(Saturday, November 7th)
Final Score: (15) Ohio State 24, (11) Penn State 7
University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Terrelle Pryor threw for two scores and ran for another, as 15th-ranked Ohio State posted a dominating 24-7 win over 11th-ranked Penn State at Beaver Stadium in a key Big Ten contest.
Pryor completed 8-of-17 passes for 125 yards and had no interceptions, adding 50 rushing yards on five carries for the Buckeyes (8-2, 5-1), who have won three in a row and gained an advantage in the conference race.
Ohio State is now tied at the top of the conference with Iowa, which lost to Northwestern earlier Saturday for its first conference defeat. OSU and Iowa meet next week in Columbus in a contest that could decide the Big Ten title, as the Buckeyes aim for their fifth consecutive conference championship.
"This is a gratifying game," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "You come over here and win -- it's hard. You play Penn State any time, it's hard. So, that's a good thing, but being gratifying gets halted the minute you start thinking about what's next."
Brandon Saine ran 20 times for 68 yards for the Buckeyes, who accumulated more rushing yards (228) than Penn State had overall (201). Saine and DeVier Posey each had a touchdown reception in the victory.
Daryll Clark threw for 125 yards and was intercepted once on 12-of-28 passing for the Nittany Lions (8-2, 4-2), who had won five in a row. Seven of Clark's completions went to Graham Zug for 96 yards, but no other receiver had more than one catch.
Evan Royster gained 36 yards on 13 carries for an ineffective Penn State rushing attack that netted just 76 yards.
"We thought we had a very good game plan going in," Clark said. "And they did a good job of disrupting it, and their defenders and defensive backs did a good job of getting in our guys' faces and disrupting their routes a couple of times. We were just in a little bit of disarray the whole game."
Ohio State went three-and-out on the first possession of the game, but got great field position on its next series, thanks to a 41-yard punt return by Ray Small. It set the Buckeyes up at the Penn State nine-yard line, and on 2nd-and-goal Pryor ran seven yards into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
Penn State evened the game with a long drive that spanned into the second quarter -- an 11-play, 71-yard march that lasted just over five minutes.
Clark had the big play, with a 31-yard throw to Zug, which moved the ball across midfield to the Ohio State 29. A pass interference call on the Buckeyes put the ball at the two, though it took until 4th-and-goal for Penn State to score on a one-yard plunge by Clark. The Lions kicked an extra point, but the play was under review at the time.
However, the call was upheld, and PSU kicked the extra point again to make it a 7-7 game.
The Buckeyes countered with a 37-yard field goal from Devin Barclay, a former pro soccer player who was playing in place of injured starter Aaron Pettrey. The kick came with 5:54 left in the half, and capped a 10-play, 61-yard drive.
Ohio State held that lead at the break, then used a big play late in the third quarter to expand its advantage. The teams had exchanged punts for most of the frame, and one from PSU put Ohio State at its own 38. On the first play of the drive, Pryor aired out a pass to Posey along the left sideline, as the receiver found an open space beyond his defender and away from the safety.
"I think we should have checked two or three deep there and when we didn't, but we still should have been able to play with what we were in," said Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. "We should have been okay with that one. It shouldn't have been a big problem."
Posey caught the pass and ran into the end zone to complete the 62-yard play, making it a 17-7 game with 1:47 left.
"We felt that they knew the same thing that everyone else knew - we'd been running a lot on first downs," Tressel said. "We felt like if we had decent field position it was time to try to strike."
Penn State punted again, and the Buckeyes found the end zone on the opening drive of the fourth.
Pryor kept the progression going with a 12-yard run on 3rd-and-11, and later ended the drive with a six-yard pass to Saine. He found the running back on the right side of the field, and Saine dived over a potential tackler across the goal line to push Ohio State's lead to 24-7 with 9:37 left in the contest.
Clark was intercepted on the Lions' next drive, and Ohio State held on for the win from there.
Saturday's contest was the 300th game at Beaver Stadium, and provided the fourth-largest attendance in stadium history (110,303)...Ohio State leads the all-time series, 13-12. Penn State won last year's matchup, 13-6, at the Horseshoe.
11/07 23:24:34 ET