Penn State signee Nathan Stupar played the game as a stand-up DE and provided constant pressure on the Ohio QBs, which alternated between Perci Garner (undecided) and Anthony Wright (Air Force). Stupar had three assisted tackles in the first half.
Drew Astorino, another soon-to-be Lion, played both ways, in the slot as a receiver on offense and as a cornerback/safety on defense. Despite dropping a couple throws, Astorino made big plays on defense. Early in the first quarter after Ohio had moved to the 35-yard line, Garner rifled a pass to B.J. Cunningham (Michigan State), who seemed to have a catch before Astorino jarred the ball lose at the 4-yard line and the ball fell harmlessly incomplete. Soon after, Pennsylvania blocked a 39-yard field-goal attempt.
In one sequence in the middle of the second quarter, Astorino shed a block and made a touchdown-saving tackle on RB Matt Merletti (North Carolina). On the very next play Wright was scrambling and Astorino flew in from his safety spot for a tackle for a 6-yard loss. Astorino had three pass breakups and two tackles in the first half.
Derek Moye led the Pennsylvania team with four catches for 64 yards in the first half, including a beautiful sideline grab in which he elevated and caught the ball while barely landing his feet inbounds.
Ohio kicked a field goal with 8:24 left in the first quarter to start off the scoring. Cunningham took a bubble screen 54 yards to set up the kick by Nick Spadafore (Concordia-St. Paul University). Pennsylvania countered with a 25-yard touchdown run by Persa. State College product Tom Kondash (Lafayette) added the extra point to put Pennsylvania up 7-3 with 2:18 left in the first quarter.
The defenses played well for the majority of the second quarter as both teams were scoreless until less than three minutes remained before the break. Ohio Broke a 57-yard inside slant for a touchdown pass from Garner to Kyle Jefferson (Wisconsin) for a 10-7 lead. Working the two-minute drill to perfection, Persa fird completions to Moye for 17, RB Max Suter (Syracuse) for 13, Temple recruit Daryyl Robinson for 25 yards, then capped the drive himself with an 11-yard touchdown scramble. Kondash kick put Pennsylvania up 14-10.
Early in the third quarter, Moye hauled in a short touchdown pass to extend the Pennsylvania lead to 21-10. It was the only score of the period.
Pitt recruit Henry Hynoski, a fullback, extended the lead to 28-10 on a 1-yard blast on the first play of the fourth quarter. It turned out to be the final score of the game.
Pennsylvania now leads the series with Ohio 8-7. A large contingent of former Big 33 stars and current Nittany Lions made the trip to Hershey to cheer on their future teammates.
Stay tuned to FOS for our postgame report.