Ohio State vs. Penn State score, takeaways: No. 5 Buckeyes survive tough test from No. 20 Nittany Lions
Ohio State picked up its first signature win of the season on Separation Saturday in the Big Ten
A game of wild momentum shifts in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday night ended with the pendulum swinging in the home team's favor as No. 5 Ohio State won its sixth consecutive game this season and its 22nd straight Big Ten game overall in a 33-24 defeat of No. 20 Penn State.
The Buckeyes fell behind out of the gate after giving up a touchdown on Penn State's second possession of the game and mustered only one score, a field goal, over their first five possessions. But a touchdown strike from quarterback C.J. Stroud to wide receiver Chris Olave in the second half gave them the lead for the first time, and a scoop-and-score just before halftime made it a double-digit game at the break.
Penn State abruptly erased that deficit with a field goal as time expired in the second quarter and a touchdown score early in the third quarter. As was the case all night, it triggered a reaction with Ohio State getting a field goal and score of its own only for Penn State -- sensing a theme here? -- to battle back to cut the lead to 27-24 with another score.
That was as close as it got all night. Ohio State kicked -- and made -- a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Buckeyes freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson stole the show late in the game after finding little room early. He finished with 152 yards rushing and a touchdown. Stroud added 305 yards passing and a touchdown through the air.
Penn State's struggles on offense were at least partially because it was not able to find as much balance as its foe. Quarterback Sean Clifford finished his day with 361 yards passing and a score while completing 35 of 52 attempts, but the team rushed for 33 yards on 29 carries in the losing effort against a stout defensive front for the Buckeyes.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
1. Ohio State's defense stands tall
During its six-game winning streak, Ohio State's explosive offense has helped propel it into the conversation as one of the most fun -- and arguably one of the best -- teams in college football. But Saturday it was the defense that stood tall. The Buckeyes held Penn State and its ground attack, which was averaging nearly 120 yards rushing per game, to 33 yards on 29 total carries for the game. Through the air, Clifford had a huge stat line with 361 yards passing but he tossed an interception and the team gave up two fumbles including one from Clifford which was returned for a score. Clifford was under duress throughout the game and it hampered his decision-making throughout to the benefit of Ohio State. OSU finished with four sacks and eight tackles for loss.
2. TreVeyon Henderson the hero
Penn State learned firsthand that you can, in fact, bottle up freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson. It also learned that you can only do so for so long. Henderson had only 20 yards rushing on his first 14 carries of the game but turned his final 14 carries into 132 yards and a score, breaking open Ohio State's ground attack late when it was needed. He's scored at least once in all eight games this season and leads the Big Ten in touchdowns.
3. Penn State shows life
Penn State looked listless against Iowa earlier this month, especially after losing Clifford, and then again last week against Illinois in a nine-overtime (!) thriller. So it would've been acceptable -- heck, even expected -- if it had not looked crisp on the road against a red-hot Ohio State team. Instead, Clifford came out dealing through the air to record the second-most passing yards in a Big Ten game of his career. The defense largely held up well, especially early, against an Ohio State team that was averaging 54.4 points per game in its last five games. The schedule doesn't loosen up from here in the no-days-off Big Ten, but Saturday was at least an encouraging showing that could help the Nittany Lions build confidence moving forward into the final month of the season.
Final Score: Ohio State 33, Penn State 24— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) October 31, 2021
Ohio State settles for a field goal attempt on 4th and 1 to make it a two-possession game and it drops. It's 33-24 Ohio State with 2:41 left in the fourth quarter.
OH MY. PENN STATE.
A 70-yard touchdown to tie it up is coming back because of an illegal touching penalty from Penn State.
That one stings. Looked like it was the right call.
Goes without saying, but a huge drive upcoming for the Penn State offense. Trailing 30-24 with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Key will be keeping the pocket clean for Sean Clifford. When he's had time to throw, he's delivered, when he's been rushed, he's been off target, turned it over or been sacked.
Penn State has been put in some pretty rough situations on defense all night and all night it has come up with key stops. It gets another one there in limiting OSU to a field goal. So OSU is up 30-24 instead of potentially extending its lead to double digits.
Ill-advised pass from Sean Clifford off the back foot leads to a huge INT from the Ohio State defense and a nice return on the pick to boot. The Buckeyes take over in plus-territory with a chance to really put the game on ice up 27-24.
😤😤😤— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) October 31, 2021
TURNOVER ON DOWNS.
TreVeyon Henderson had 20 yards rushing on his first 14 carries of the game.
He has 71 yards rushing and a score in his last three attempts. One of the hardest backs to contain in college football started to get loose.
Penn State really winning the battle at the line of scrimmage right now!— Tamba Hali (@TambaHali91) October 31, 2021
Huge goal-line stand from Penn State after Ohio State marched it right down the field. Buckeyes come away with points but after towering over the goal line and nearly scoring, they get just a field goal to show for it. 20-17 Ohio State.
Penn State with a huge start to the second half. Jahan Dotson dives in for a two-yard rushing score to even things at 17-17. Another really good drive for Sean Clifford and this offense, which has looked good when Clifford has not been rushed.