Ohio State Breakdown

The good, the bad and the very ugly from Penn State's 37-17 loss to the No. 1 Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium Saturday night.

No. 22 Penn State trailed top-ranked Ohio State 17-7 at halftime of a game at Beaver Stadium Saturday. While that hardly seemed like an insurmountable lead, the tone in the locker room suggested the Nittany Lions were well on their way to defeat.

“It was like a morgue in there,” said a source who asked not to be identified.

Indeed, the PSU players performed like dead men walking in the second half, mailing in the final 30 minutes in losing 37-17, their sorriest showing since being humiliated 41-17 at Notre Dame last season. In the process, the Lions fell to 6-3 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten, while OSU remained perfect (9-0, 5-0)

Read on — if you dare — for the good, the bad and the ugly

MAN OF THE HOUR: In his first serious road test, Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman was outstanding. He connected on 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns. So much for being intimidated by the massive Beaver Stadium crowd.

TURNING POINT: Penn State went 78 yards in nine plays on its first drive to take a 7-3 lead. The Buckeyes responded with a six-play, 80-yard TD drive of their own to take a 10-7 lead and gain momentum for good.

SOLID STRATEGY: The Buckeyes clearly watched plenty of film from PSU's win over Indiana. Like the Hoosiers, Ohio State went after the Lion corners early and often, and Justin King and Lydell Sargeant were not up to the challenge.

NUMBERS GAME: Through three quarters, the Ohio State offense was 9 of 11 on third-down conversions. The Buckeyes did not punt in the game. Ouch. … OSU held a 37:52-22:08 edge in time of possession.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Ohio State came in with the nation's top-ranked defense and showed that ranking was no fluke. The Lions had 263 total yards and only got 10 points from their offense.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Speaking of which, A.J. Wallace was State's lone bright spot in the second half, returning a fourth-quarter kickoff 97 yards for a score.

WHAT'S UP WITH: PSU playing so much soft zone defense on third down? Ohio State was 7 pf 8 on third-down conversions in the first half.

HIT SQUAD: OSU defensive end Cameron Haywood -- Ironhead's kid -- leveled PSU tight end Andrew Quarless after the former made a reception in the fourth quarter.

TOUGH GUY: Wideout Terrell Golden limped off the field in the first quarter, but returned on PSU's next series and played well the rest of the way.

HIDDEN HERO: Ohio State's offensive line held Penn State without a sack while the outcome was still in question. The Lions went into the game with 35 QB drops, tops in the nation, but had only one late, meaningless sack in this one.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Buckeye tailback Chris Wells pounded out 133 yards on 25 carries.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: True freshman linebacker Chris Colasanti saw his first non-special teams action of the season when he took the field in the second quarter. He was only in for one play. He played more often in the second half, often in a four-linebacker formation.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Ohio State star linebacker James Laurinaitis had two tackles, both of them assists. PSU star linebackers Dan Connor and Sean Lee had 18 and 13 stops, respectively. Sargeant also had 10 tackles for PSU, too. That's what happens when one team (OSU) has 74 plays and the other (Penn State) only 49.

• Starting safety Anthony Davis did not dress for the game, due to an unspecified illness. Mark Rubin started in his place and made five tackles.

• Among the host of former Lions on the sideline were LaVar Arrington, Tamba Hali, Kim Herring, Tyoka Jackson, Bryant Johnson and Larry Johnson.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Will the Lions bounce back the way they insist they will? Or does will this ugly loss spark a late-season plunge?

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