The decision to run the ball on fourth down after each team had taken a timeout instead of relying on quarterback Trace McSorley was widely criticized and second-guessed by fans and media alike.
Penn State recorded its first loss at Beaver Stadium since November 21, 2015 on Saturday evening.
Did a late defeat to Ohio State hurt the Nittany Lions' biggest hopes for the year?
Maybe it was adjustments or exhausted legs or both, but the wheels slowly fell off in the fourth quarter as Penn State's biggest demons, open-field tackling, and a sudden inability to defend the screen, led to two pivotal Ohio State scoring drives.
It had Ohio State off balance and was primed to pick up the first, but for some reason the officials stopped play to announce that the Nittany Lions did not get a first down. Yes, but there is a lot of football still to come and plenty to evaluate as Penn State keeps plugging away in the Big Ten. And then, in what was a very curious play call by Penn State, he dropped Sanders for a loss when he carried the ball on a fourth down and five yards to go play.
Ohio State ran out the clock, leaving the sellout crowd stunned in disbelief. "We probably shouldn't have given up a touchdown with that sudden change (Sanders' fumble in the second quarter)". Hamler outran the entire Buckeye defense for the second-longest passing touchdown in Penn State history.
Considering this group gave up 24 points in the first half to IL last week and then proceeded to give up 27 points to the No.2 ranked offense in the nation, it's hard to find much fault with the steps forward this unit made in such a short span. But give credit to our opponent.
"We played pretty well", said linebacker Jan Johnson, the former Gov. Mifflin standout who made five tackles. Hats off to the defense.
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His effort was parried away but Dybala acrobatically volleyed it in for his first goal of the season. They are very strong, but we are focused and will go there to win.
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"They weren't going to let us throw the ball downfield", Haskins said. The worst, however, was when Haskins found junior tight end Rashod Berry on a crossing route and hit him with a frozen rope of a pass. Berry not only missed the catch, but he also tipped it into the air for an easy interception for Garrett Taylor, who returned it 45 yards to the OSU 28.
McSorley completed 16 of 32 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns.
An nearly complete absence of offense was the defining characteristic of the first half for Ohio State until a Penn State turnover set up OSU's only score in the first 30 minutes. For the second time in September, the Buckeyes allowed a 93-yard touchdown, this time on a slant pass from McSorley to K.J. Hamler in the second quarter to make it 13-0. On fourth-and-5 from the Ohio State 43, McSorley handed off to Sanders on a read option and his was smothered by Chase Young, who had a huge game at defensive end for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes were fortunate that Penn State could put only 13 points on the scoreboard in the first half. The Nittany Lions could not gain a first down, and Pinegar's 39-yard field goal pushed the lead to 6-0. They have a strong rushing attack that is putting up 275 yards per game.
Dwayne Haskins is human. They eventually found some success, especially with J.K. Dobbins, but there were far too many predictable, slow-developing wide runs that got blown up. But then Ohio State's offense responded with the right answers at the right time, something Penn State was unable to do. There was a smiling, understated but blatantly satisfied Urban Meyer and a fiery, furiously restless James Franklin.
Penn State's Juwan Johnson (84) makes a catch as Ohio State's Damon Arnette (3) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday.
BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 17: College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy presented by Dr Pepper is seen at Tiger Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Just like in the TCU game, with things moving in a good direction, the coaching staff called a wildcat play that lost three yards.
Penn State: The victor of this game has won the Big Ten the past two seasons.