OSU: Report Card

Who made the grade and who failed miserably in Penn State's 37-17 loss to the Buckeyes? Get the lowdown in our weekly report card.

OFFENSE: After a great opening drive, the Nittany Lions lapsed back into their old habits. They settled for a field goal when they needed a touchdown in the third quarter, squandered good field position after Dan Connor’s interception and supplied Ohio State with the touchdown that pretty much sealed the deal.
Grade: D

DEFENSE: The Lions just couldn’t get off the field. Ohio State converted 12 of 16 third downs and gave up only one sack. It passed with impunity, controlled the line of scrimmage and didn’t punt. Yes, the Lions are young up front. And yes, they are banged up, with Jerome Hayes, Jared Odrick and Tony Davis all unavailable Saturday. But boy, did Ohio State make this look easy.
Grade: D-

SPECIAL TEAMS: Nice to see A.J. Wallace with a big return. And Jeremy Boone is looking like a great find.
Grade: B+

COACHING: You can fault the Lions for punting at the end of the first half and for having to burn a timeout on defense in the third quarter. But that’s nitpicking. Penn State didn’t lose this game because of any strategic blunders. It lost because it got manhandled at the line of scrimmage.
Grade: C

OTHER GUY: With its third-down conversions and Boeckman’s stellar passing, Ohio State’s offense overshadowed its marvelous defense. Not that James Laurinaitis and company looked soft. The Buckeyes got a defensive touchdown and held Penn State’s offense to 10 points. Did we mention that they also kicked a 50-yard field goal?
Grade: A

OFFICIALS: They had a call overturned by replay in the third quarter, but theirs was an otherwise uneventful evening.
Grade: B

CROWD: Penn State asked for a Student White Out, and the student body complied, making ample noise in the first quarter. But Ohio State turned down the volume with its fast start, and the cheers turned to boos late in the first half when Penn State punted on fourth-and-2.
Grade: B

OVERALL: It’s hard to put a positive gloss on a game like this. It wasn’t a head-scratcher a la the Michigan game. It wasn’t a turnover-fest a la the Illinois game. No, this game was a good old-fashioned clock cleaning. As such, it provoked some sobering thoughts. Penn Staters like to think of the program as belonging to the Big Ten’s elite. But since 2000, the Lions are 2-12 against Ohio State and Michigan. Joe Paterno apparently told Bob Griese earlier this season that the Lions could be peaking in 2008. Maybe so, but if Saturday’s game showed anything, it’s that the gap between Penn State and Ohio State is as wide as ever. And next year’s game is in Columbus.
Grade: D


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