#5 Ohio State Downs #20 Penn State, 33-24
Written by Gabe Collura on November 1, 2021
Photo courtesy of ohiostatebuckeyes.com
Ohio State, Penn State. Buckeyes, Nittany Lions.
There’s no better way to spend a Saturday night. A tremendous spectacle at Ohio Stadium set the stage for a matchup in the Big Ten with massive implications. The Buckeyes wore all-scarlet uniforms for the first time. Look good, play good. Spoiler, they played good.
There were some questions earlier in the week as to whether Penn State head coach James Franklin was ready for the game Saturday night. He referred to Ohio Stadium as “The Big House,” and said he was “focused on Illinois,” when asked about the Buckeyes. Curious. Franklin’s confusion was rather apparent in the game.
Both teams got off to a sloppy start, each fumbling on their opening drives. Penn State would be the first team to score. A 13 play, 89-yard drive late in the first quarter was capped off by a five-yard Brenton Strange touchdown reception. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 6:08 remaining in the first quarter.
The Buckeyes would respond on the ensuing possession with a Noah Ruggles field goal from 36 yards out.
Ohio State was hindered by several undisciplined penalties, mostly false starts. They struggled to get any sort of momentum going in the first half with several drives that stalled near midfield. Until one play.
A 38-yard touchdown strike from CJ Stroud to Chris Olave kickstarted the Buckeye offense late in the second quarter. The defense took the field with oozing confidence and a fresh 10-7 lead. It was then that the Buckeyes started looking like the Buckeyes.
Sean Clifford was strip sacked near midfield on the ensuing drive with 2:24 left in the second quarter. Jerron Cage was the beneficiary, returning the fumble 57 yards for a touchdown. Penn State would drive down the field to add a field goal before time expired in the first half. The Buckeyes took a 17-10 lead into the locker room.
Penn State came out swinging when the second half began. They stormed out with a 12 play, 75-yard drive that ended in a Jahan Dotson rushing touchdown. That score tied the game, 17-17. The Buckeyes added a 23-yard field goal courtesy of Noah Ruggles on the next drive. The defense got a stop, and Ohio State blew the game wide open.
Superstar freshman Treveyon Henderson had been quiet all night until the Buckeyes’ third quarter touchdown drive. Henderson ripped off a 68-yard carry and finished what he started with a 1-yard touchdown rush that gave the Buckeyes a 27-17 lead.
Sean Clifford got some help from his run game in the second half, and a Keyvone Lee touchdown pulled Penn State back within three points of Ohio State. The Nittany Lions wouldn’t score again the rest of the night.
Noah Ruggles would go on to add two more field goals (25 yards, 26 yards) which propelled Ohio State to a 33-24 victory on home turf. The fans spilled out of the stands at the Shoe, and that sea of scarlet went home as winners.
Gabe Collura is the Sports Director at Black Squirrel Radio. Follow him on Twitter @gabecollura for more sports content.