OSU: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the very ugly from Penn State's pratfall against Ohio State at Beaver Stadium Saturday.

Joe Paterno's assessment of Penn State's 24-7 beating by Ohio State at Beaver Stadium Saturday?

“I just think for the whole ball game, they gave us a good licking,” the veteran coach said.

But it was more than that.

After the game's Big Ten title implications received a boost when Iowa lost to Northwestern earlier in the day, the 11th-ranked Nittany Lions were chewed up and spit out by the 16th-ranked Buckeyes and left all but out of the league championship mix.

In falling to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference, the Penn State offense was dominated from start to finish, the defense came unglued late and the special teams were once again a Keystone Kops routine.

On the other side of the ball, it was the exact opposite. Sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor was poised, efficient and mistake-free in leading the offense, the defense dominated the line of scrimmage and the special teams set up two touchdowns.

Ohio State improved to 8-2 and 5-1 with its second straight win in Happy Valley, and can all but lock down the Big Ten title with a win over Iowa next week.

The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, are left wondering what might have been.

“We were just in a little bit of disarray the whole game,” PSU quarterback Daryll Clark said.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Receiver Graham Zug was the only Lion who showed up on offense, catching more passes by himself (7 for 96 yards) than the rest of the team (5 for 29 yards).

CLOSE SECOND: We'll note that LBs Sean Lee and Josh Hull had 14 and 13 tackles, respectively. But most of them were well downfield. We're not going to give a “Close Second” this week because there was none.

TURNING POINT: Up 10-7 late in the third quarter, the Buckeyes went deep on a first-and-10 from their own 38. Devier Posey got free behind corner D'Anton Lynn AND safety Nick Sukay and hauled in a perfect Pryor pass for a 62-yard score. OSU was up 17-7 and, given the struggles of the PSU offense, the game was over.

SOLID STRATEGY: Ohio State ran the ball 49 times (for 228 yards) and passed only 17 (completing 8 for 125 yards). The low-risk offense resulted in no turnovers and caused the Lion defense to become gassed in the third quarter.

NUMBERS GAME: Ohio State held a time-of-possession advantage of 34:02 to 25:58.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Penn State's punt return game continues to by abysmal. Ranked 101st in the nation coming in, the ridiculous two-man deep approach led to one return for no yards on seven chances. And that return attempt was on a muff by Zug that he recovered. The Lions have had two or fewer punt return yards in five games this season and have been outgained in this area by their opponents 264 yards to 98 on the season. Think it might be time to change things up back there?

SPECIAL DELIVERY: On the other side of the ball, OSU return man Ray Small made the PSU coverage teams look silly, taking one ball back 45 yards and another 41 yards. He had 130 yards on seven returns. Penn State has 98 yards on 19 attempts on the SEASON.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• The Penn State offensive line just falling apart. We get that Ohio State has a strong defensive front, but thought the Lion O-line would be better than it showed. Easily its worst game of the year, which is saying something given its struggles early on.

• The O-line going completely out of whack when guard Johnnie Troutman left the game in the second quarter due to a leg injury. Who knew one lineman could mean that much to the group? Troutman tried to return in the second half but struggled with his mobility and was pulled in favor of Matt Stankiewitch.

• The Penn State safeties. Was it us, or were they sprinting backward at the snap on many plays? Odd strategy against a run-oriented team.

• Penn State's defensive ends and linebackers failing to keep contain on Pryor. This guy is not that difficult to figure out, and yet he still burned the Lions for five carries for 50 yards and a score.

• Penn State's defensive front seven generating no pass rush. Pryor was not sacked and rarely hurried. This is the same QB who was sacked five times by Purdue, twice by Wisconsin and three times by Indiana.

• Usually sure-handed tight end Andrew Quarless dropping two balls.

HIT SQUAD: Punter Jeremy Boone leveled Small on his second long return. Gritty play by the diminutive punter.

HIDDEN HERO: Ohio State's offensive line did a great job against PSU's defensive front.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Clark's rushing TD was the 22nd of his career and improved his school record for total scores accounted for to 58 (he also had 37 passing TDs).

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Tailback Stephfon Green returned to action for the first time in three weeks, but was limited to two carries for 6 yards.

• It was a who's-who of former Lions on the sideline, including such notables as D.J. Dozier, Ki-Jana Carter, Brandon Noble, LaVar Arrington, Larry Johnson Jr. and Aaron Maybin. Too bad none of them had any eligibility left.

• The flags were flying at half mast due to the recent tragedy at Fort Hood.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Will it be Orlando or Tampa in January?


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