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Ohio State Sneaks past Nittany Lions

Written by: on Sunday, September 30th, 2018. Follow William Albright on Twitter.


UNIVERSITY PARK — It was a classic Big 10 battle, a football war of sorts.

When the issues were decided, Penn State Quarterback Trace McSorley won a big battle, but Ohio State won the war as the Buckeyes came from behind twice to sneak past the Nittany Lions for a 27-26 win before a Beaver Stadium record crowd of 110,889 fans in Whiteout 2018.

“First, I want to thank the fans for coming out. Unbelievable environment with a record crowd. I couldn’t ask for a better support from the community and from the university. This one hurts, obviously. We didn’t finish the game when we should’ve finished the game. There is no doubt about it, we played a great first half and we weren’t able to finish late in the game.”

Then there are questions about some of the play calls, mostly late in the game.

“Obviously, you second guess some things after a loss like that,“ said Franklin. “Should’ve kicked the field goal in the first half, but I felt like trusting our offense rather than putting a true freshman out in that situation. Obviously after the second half it’s easy to second guess that decision. When you play that type of opponent, I didn’t feel like you could beat that kind of opponent kicking field goals. We were going to have to score touchdowns and be aggressive. The reality is, we had opportunities, but we didn’t make plays. We didn’t tackle well in open space, we dropped some balls, we just didn’t make plays when we needed to make plays.”

With the game on the line and the Lions claiming what could have been the winning possession of the contest, Franklin and his staff decided to go for it on fourth-and-five. But in the end, it might have been the play call that loomed large in the analysis. Going away from his big gun McSorley, Franklin decided to call another play not involving his quarterback.

“They changed looks, so we called a timeout and had some discussions,“ explained Franklin. “We obviously didn’t make the right call in that situation, and that’s on me, nobody else. Obviously, it didn’t work. We have called something similar like that in other situations, and it broke for big plays, but that is on us (coaches). That is on me. We should’ve called something different there. I’m pretty upset right now because I am hurting for those guys right in that locker room. I know how hard they’ve worked. The reality is that we have gone from an average football team to a good football team to a great football team. We have worked hard to do those things, but we are not an elite football team yet. As hard as we have worked to go from average to good, and from good to great – the work that it’s going to take to get to an elite program, it’s going to be just as hard as the ground and the distance that we have already traveled. Scratch and claw and fight. Right now, we are comfortable being great. I am going to make sure that everyone in our program, including myself, is very uncomfortable being great. We are a great program. We lost to an elite program, and we are that close to being an elite program. We are going to learn from this and grow from this, and we are going to find a way to take that next step as a program because we have been knocking at the door long enough. It is my job as the head coach, I am ultimately responsible for all of it. I will find a way, we will find a way, and with all the support of everybody in this community and everybody on this campus and the lettermen and everybody else, we are going to get this done. I give you my word, we are going to find a way to take the next step.”

Although the ‘Nits came up a little short in the final score, McSorley’s numbers were huge. For the game he amassed 461 yards of total offense, rushing for a career-high 175 yards and passing for another 286 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“ It’s tough. I mean it’s up there, (on the list of tough losses), said McSorley. “Obviously, losing at home in an environment where you expect to come out expect to feed off of the crowd’s energy and win and to not be able to win in this environment, it’s tough. But I mean we have had tough losses before. A one-point loss last year and a lot of tough losses, so I mean it is definitely up there, but it is something that we have to grow from.”

As for the fourth down play that failed to move the sticks, McSorley said, “I mean we got out there. We lined up the first time and they (Ohio State) called a timeout after they saw a formation that we came out in. We came out and tried to get them to jump a little bit, see if we could get them to move. And then we just weren’t able to make the play when it mattered. I mean fourth-and-five, I knew what Coach (Ricky) Rahne (OC/QB coach) saw, I saw the same thing. The play was there to be made and we just didn’t make it. They did a good job, they ran a twist and got into our backfield quickly. We weren’t able to pick up that twist and they were able to hit Miles [Sanders] right when he got the handoff and get him down. I mean, I know that it is a deciding factor in the play and I agreed with what Coach Rahne saw, we just didn’t make a play.”



Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total

Ohio State 0 7 7 13 27

Penn State 3 10 0 13 26

Qtr Time Scoring play

1st 04:58 PSU – Pinegar, Jake 34 yd field goal, 8-63 3:37

2nd 11:18 PSU – Pinegar, Jake 39 yd field goal, 4-7 1:30

05:59 PSU – Hamler, KJ 93 yd pass from McSorley, Trace (Pinegar, Jake kick), 3-98 1:03

01:50 OSU – Dobbins, J.K. 26 yd pass from Haskins, Dwayne (Nuernberger, Sean kick), 2-25 0:42

3rd 10:22 OSU – Dobbins, J.K. 4 yd run (Nuernberger, Sean kick), 13-75 4:38

4th 12:22 PSU – Freiermuth, Pat 2 yd pass from McSorley, Trace (Pinegar, Jake kick), 6-73 2:22

08:00 PSU – Sanders, Miles 1 yd run (Hippenhammer, Mac rush failed), 7-52 2:18

06:42 OSU – Victor, Binjimen 47 yd pass from Haskins, Dwayne (Nuernberger, Sean kick), 3-75 1:18

02:03 OSU – Hill, K.J. 24 yd pass from Haskins, Dwayne (Haskins, Dwayne pass failed), 8-96 2:32



RUSHES-YARDS (NET) 37-119 44-206


Passes Att-Comp-Int 39-22-1 32-16-0


Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 0-0

Punt Returns-Yards 1–2 5-7

Kickoff Returns-Yards 0-0 3-47

Interception Returns-Yards 0-0 1-45

Punts (Number-Avg) 9-47.9 8-39.0

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1

Penalties-Yards 10-105 7-64

Possession Time 28:21 31:39

Third-Down Conversions 4 of 17 3 of 17

Fourth-Down Conversions 1 of 2 1 of 3

Red-Zone Scores-Chances 1-2 3-3

Sacks By: Number-Yards 4-18 1-2

RUSHING: Ohio State-Dobbins, J.K. 17-57; Weber, Mike 9-51; Campbell, Parris 2-19; Haskins, Dwayne

4-8; Hill, K.J. 1-minus 3; TEAM 4-minus 13. Penn State-McSorley, Trace 25-175; Sanders, Miles 16-43;

Stevens, Tommy 3-minus 12.

PASSING: Ohio State-Haskins, Dwayne 22-39-1-270. Penn State-McSorley, Trace 16-32-0-286.

RECEIVING: Ohio State-Campbell, Parris 7-60; Hill, K.J. 6-59; Mack, Austin 3-25; Dobbins, J.K. 2-61;

Victor, Binjimen 2-55; Saunders, C.J. 1-5; Weber, Mike 1-5. Penn State-Johnson, Juwan 5-61; Hamler,

KJ 4-138; Freiermuth, Pat 3-44; Sanders, Miles 2-2; Hippenhammer, Mac 1-21; Polk, Brandon 1-20.

INTERCEPTIONS: Ohio State-None. Penn State-Taylor, Garrett 1-45.

FUMBLES: Ohio State-None. Penn State-Stevens, Tommy 1-0; Sanders, Miles 1-1.

Ohio State (5-0,2-0) vs. Penn State (4-1,1-1)

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