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After coming back from a 21-point deficit to beat Northwestern last week at home, Penn State found itself on the other side of the coin at Ohio State.
The Lions dropped a 38-14 decision to the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium Saturday night after quarterback Matthew McGloin's two second half interceptions returned for touchdowns proved too much for Joe Paterno's team to withstand.
After opening up an 11-point first half lead with brilliant play from quarterback Matt McGloin, who threw Penn State's first two passing touchdowns in Columbus since 1963, things went south for Penn State quickly in the second half. The Buckeyes drove 98 yards, mostly on the ground, and closed to 14-10 before returning a McGloin pass for a touchdown to take the lead.
It was all Buckeyes from there.
Joe Paterno is no doubt being asked about the decision to start McGloin in the bowels of Ohio Stadium right now, but it was probably the right play. He had thrown seven touchdowns and only one interceptions since replacing an injured Robert Bolden against Minnesota.
That said, it's disappointing that the freshman Bolden, who is probably the future of Penn State at the position, didn't at least get some snaps against an Ohio State defense he'll be seeing for years in the second half. After McGloin's first pick-six, it might have been nice to see if Bolden could have given a shot in the arm for the Penn State offense this week like McGloin did last week.
And so, it's on to Washington D.C. for the Lions next week where they'll face Indiana in their final "road" game of the season in front of what will likely be a heavily Penn State leaning crowd. Expect both quarterbacks to see time (the Hoosiers gave up 83 points to Wisconsin today) and to continue hearing about this quarterback competition right through Penn State's bowl game.
You reap what you sow, and when Penn State made the decision to go with McGloin this week, it knew today's performance, thus far 15-for-28 for two exciting touchdowns and two devastating interceptions, was very possible. We saw the best and worst of McGloin today. Unfortunately, Ohio State was plenty good enough to capitalize on the worst.
Terrelle Pryor has looked rather pedestrian all evening, but he finally hit the big one on the Penn State defense, a 58-yard dagger to Dale Sanzenbacher for an Ohio State touchdown and 24-14 Buckeye lead.
Penn State's offense has gone conservative after Matthew McGloin's interception. Now, they'll need a quick score to have any chance at coming back.
Penn State trails Ohio State, 17-14 as play begins in the fourth quarter. Matt McGloin's interception looms large, but so does Penn State's decision to go for it on fourth down inside Ohio State territory in the second quarter. The Lions had three points, got greedy, and now they trail.
It'll be shocking if Penn State plays as loose the rest of the way in the second half as they did in the first.
The honeymoon is over for Matt McGloin.
On a second down play action, the sophomore quarterback was picked off by Ohio State's Devon Torrence, who took the pick back for a 32-yard touchdown.
McGloin has had a reputation for being a bit of a loose cannon, and he lived up to it with that throw. He telegraphed it and didn't give his guy a chance.
Huge momentum changer, and with the way Ohio State has been running it in the second half, Penn State is in trouble.
Ohio State just took the wind out of Penn State's sails, slashing through the Nittany Lion defense on the ground and capping a 98-yard drive touchdown with a five-yard Dan Herron touchdown run to bring the Buckeyes to within four at 14-10.
Jim Tressel and his staff have clearly made adjustments at the half. If Penn State is going to hang on for the upset, it needs to adjust as well on both sides of the ball. If the Bucks continue to get the push they had on their scoring drive, it's going to be a long half for Penn State.
Matt McGloin continues to throw touchdowns. Penn State now leads 14-3 thanks to a 6-yard strike from Mac to wide receiver Derek Moye.
McGloin is now 10/12 for 102 yards and a touchdown. Ohio State appears to be stunned by the volume of passes Penn State is throwing at it, attacking the corners early and often.
Penn State continues to lead Ohio State 7-3, and is driving on the Buckeyes again as the first quarter ends. The Nittany Lions have out gained their opponents 127-94 and are clicking in both the running and passing games.
On defense, Penn State has been able to flush Terrelle Pryor around in the pocket and force him into some tough throws. Things are looking good on both sides of the ball for Penn State.
Oh, and how awesome is it to see Justin Brown getting in on the action today?
Matthew McGloin and wide receiver Justin Brown hooked up three times on a drive that culminated with a 23-yard touchdown pass from McGloin to Brown to put Penn State up 7-3 in the first quarter.
The drive also included a gutsy 4th down run call near mid field by coach Joe Paterno.
The McGloin-Brown connection was Penn State's first touchdown connection at Ohio Stadium since Rip Engle coached the Nittany Lions.
It was an impressive hold for the Lions after getting finding their backs up against the wall very quickly. Dan Herron got some yards, but when it came time to keep Ohio State out of the endzone, the Lions got a rush on Pryor and held the Buckeyes.
In other news, Iowa's loss puts Penn State a Wisconsin loss away from controlling its own destiny for a share of the Big Ten championship.
