The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, had built a bit of a reputation of their own prior to this game. Despite dealing with serious NCAA sanctions, PSU had proved to be a resilient squad.
But nothing held form on this chilly night in the Horseshoe. There were no late-game heroics by OSU because well Urban Meyer's outfit didn't need 'em. The Buckeyes blew out at a 28-0 lead in the second quarter.
And that pretty much eliminated any chance of Bill O'Brien's crew bouncing back. It was 42-7 at the half on the way to a 63-14 statement victory by Ohio State (8-0, 4-0).
Penn State (4-3, 1-2) fell for the second time in three games, road defeats to Indiana and the Buckeyes sandwiched around a quadruple OT home victory over Michigan.
The play of the teams' respective quarterbacks told the story in this one. OSU's Braxton Miller was 15 of 18 passing for 204 yards and two scores, and carried 11 times for 68 yards and two scores. This was in the first half.
Meanwhile, PSU freshman phenom Christian Hackenberg was not so phenomenal. Playing on his biggest stage yet, Hackenberg had two key first-half interceptions and connected on only nine of his first 19 passes. He was sacked four times.
In Hackenberg's defense, O'Brien said after the game that his QB was injured when he was slammed to the ground during a dead ball in the first quarter.
Here is what went on Saturday night.
MAN OF THE HOUR: RB Bill Belton made his first start of the season (in place of Zach Zwinak) and was one of the few bright spots for the Lions. He carried 22 times for 98 yards.
CLOSE SECOND: WR Allen Robinson never quit in this one. He caught 12 passes for 173 yards and a score. Unlike Belton, though, most of his damage was inflicted after the game was out of hand.
CLOSE THIRD: WR Brandon Felder had another good game. He caught four passes for 42 yards and scored PSU's first TD on a 12-yard connection from Hackenberg.
TURNING POINT: After Ohio State opened the game with a seven-play, 75-yard TD drive, Penn State responded by marching to the Buckeye 12 in 11 plays. But Hackenberg attempted to hit rookie TE Adam Breneman in the end zone and the ball did not have enough air under it. DB Pitt Brown stepped in for the interception and Penn State never recovered.
SOLID STRATEGY: The Buckeye defense was obviously focused on pressuring Hackenberg, and it took the freshman out of his game. The injury obviously played a factor, too.
NUMBERS GAME: Ohio State ran 43 plays for 414 yards in the first half.
WHAT'S UP WITH?
Even more poor tackling from the PSU defense. We get the thing about scholarships being limited. But that does not explain the bad tackling that has haunted this team at different times this year.
The Lion defense collapsing in the second quarter. The Ohio State offense is very good. But not good enough to string together TD drives of 52, 60, 45 and 84 yards in a single stanza without a lot of help from a soft defense.
DE Deion Barnes continuing to struggle against the run. This team sure looks better when Anthony Zettel is on the field.
LT Donovan Smith having no answers for OSU DE Noah Spence. Spence had three tackles for loss and two sacks.
PSU completing no passes to tight ends after Iowa TEs burned OSU the previous week.
Zwinak with another lost fumble, his third of the season. Have to wonder how much we'll see of him the rest of the way. O'Brien laid into him on the sideline after this fumble.
Penn State having to blow a timeout to prevent a delay of game on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.
Ohio State challenging a first-down mark up 56-7 in the third quarter.
HIT SQUAD: LB Ben Kline, subbing for starter Nyeem Wartman, slammed Miller to the ground for an 8-yard sack early in the second quarter. By that time, however, PSU was trailing 28-0.
HIDDEN HERO: Tyler Ferguson replaced the injured Hackenberg in the third quarter and played well. He connected on 7 of 11 passes for 125 yards and a score.
DID YOU NOTICE?
Barnes was back in the starting lineup at DE after being replaced by Zettel vs. Michigan. But when Zettel entered the game, he immediately had a tackle for loss.
Adrian Amos moved from S and started at CB in place of Trevor Williams. Jesse Della Valle took over at Amos' S spot. Didn't seem to help much against the OSU offense.
True freshman slot WR Richy Anderson did not make the trip. O'Brien said it was because he had to study.
K Sam Ficken showed good speed while cutting off OSU's Dondre Wilson on a 49-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.
Only 69 healthy players made the trip. The 70th spot (the Big Ten limit is 70) was given to senior tight end Matt Lehman, who is out for the season after sustaining a torn ACL in the opener vs. Syracuse. Lehman spent part of the pregame throwing passes to the other tight ends.
The Blue Band made the trip.
UNANSWERED QUESTION: How bad would this season be looking right now if Penn State had failed to nip Michigan in four OTs?