Fourth-quarter flop: Buckeyes hand Penn State another one-point heartbreaker

Mae Harvey
October 1, 2018

Running back Miles Sanders was only able to pick up two yards, and the Nittany Lions turned the ball over on downs to cement the 27-26 home loss. It's not quite Buckeyes-or-bust for the playoffs, but it's close. Penn State fans rode an elevator somberly.

In the Big Ten's game of the year, all night long, the Nittany Lions looked like the better team. Wisconsin should win the West.

But in the second half two 75-yard scoring drives and the game-winning 96-yard touchdown drive nearly made up for what happened in the first half. That's what the Badgers get for losing to BYU and scheduling Western Kentucky and New Mexico.

McSorley accounted for 461 yards total offense - 286 yards passing and two touchdowns and 175 yards rushing, two statistics that emphasize that Ohio State needs more big plays from its back seven on defense than it got Saturday night. A stunning, jaw-dropping sequence of events that left Penn State reeling in the realm of what could - and probably should - have been.

Sanders said the call never changed even in between the timeouts. "And they were able to get to Miles when he got the handoff". Haskins gets flustered by pressure, not hits. That's not a list of powerhouse teams, but the Nittany Lions have dominated none the less. The first was a dazzling 47-yard catch-and-run by Binjimen Victor with 6:42 left that cut the PSU lead to 26-21.

On Ohio State's ensuing possession, linebacker Koa Farmer made a huge stop on fourth-and-1 at the PSU 48, stuffing quarterback Dwayne Haskins at the line of scrimmage for no gain. It especially seemed that way on the following drive when Ohio State penetrated to the Penn State 16, but the Nittany Lions forced a Sean Nuernberger 33-yard field goal, but that score was wiped off the board due to a face mask call and Nuernberger's ensuing 48-yard try was no good. "That was a bad call". Franklin responded by saying, "I appreciate your input", in a clearly sarcastic way. I give you my word. He blamed himself for the fourth-and-5 call that was the equivalent of getting Led Zeppelin to play Wrigley Field, only to have the speakers go out. Some went so far as to say it was the worst Penn State playcall since Joe Paterno made a decision to attempt a field goal on Alabama's 1-yard line in 1989.

"We obviously didn't make the right call in that situation", Franklin said, "and that's on me, nobody else".

James Franklin is not a big fan of the way his football team handles itself apparently. "We saw their "outlaw" look, and our goal when we see that is we want to split it right down the middle. Right now we're comfortable being great, and I'm going to make sure everyone in our program, including myself, is very uncomfortable, because you only grow in life when you're uncomfortable".

Four losses. By eight points.

"We've just got to keep building", Dobbins said.

"The reality is that we've gone from being an average football team to a good football team to a great football team and worked really hard to do those things", Franklin said.

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