OSU: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's grind-it-out win over the Buckeyes in Columbus.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Penn State football team is running out of demons to exorcise. A week after ending a nine-game losing streak to Michigan, the Nittany Lions showed up at Ohio Stadium Saturday and promptly beat Ohio State on its home turf for the first time since joining the Big Ten in 1993.

It was anything but pretty, as PSU had to rally from a 6-3 deficit in the fourth quarter to win, 13-6. But in doing so, the Lions improved to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the conference, while the Buckeyes fell to 7-2 and 4-1.

Heading into a bye week, No. 3 Penn State is now squarely in the driver's seat to win its first Big Ten title since 2005 and remains in the thick of the national championship hunt.

Here is what went down Saturday.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Penn State senior safety Mark Rubin had a career-high 11 tackles and forced a key fumble in the fourth quarter. Rubin had some early coverage issues but rebounded nicely with THE clutch play of the season. More later.

CLOSE SECOND: Linebacker Navorro Bowman had 10 tackles and recovered the aforementioned fumble. He was key in shutting down Buckeyes' star running back Chris Wells. He is officially the best linebacker in the Big Ten.

TURNING POINT: With Ohio State leading 6-3 in the final quarter and threatening to put the game away, rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor attempted a keeper on third and 1 from midfield. The Lion defensive linemen clogged the middle and Pryor tried to go around right end. Rubin greeted him and punched the ball out, giving PSU possession at the Buckeye 38 on what would be the game-winning drive.

SOLID STRATEGY: Following the game's first turnover (above), Lion backup quarterback Pat Devlin was called on to replace dinged up starter Daryll Clark. Devlin handed to Evan Royster on first down. Then, on second-and-1, he aired a deep pass for Derrick Williams. Williams drew a pass interference penalty on DB Donald Washington to give State the ball at 14 and it scored not long after. Devlin did not throw another pass in the game. But the confidence the staff showed in him in a tight situation paid off big time.

NUMBERS GAME: The Penn State defense held Ohio State to 61 net rushing yards. Wells had 55 yards on 22 carries. OSU came in averaging 182 yards rushing per game.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Penn State's offensive line did not dominate all night. But it took over at crunch time.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Lion punter Jeremy Boone averaged 43.5 yards per boot and nailed three of four inside the 20-yard line.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• The Penn State offense looked lethargic most of the night. For a while, it looked like the Lions might be held under 10 points again.

• Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis was credited with 12 tackles. It was the quietest dozen stops we've ever seen. Ten of them were assists.

HIT SQUAD: Buckeye defensive tackle Cameron Heyward hustled to nail Royster on a third-down screen late in the second quarter. The tackle forced the Lions to settle for a field goal.

HIDDEN HERO: Royster banged out 77 yards on 19 carries and also led the Lions with three catches for 20 yards.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Pryor had a nice day passing, completing a career-high 16 of 25 for 226 yard. But his last pass was intercepted by PSU's Lydell Sargeant.

WORTH NOTING: Scouts from the Rose Bowl (three), Fiesta Bowl (two), Orange Bowl (two), Florida Citrus Sports (two) and Outback Bowl (two) were on hand at the game.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Clark had his clock cleaned on a run late in the third-quarter but stayed in the game well into the fourth quarter until the PSU doctors noticed he was woozy and benched him.

• Penn State senior safety Anthony Scirrotto was replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt freshman Drew Astorino. Scirrotto sustained a concussion against Michigan last week. Scirrotto played later in the game, though. Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said Astorino got the start because Scirrotto did not practice until later in the week.

• With Joe Paterno up in the press box again, Bradley received a police escort off the field at the end of the game.

• Backup linebackers Michael Mauti and Bani Gbadyu, who were so key in last week's win over Michigan, did not see a defensive snap in this game.

• Walk-on safety Tyler Ahrenhold was on the travel squad for the first time. He did not play. Defensive tackle Tom McEowen was left off the travel squad for the first time this season.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: When will Texas and/or Alabama lose?


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