(Saturday, November 13th)
Final Score: (8) Ohio State 38, Penn State 14
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Dan Herron ran for a career-high 190 yards and a touchdown, as eighth-ranked Ohio State used a huge second half to beat Penn State, 38-14, in a Big Ten clash from the Horseshoe.
The Nittany Lions held a 14-3 lead at halftime, but the Buckeyes dominated over the final two quarters, putting up 35 points while holding Penn State scoreless. Devon Torrence and Travis Howard each returned an interception for a score in the second half.
Terrelle Pryor threw for 139 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception, for Ohio State (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten), which kept pace for the conference lead with Wisconsin and Michigan State. The Badgers used an 83-20 thrashing of Indiana to improve to 5-1 in the Big Ten on Saturday, while the Spartans had a bye.
A big difference in the game was rushing. The Buckeyes accumulated 314 yards on the ground compared to 113 for Penn State.
Matt McGloin passed for 159 yards and two first-half touchdowns on 15-of-30 efficiency, but threw the two costly picks as the Nittany Lions (6-4, 3-3) had a three-game win streak broken.
"We didn't execute quite as well. Ohio State played the run better," Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said of the second half. "I didn't think they did much different but maybe played with more intensity. I give Ohio State some credit. They played better in the second half."
Penn State was coming off last weekend's comeback victory over Northwestern, which gave Paterno his 400th career victory. Paterno looked to be on the way to No. 401 after a strong first half, but Ohio State took over coming out of the break.
The Buckeyes forced the Lions to punt before taking over deep in their own territory. But in moving up the field, Ohio State faced only one third down -- which Pryor converted with an 11-yard pass to Herron.
Brandon Saine's 19-yard run moved the ball to the five, and Herron got into the end zone on the next play. He ran between the tackles, essentially untouched, to get across the goal line and end the 96-yard drive with 6:33 left in the quarter.
On the fourth play of Penn State's ensuing drive, Torrence's interception put Ohio State in front. Torrence was lined up across from PSU receiver Derek Moye, but dropped his coverage as he saw McGloin start to pass to the left flat. Torrence jumped in front of the intended receiver, secured the ball after initially bobbling it, and ran 34 yards for a touchdown and 17-14 OSU lead.
The Buckeyes' offense was threatening on a drive that spanned into the fourth quarter, though Malcolm Willis picked off Pryor at the PSU 2. But after the Lions failed to gain a first down and had to punt, OSU's offense took over at the PSU 45.
Ohio State was pushed back to its own 42 after a holding penalty, but the hosts scored on the next play thanks to an opportunistic Dane Sanzenbacher.
Pryor aired out an end zone pass for DeVier Posey, who was double-covered and had the ball bounce off his hands. Sanzenbacher, left open, was only feet away and made the catch. The 58-yard play gave Ohio State a 24-14 lead with 9:58 on the clock.
"I knew he was next to me on the route but not right next to me then," Posey said. "I thought I came down with it but the defensive player knocked it out. I heard the roar and looked up and saw Dane with it in the end zone. I guess I kind of threw him an alley-oop."
Most hopes for a Penn State comeback disappeared about a minute later, when Howard returned an interception 30 yards for a TD.
Pryor's three-yard pass to Jake Stoneburner with 3:59 remaining completed the scoring.
Ohio State's victory snapped a string of home losses in the series against Penn State. Entering Saturday's game, the visiting team had won the last three, and the Lions got off to a good start in their attempt to make it four in a row.
Devin Barclay kicked a 26-yard field goal on the game's opening drive, but Penn State put together several long drives to take control.
Later in the first, Penn State started at its own 33 and reached the end zone in 10 plays. Evan Royster converted a fourth down with a three-yard run and McGloin -- a former walk-on who was making his first road start -- capped the march with a 23-yard pass to Justin Brown.
After a Buckeyes punt, the Lions began a drive at their own 18. PSU did not face a third down until it was 3rd-and-goal from the six, and McGloin cashed in with a connection to Moye nearly four minutes into the second quarter.
Penn State was back in Ohio State territory on its next touch, but turned the ball over on downs.
"Our guys went out the second half and took over, but I think it was fueled by how hard that defense fought in that last series that they had to stop them," said Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel.
Pryor, who completed 8-of-13 passes, ran for 49 yards for OSU...Royster led the Lions with 49 rushing yards, while Stephfon Green had 18, but both backs dealt with injuries during the game. Green was carted off in the second half, but appeared back on the sideline shortly thereafter...Penn State linebacker Mike Mauti did not play in the second half because of a shoulder injury...Posey led the Buckeyes with three catches for 63 yards...Brown had five grabs for 64 yards for PSU...Ohio State leads the series, 14-12. Despite the recent trend, the home team has won 13 of the 18 meetings since the Nittany Lions began Big Ten play in 1993.
11/13 20:32:24 ET