The Penn State Nittany Lions entered the ‘White Out’ game with the Ohio State Buckeyes in search of an early career-defining game for head coach Bill O’Brien, and a national coming out party for a team with the weight of the world upon its shoulders. Ohio State, led by first-year head coach Urban Meyer and Heisman candidate and quarterback Braxton Miller, had other intentions, beating Penn State 35-23 on the hoof of a strong third quarter.
Penn State struck first when Michael Yancich recovered a blocked punt off the mitts of Mike Hull and took it in for six in the second quarter. Ohio State answered with a methodical, 12-play drive to even up the score just before the half, as Carlos Hyde bulldozed his way into the endzone.
The Buckeyes outscored Penn State 21-3 in the third quarter, highlighted by two long drives following a Matt McGloin pick six returned by Ryan Shazier.
Penn State tried to make a game of it in the fourth quarter on an extremely long, 18-play scoring drive, to cut Ohio State’s lead down to 28-16. The Buckeyes then put it away on a 72-yard touchdown pass shortly after the Lions’ score and held on to win 35-23.
The main culprit for Penn State in the loss was running game of Buckeyes, as they put up 234 yards on PSU, who came into the game ranked second in the Big Ten against the run. It was Ohio State’s ability to run the ball off tackle and in space that hurt Penn State, as Braxton Miller totaled 277 all-purpose yards despite completing just seven passes, due to his 25 carries for 134 yards.
Inversely, Penn State had just 32 net rushing yards, although Zach Zwinak led the team with 42 yards on 12 carries.
In the passing game, Matt McGloin was 27 for 45 for 327 yards, good for a career high in yardage, though his one interception proved costly, giving Ohio State the momentum to start the second half.