flipped that number in the second half, holding the ball for more than 19 minutes.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: For the third straight week, an opponent gashed that Penn State run defense. This time it was Buckeye tailback Dan Herron, who had 190 yards and a score.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Anthony Fera averaged 44.2 yards on six punts and had one downed at the 4-yard line.


• Penn State's poor tackling. Yes, Ohio State has some very gifted players on offense. But the Lions gave up way too many yards after contact.

• The Lion receivers coming down with a case of butter fingers in the second half. Derek Moye and Devon Smith both had key drops in this one.

• The crazy rash of injuries continuing for PSU. LB Mike Mauti did not play in the second half due to a shoulder issue. TB Stephfon Green was knocked out of action temporarily while blocking on a kick return.

HIT SQUAD: Willis jacked up Pryor on a third-quarter scramble.

HIDDEN HERO(ES): Penn State's offensive line did not give up a sack. Overall, it played a decent game. The skill players just did not execute in the second half.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Before being injured, Green carried twice for 18 yards, showing nice explosion. He also had a catch for 26 yards.


Sean Stanley made his second start of the season at defensive end.

Jordan Hill was back at defensive tackle after starting two games at defensive end.

• DT Brandon Ware, who has spent most of his career in Joe Paterno's doghouse, saw action late in the game.

• The Ohio Stadium PA man asked fans to congratulate Paterno on winning his 400th game last week. He got a nice round of applause.

• Paterno combated Tressel's trademark sweater vest with a sweater of his own -- a blue V-neck

• Former PSU defensive back Adam Taliaferro, who sustained a serious neck injury here in 2000, was on the Penn State sideline.

• Scouts for the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants talked at length with PSU speed coach Jeremy Scott before the game.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Can the Lions close with two wins to get to 8-4 on the season?

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