Here’s a roundup of game predictions for the Penn State – Ohio State matchup on Saturday. As you’ll see, most people predict OSU will win, but the question is how much. If these two teams are actually ten points apart in talent level, then Penn State could easily catch a couple of breaks and come away with a victory. If it’s more like 20 points, as the oddsmakers suggest, then maybe not. Anyway, enjoy.
Ohio State 27, Penn State 17: It’s tough to know how much of Penn State’s recent offensive surge is genuine and how much is due to facing weak defenses. I’m going to say it’s a bit of both, as the Nittany Lions make some plays early with backs Evan Royster and Silas Redd before the Buckeyes take control in the second half. A rested Terrelle Pryor runs the ball more than we’ve seen and rushes for two scores in the win.
Boosted by all that storybook drama in Happy Valley last week, Penn State (6-3, 3-2 in Big Ten) has won its last three and seems to be coming together on both sides of the football. However, we need to also point out that those results have come at the expense of Minnesota and Michigan, in addition to Northwestern.
After facing that trio, the Nittany Lions will be stepping way up in class as they visit Ohio State (8-1, 4-1), which is nearly impossible to beat in November (14-1 in the season’s final month since 2005) …
Opening point spread: Ohio State by 17
Pick: Ohio State 38-17
Penn State, on the other hand, really has nothing to lose. Many fans considered this season all but lost after their homecoming dismantling at the hands of the Fighting Illini. We were ready to chalk 2010 up as a learning experience and maybe sneak in a mid-December bowl game before wondering how good this team might be in 2011.
Penn State 27, Ohio State 24
Depsite Tressel’s record after bye weeks and Penn State playing their best ball of the season, we just don’t see Penn State having the horses to stay with Ohio State, at home, over 60 minutes. Tresselball might keep it close early but the Buckeyes pull away and win handily, setting the stage for a showdown in Iowa City.
Ohio State 30, Penn State 13
In addition all of CBS’s people pick Ohio State.
When Penn State Has The Ball
No one has been talking lately about Royster being a major disappointment this season. He carried a career-high 29 times for 150 yards against Michigan two weeks ago, and he ran for 134 yards on 25 carries Saturday against Northwestern.
When Ohio State Has The Ball
The Penn State-Ohio State matchup has become one of the marquee matchups of the Big Ten schedule. If not for an early-season Nittany Lions loss to Illinois, this game would once again have Big Ten championship implications (and if the Lions pull out the upset, Ohio State's Big Ten championship hopes are effectively dashed). Contrary to Adam's prediction, I think the Lions are peaking at the right time and that they pull out the incredible upset...
Penn State 20, Ohio State 13
The oddsmakers listed over at SB Nation’s odds page say that Penn State is a big, big dog against OSU. 5dimes and Bodog both have the Buckeyes as 18-point underdogs.
Even if Penn State doesn’t end up winning, they could easily beat that spread. True, the Buckeyes have six wins by 18 points or more so far this season, but none of those were against a team as good as the Nittany Lions. OSU also won by only 11 against Illinois and 12 against Miami. Meanwhile, Penn State is coming off three straight wins and appears to have the worst stretch of its season (the back-to-back losses against Iowa and Illinois) behind it. The PSU quarterback controversy might not be resolved anytime soon, but as long as Matt McGloin is in charge, it’s hard to see why the Lions should be rated this poorly. A lot could happen on Saturday (the Nittany Lions certainly could lose by 40), but until it does, it sounds like the oddsmakers might be underestimating Penn State a bit. Adam’s prediction of an 11-point Buckeye win sounds a bit better to me.
Here’s a quick look at OSU’s schedule so far. Not to pick on the Buckeyes, because nearly every good team does this, but it’s funny how ranked teams’ gaudy records really just boil down to a couple of tough games and then a whole lot of very easy ones.
They’ve had easy games against Marshall, Ohio University, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, and Minnesota so far, but they’ve handily won them all. They also soundly beat Purdue, which is hardly one of the Big Ten’s best teams, but which arguably isn’t quite as bad as the others – the Boilermakers have beaten Minnesota and Northwestern.
The Buckeyes’ two games against good teams have come against Wisconsin, to whom they lost, and also the Miami Hurricanes, who were ranked No. 12 when OSU beat them in September. Penn State might not be in the same class as Wisconsin, but they probably aren’t too far from Miami. The Buckeyes enter this game highly favored, but it’s still a big test for them, as it’s a tougher game than all but two they’ve played so far.
Bridgeville native and Central Catholic High School alum Stefan Wisniewski had nothing but good things to say about Matt McGloin as the Nittany Lions prepare to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday.
Matt McGloin’s confidence helps the offense, rubs off on everyone else. He has been making really good decisions, he helps get the offense moving.
