Saquon Barkley took the opening kickoff 97 yards to the house, but No. 2 Penn State fell to No. 6 Ohio State 39-38 Saturday evening in Columbus.
The Nittany Lions stifled a furious rally from Urban Meyer’s squad for quite some time, but the Buckeyes took their first lead of the game with 1:48 to play.
How It Happened
Barkley burst down the left sideline untouched, walking into the end zone just 15 seconds later. Manny Bowen and Koa Farmer combined for a fumble recovery, setting up DaeSean Hamilton’s 13-yard touchdown catch with 11:36 left in the first quarter. The senior receiver promptly imitated LeBron James’ signature chalk celebration for good measure.
Ryan Buchholz and Christian Campbell both went down with injuries in the first quarter, and the former was carted off the field as a large group of teammates came over to offer their support. Left tackle Ryan Bates would later leave the game with an injury of his own. Ohio State scored the first points of any team against the Nittany Lions in the first quarter this season on a 39-yard Sean Nuernberger field goal.
Barkley’s second touchdown of the day came on a 36-yard race to the left pylon, with Trace McSorley serving as his lead blocker. Terry McLaurin caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from J.T. Barrett to cut the deficit to 21-10, but McSorley would soon scamper in from six yards out to again make it a three-score game. Backup running back Mike Weber plunged through the hole for a 2-yard score to make it 28-17 five minutes before the half.
Nuernberger made it 28-20 on a 36-yard field goal three minutes into the third quarter. DeAndre Thompkins gave Penn State a 35-20 lead following a lengthy video review of his 37-yard circus catch, which was ruled a touchdown after initially being called an interception.
Denzel Ward blocked Blake Gillikin’s punt early in the fourth quarter before Barrett found Johnnie Dixon for a 38-yard strike. Tyler Davis delivered a clutch 24-yard field goal with 5:42 remaining to stretch Penn State’s lead to 38-27. Ohio State answered with a 10-yard Dixon touchdown catch, then took its first lead of the game, 39-38, on Marcus Baugh’s 16-yard score.
Player Of The Game
J.T. Barrett | Senior | Quarterback
Barrett couldn’t have played any better, totaling 423 yards of offense and four passing touchdowns. He missed only six of his 39 throws.
The Nittany Lions (7-1) travel to Michigan State next Saturday for a noon kick on FOX.