Penn State lost a heartbreaker to Ohio State 27-26. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter but ultimately could not put the game away. Here are some of our takeaways.
SCreen game woes
When Blake Gillikin booted a punt down to the Ohio State five-yard line, it seemed like the Penn State defense had a good shot to put the game away. Then came a screen that went through the hearts of that defense. Dwayne Haskins couldn't get anything going downfield, so Ryan Day adjusted and called a handful of screens that the Lions just had no answer for.
Penn State lost a few key players to injury and one to an ejection on Saturday. Antonio Shelton's targeting call left an already thin defensive line even thinner, especially with Ellison Jordan's absence. KJ Hamler was knocked out of the game after taking a tough hit to the head. This team is still inexperienced, so losing a key rotation guy along the line and arguably your most explosive player is a tough hole to dig out of.
Third down inefficiencies
The Nittany Lions were an abysmal 4-17 on third downs against Ohio State. It seemed like the offense was trying to get too cute and ended up shooting itself in the foot on more than a few key plays.
It's been a theme all season. Penn State's receivers had, by my count, four drops on Saturday. No matter how you spin, you can't have that happening in week five. That should be the primary focus for David Corley and the receivers during the bye week and heading into Michigan State.
Mcsorley did all he could
On a more positive note, Trace McSorley played his best game of the season. He was 16/32 for 286 yards and threw a pair of scores. On the ground, he set a new career high with 175 yards on 25 carries. The senior was the best player on the field more often than not.