Final Thoughts: Ohio State 38, Penn State 25

By Matt de Bear on October 31, 2020 at 11:22 pm
Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Brandon Smith (12) celebrates after sacking Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) during the fourth quarter of a NCAA football game at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa. on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Ohio State Faces Penn State In Happy Valley
© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC
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A disastrous first half proved too much for Penn State, falling 38-25 to No. 3 Ohio State. Jahan Dotson led the second half offensive awakening for the Nittany Lions, hauling in all three of his touchdowns in the final 30 minutes of the game.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • For the second straight week, the Penn State offense had a hard time finding its groove until it was essentially too late. Kirk Ciarrocca and Sean Clifford found a bit of a rhythm in the second half, getting the ball out quickly, and trusting Dotson to make plays in one-on-one coverage. Despite the better play, however, a game-ending interception late in the fourth quarter will leave more than a sour taste in the mouth of many.
  • It was talked about a lot leading up to the game, but Ohio State absolutely owned the Nittany Lions in the trenches. Penn State averaged less than two yards per carry, and could not consistently protect Clifford. On the other side, the Buckeyes averaged nearly five yards per carry, and Fields was allowed plenty of time to find any one of his talented receivers.
  • For the first time since 2012, Penn State starts a season 0-2. Obviously the 2020 campaign is anything but normal, but just two games into the season, all of the Lions' goals are off of the table. The remaining six (plus one) games will be quite the challenge for the culture that James Franklin has built into his seventh season with the Lions. Conference titles and playoff berths will have to wait until at least 2021, but if they are not careful, this season could go off of the rails in the final six weeks.

Penn State returns to action next Saturday when Maryland visits Happy Valley next Saturday. That game kicks off at 3:30 on BTN.

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