Takeaways: Penn State Falls to Ohio State 31-24
The Nittany Lions were not supposed to contend with the visiting Ohio State Buckeyes, but found a way to take the game to overtime, only to fall short, 31-24. The loss drops the reeling Lions to 4-3 on the season, and their losing streak is extended to three games. There is a lot to discuss from Saturday night’s contest, and plenty to think about moving forward.
Penn State played inspired football tonight.
Penn State has looked discombobulated and downright flat the past two games, and gave fans no reason to think that tonight’s showing would be any different. On a national stage, however, there was something different about this team. Fueled by the electric atmosphere provided by the whiteout, the Penn State played with a chip on its shoulder. The team stepped up defensively, and made the plays it needed to make.
The team played sharp, and for the most part, kept Ohio State’s offensive playmakers from running rampant like they were predicted to. The offensive line, bruised and depleted, stepped up to the challenge of containing Ohio State’s defensive line, and allowed Christian Hackenberg to generate enough offense to keep the Nittany Lions in this game. Sure, they didn’t come out on top, but they played like they gave a damn.
James Franklin seemed emotional during the post game press conference, just as his players were. They hustled, and they played their hearts out, and gave fans a reason to believe. “With that [effort], we’ll get everywhere we want to go. And I told [the players] that.,” Franklin said after the game.
The officiating crew was absolutely abysmal
Here’s a transcript of the officiating crew’s post-game interview. Pretty mind-blowingly incompetent, if you ask us. pic.twitter.com/kkhbQG3zQ9
— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 26, 2014
Normally, the refs act as a scapegoat for a poor performance from a team, but tonight was a different story. There were multiple instances where the officials got the call wrong, and proceeded to either not review the play, or review it and still get it wrong.
The result? At least ten points that should not have been on the board for Ohio State. It is incredible that Hackenberg’s first quarter interception was not thoroughly reviewed, despite obvious signs indicating that the ball had clearly touched the ground. To make things worse, the crew missed a clear delay of game penalty on the Buckeyes’ field goal. There is no sugar coating the fact that this officiating crew potentially cost Penn State a chance to win the game, and even worse, they offered no logical explanation for what occurred on Saturday night.
DaeSean Hamilton is a beast
After Allen Robinson departed for the NFL this past offseason, Penn State fans wondered what the future would hold for the Nittany Lions’ young receiving corps. Well, that question has been answered. DaeSean Hamilton has embraced the spotlight, and exploded onto the scene. One year removed from sitting the year out as a redshirt nursing a wrist injury, Hamilton is now one of the premier young pass catchers in the entire country.
Hamilton backed this label up with a 14 catch, 126 yard performance against a talented Ohio State secondary. His 14 catches set a new Penn State receiving record, and he has established himself as Christian Hackenberg’s new favorite target.
This team is close to being very good
This team is young, and has all of the potential in the world. The first four games of the season gave fans a bit of false hope, and the last three have sent them crashing back to reality. However, the past three games have been an appropriate estimate for where this young team should be right now. The first four games were against lesser competition, but the team will improve because of the trials they have had to endure the past month. It isn’t easy, but in the long run, it will prove very helpful for the growth of James Franklin’s inexperienced Nittany Lion squad. Penn State took an Ohio State team, which is ranked thirteenth in the nation, to the bitter end, and made them fight for this victory. The season is not over, and the future remains bright.