McGloin is just a little bit more vocal, Bolden was all business in the huddle, McGloin maybe has some more fun doing it.
Wisniewski is the leader of the offensive line for the Nittany Lions, a unit that will need to work together and keep up the momentum if the Lions will have any chance in Ohio Stadium. On the other side of the ball, linebacker Mike Mauti had similar praise for McGloin.
McGloin’s presence affects the defense too, with all of the energy they gain. This kid is doing it on offense, we have to do it on defense. Overall, it improves everyone’s confidence.
Mauti dubbed him the “West Scranton Gunslinger,” he is making guys laugh, and has this swagger about him that is hilarious. He is the epitome of a college quarterback, we compare him to Brett Farve, when he is throwing touchdowns, and he is hilarious. At first he was kind of quiet, but once he got on the field he has shown what he can do. Average white guy, he is very unassuming physically.
"It is kind of insulting. We have proven we can put points on the board and can win games. "A lot of people will take offense to it, and it makes us work harder."
"It's upsetting with a school like Penn State. It's ridiculous to me."
17.5 points seems a little generous, however, considering Penn State dropped decisions against No. 1 Alabama and No. 17 Iowa by identical 24-3 scores earlier this season. Nevertheless, both players believe they know how to exploit the Buckeyes' weaknesses on defense.
"We don't look at Ohio State as being any better than us," said Royster, who rushed for 346 yards in the past three games after totaling 388 in the previous six. "If we make the correct adjustments we can take advantage (of their blitzes), because sometimes they can run themselves out of the play and create some big gashes for us."
Royster has a career total of 129 yards on 36 carries in three games against Ohio State, an average of about 3.6 yards per carry. He will lead a Penn State rushing attack that will attempt to set up play action for McGloin and the passing game.
McGloin wants to keep the offense clicking.
"We have to play similar to how we played Michigan. We have to make sure our offense stays on the field."
The Buckeyes possessed the ball for 34:02 in last seasons game compared to Penn State's 25:58. The Ohio State defense also limited Penn State to 125 yards passing on 25 attempts. The Lions will have to improve on those numbers this season if they have any hopes of leaving Columbus with an upset win on Saturday.
Matthew McGloin and the Penn State offense have racked up a bunch of points lately, averaging 36 points per game in their last three contests, all wins over Minnesota, Michigan and Northwestern. As impressive as the big scores have been, though, it's important to keep them in perspective.
Minnesota's defense is No. 103 in points allowed per game nationally and Michigan is No. 104. Northwestern, while significantly tougher than the other two, is still mortal at No. 42. The Ohio State defense is a different animal entirely. The Buckeyes are No. 3 in points allowed per game and have held opposing offenses to 10 points or less five time. They're also first in the Big Ten in nearly every statistical category.
Joe Paterno is ready for a tough game.
They're very well disciplined. They're very well coached. They have four or five kids that can play for anybody, four or five guys, that could go right into pro football. Very good athletes. They have a couple linebackers. Don't ask me their names...But just looking at them, they run well to the ball. They play with a lot of pride. They line up properly.
I mean, they're not running all over the place. They had the one bad game. But after that they got together, and I'll tell you they played really well the last couple of ball games.
Wisconsin managed to beat Ohio State 31-18 at Camp Randall in October by establishing a steady rushing attack with running backs John Clay and James White. The pair ran for 179 yards on 38 carries, a 4.7 yard per carry average. If Penn State can establish the same kind of success on the ground, it will open up play action passing for McGloin, an element of his game that has looked very good in his first three games. This will lead to a balanced attack, which will be key if Penn State is to win in Columbus on Saturday.
Joe Paterno talked about Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor at his weekly press conference yesterday and had a lot of good things to say about the junior who spurned Penn State during his recruitment process in the spring of 2008.
"He's older," Paterno said. "He's more mature. He's more polished. And so all those little things that you would expect an athlete as good as he is and as conscientious as he is, you'd expect him to get better and that's what Pryor's done. He's a good kid. He really handles himself well.
"He's all business. He's not out there trying to outdo anybody. He's just out there trying to get his football team to win. He's the kind of guy a coach likes to see have success.
"I don't want him to have too much this week, but he's been good. And he's getting better all the time."
Penn State has had some success containing Pryor in his first two years, limiting him to 351 yards passing and 56 yards rushing in two games. Last season, Pryor completed only eight passes for 125 yards on the Penn State defense, but threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score in a 24-7 Ohio State win.
This year, the Lions will look to force Pryor into turnovers as they did on their last trip to Columbus when Pryor lost a costly fumble in the second half and threw a game-sealing interception late in the game to give Penn State the victory. As 17-point underdogs, Ohio State mistakes will be key.
