After the Penn State Nittany Lions were blown at on the road 63-14 against Ohio State, it would be easy to assume that the defense should take most of the blame in the loss. Not only did the Buckeyes put up 63 points, but they also racked up 686 yards of total offense. However, while a poor night by the defense certainly played a part in the defeat, the offense also has to take much of the blame.
Don’t get me wrong, the defense had a terrible game. I wrote yesterday about the defense’s inability to stop the Buckeyes on offense and the video game-like stats that were racked up.
For anyone that’s followed the Nittany Lions this season, watching the defense give up a large amount of points and yards should be no surprise. Opponents have shown the ability to move the ball with ease in previous games.
Penn State had already given up at least 30 points three times this year and allowed 40 points or more twice. In the loss to Central Florida, the Nittany Lions allowed 507 total yards. They let the Indiana Hoosiers put up 486 yards of total offense.
So, the fact that the Nittany Lions allowed Ohio State to move the ball at will is nothing new.
What was different in this game is the fact that the offense looked out of sync and was unable to find any rhythm. Even when there were chances to get back in the game early, the offense failed to take advantage.
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg really struggled, throwing for just 112 yards, his worst total of his career, before being pulled in the third quarter with an apparent shoulder injury. He did throw a touchdown pass, but also had two interceptions.
The Nittany Lions as a team managed just 14 points and committed three total turnovers.
The run game looked promising at times against the Buckeyes, but ultimately failed to do much. Bill Belton led the Nittany Lions with 98 yards. Zach Zwinak, the team’s leading rusher entering the game, managed just eight yards and had a fumble.
This was a bad game all around, as neither the offense of the defense looked sharp. It was a disappointing effort from a team that had an extra week to prepare. Both sides of the ball need to regroup and get ready to perform better in the next game.
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