Ohio State 33, Penn State 24: Nittany Lions Fall to 5-3 Despite Showing Fight in Columbus

By Joel Neuschwander on October 30, 2021 at 11:36 pm
Oct 30, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Parker Washington (3) breaks the tackle of Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Cameron Brown (26)during the second quarter at Ohio Stadium.
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State wouldn't go away quietly, but in the end, it just didn't have enough to take down Ohio State on the road.

We'll have much more on this game in the next few days, but for now, here are the three biggest takeaways from the Nittany Lions' 33-24 loss to the Buckeyes.

answering the bell

With its back against the wall numerous times, and the game seemingly on the verge of getting out of hand, Penn State responded.

After Jerron Cage rumbled 57 yards to put Ohio State in front by 10, things looked bleak, but the Nittany Lions fought back with scores on their next two drives. TreVeyon Henderson made the Buckeye lead 10 once again in the third quarter in three plays. Penn State put together a quick drive of its own polished off by Keyvone Lee to pull closer.

The bottom line is that this team never quit when they had plenty of reasons to do so. Consecutive demoralizing defeats derailing a season that had the chance to be special. A quarterback sidelined. A fanbase in a frenzy. Penn State didn't back down.

RED zone defense stands tall

Ohio State entered the red zone five times and left with just one touchdown. This game could have ended far sooner if not for the old "bend-don't-break" Penn State defensive unit.

The Buckeyes still got their fair share of yardage on the day, but Brent Pry's unit did all it could against a prolific offensive attack.

Sean Clifford 100% (or close to it)

James Franklin was right. His quarterback looked as good as he has all season outside of a bad interception. Clifford's swagger was back, and he battled all night long. The offense as a whole put last week's debacle in the rearview mirror.

Penn State sits at 5-3 and will likely drop out of the polls for the first time in 2021. How the rest of this campaign plays out is anyone's guess, but the Nittany Lions aren't lacking for more opportunities to grab a signature win — meetings with Michigan and Michigan State are still on the horizon.