Joe Paterno says that although Matt McGloin will be the starter at quarterback, we could see Rob Bolden as well:
The Big Ten race continues to hurtle through time with four teams chasing a Rose Bowl bid. Michigan State leads at 5-1 in Big Ten play and Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa are right behind at 4-1. Penn State remains in the battle for a share of the conference title at 3-2, but its Rose Bowl hopes are probably gone.
It should be another interesting week of football, so let's get to some picks.
Iowa at Northwestern, noon, ESPN
This game will be the highlight of the early slate in the Big Ten. Northwestern is 6-3 (2-3) and is coming off a stinging loss to Penn State last weekend, while the Hawkeyes narrowly escaped Bloomington with an 18-13 win over Indiana. Expect Northwestern to play very tough at home. With a near upset of Michigan State and a great half of football in Happy Valley last weekend under their belts, the Wildcats will be a difficult out for an Iowa team that's not playing its best football at the moment. Oh, and don't forget, Northwestern took down Iowa at Kinnick Stadium last season, 17-10. Northwestern 24-21
Indiana at Wisconsin, Noon, ESPN2
It's been a year of near-misses for the Hoosiers, with narrow losses to Michigan, Northwestern and Iowa, but this week won't be one of them. After a slow first half, Wisconsin got things going offensively and won 34-13 at Purdue last Saturday. Even if running back John Clay does not play, the Badgers have a stable of offensive talent from Nick Toon to Montee Ball that they should be able to handle the Hoosiers at home. Indiana will challenge the Wisconsin defense a little bit, though, and keep things interesting. Wisconsin 33-20
Minnesota at Illinois, Noon, Big Ten Network
Illinois is coming off a monster week offensively, piling up 65 points on Michigan's terrible defense. The problem is that the Illini gave up 67 themselves in a loss. Fortunately for them, Minnesota doesn't have Michigan's high-powered offense. While quarterback Adam Weber can cause some problems, the Golden Gophers just don't have to weapons to stay with Illinois on the road, so look for the Zookers to get back on track. Illinois 38-17
Michigan at Purdue, Noon, Big Ten Network
Rich Rodriguez's Wolverines are bowl eligible for the first time in the coach's tenure at Michigan and they really seem to have things clicking offensively. Denard Robinson is expected to play, so Michigan's offense should be at full strength in West Lafayette. For that reason, it's going to be awfully difficult for the Boilermakers, 114th in passing yards and 111th in points scored, to keep pace with the Wolvernies. That said, Purdue needs two wins in the final three games for bowl eligibility, so look for an desperate effort from Danny Hope's squad. Michigan 35-14
Penn State at Ohio State, 3:30, ABC
The Nittany Lions are riding high after three straight wins including Joe Paterno's 400th career win last Saturday against Northwestern, but the Buckeyes offer a sobering challenge. If Terrelle Pryor can exploit what has been an exploitable Penn State defense, this one won't be in doubt for very long. If he can't, well then, things could get interesting. The Ohio State defense could prove to be the foil for new starting quarterback Matt McGloin, but keep an eye on this one nevertheless. Ohio State 21-10
The depth chart for the Ohio State game has been released, and at least one of the week’s questions has been put to rest. Matt McGloin, the former walk on from Scranton, has been named the Penn State starting quarterback. The official press release by Penn State lists McGloin above Rob Bolden, without the qualifying "OR" that was seen at the beginning of the year.
McGloin finished the Minnesota game three weeks ago, then played the entire Michigan game two weeks ago. Bolden returned to start the Northwestern game last week, but was pulled after a big hit. McGloin took over and led the team to a victory that included five straight touchdown drives.
The debate continues to rage as to who gives Penn State the best chance to win against the dangerous Buckeyes of Ohio State. Rob Bolden is seen as the future of this Penn State team, the more highly-skilled, highly-touted quarterback with the better promise over the next few years. However, there is no denying what McGloin has done over the past couple of weeks. He brings the indefinable "IT" factor, along with a confidence that hasn’t been seen since Daryl Clark and Michael Robinson were under center.
The remainder of the depth chart remains relatively unchanged.
Penn State players are wasting no time putting Joe Paterno's 400th career win over Northwesten at Beaver Stadium on Saturday behind them, as many have already shifted their focus to this week's nationally-televised showdown with Ohio State in Columbus.
"It’s always cool to go to a bowl game," right tackle Chima Okoli said. "But I know for a fact we have to keep and understand like this is over, this is done. It’s imperative we start preparing for Ohio State because they’re a really good football team."
ESPN's College GameDay will be on site for the game, the fifth time in six years Penn State-Ohio State has been the origination location for the popular pre-game show.
Once again, the rivalry game has major Big Ten and Rose Bowl implications, as Ohio State sits in a three-way tie with Wisconsin and Iowa for second in the conference at 4-1, trailing only Michigan State (5-1) by a half game. The Nittany Lions are fifth, and technically still in the race at 3-2, but will need to win out and get some help to have any hope of getting to the Rose Bowl.
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