PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Biggest Plays In Penn State-Ohio State History

This Saturday’s matchup between No. 2 Penn State and No. 6 Ohio State is carrying more clout than any other game this season. In fact, it could go down as one of the biggest regular season games in school history, with serious playoff implications at stake in Columbus.

This isn’t the first time a rivalry game with the Buckeyes is featured as one of college football’s marquee matchup of the season. The mid-1990’s and mid-2000’s had a handful of top-10 and top-15 matchups between the two storied programs. College GameDay has picked the game for the eighth time in the show’s history as its location for this weekend, despite setting up at Old Main just this past week.

With so many fantastic players, moments, and memories created from the history of this rivalry, we decided to take a look back at some of the most monumental all-time plays between Penn State and Ohio State.

1995: Bobby Hoying’s Final Drive Heroics

The year after Kerry Collins and Ki-Jana Carter left the perfect 1994 Nittany Lions for the NFL, Penn State had started the year ranked high in the polls. However, the week before their meeting with the Buckeyes, the No. 6 Nittany Lions lost at home to unranked Wisconsin.

Moving down to 12th in the AP Poll, Penn State hoped to get back on the right foot and move into the top 10, as it led 25-21 with three minutes to go. Bobby Hoying took over the Buckeye offense at his own 42-yard line, trying to give the Nittany Lions their second consecutive home loss.

After a clutch third-down conversion, Hoying found two-sport star Rickey Dudley for a huge 32-yard gain. The 6-foot-7 tight end walked onto the football team after being recruited to the school initially for basketball. Dudley managed to use his big frame to pull down the ball even with triple coverage.

While that was the more memorable play, YouTube was only able to find us a short video of the ensuing touchdown instead of the catch. Columbus legend Eddie George powered into the end zone with a six-yard rush to give Ohio State the emphatic come-from-behind win.

2005: Tamba Hali’s Forced Fumble

Potentially one of the most-played highlight videos in Penn State folklore, Tamba Hali’s soul-jarring sack of Troy Smith was program-defining.

With the Buckeyes trailing 17-10 with just minutes remaining, Smith led Ohio State into Nittany Lion territory, surely driving to tie the game. On this second-down play, Hali broke past the offensive line, delivered a blow to Smith, and knocked the ball free to seal the win for Penn State.

This season featured an Orange Bowl victory, and a Rose Bowl appearance followed just a few years later. After an abysmal 4-7 year in 2004, the momentum this win generated for the program can’t be overstated.

2014: Blown Calls and a Joey Bosa Walk-Off Sack

There were names on jerseys, less scholarships, and even fewer expectations for the 2014 Nittany Lions in this game. For the Happy Valley faithful, this game is more memorable for the plays that weren’t called, as well as the most Hackenberg-y way to lose a game ever.

The Buckeyes tallied a field goal with an expired play clock, in addition to an interception that obviously hit the ground. Even more gut-wrenching, the officials reviewed the trapped ball, and STILL didn’t overturn the play.

However, a furious comeback started by an improbable Anthony Zettel pick-six was capped off by a Sam Ficken field goal that sent this game into overtime. The Nittany Lions ended up running out of magic in the second overtime, and All-American Joey Bosa took full advantage. The play below speaks for itself, and is the main reason fans couldn’t help but scream at Penn State’s offensive line and quarterback throughout much of 2014-15.

2016: “It’s Blocked. Lions Scoop It Up. Grant Haley…Will Score”

This one is still pretty fresh in the minds of most who are reading this, but if you live under a rock, here’s what you missed. Trailing 21-7 in the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions used quick momentum-changing plays from their special teams to change the tide of the game.

After an opening drive touchdown from Trace McSorley and Co., a punt block by freshman linebacker Cam Brown led to points on the board to cut it to a one-possession game.

However, arguably the most miraculous play in Beaver Stadium history took place in a seemingly harmless moment. Ohio State tried to extend its lead from four to seven and add some insurance. The Nittany Lions hadn’t blocked a kick for a score in Happy Valley since 2012, but Marcus Allen had other ideas. The junior safety swatted down the Tyler Durbin attempt, and Grant Haley ran the ball right down “memory lane” of every Penn State football fan until the end of time. Be sure to sit down and locate the closest tissue box before watching this stunning block.

About the Author

Mitch Stewart

Mitch is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Despite growing up in Roanoke, VA (Redskins/Nationals country), he is an avid Dallas Cowboys and New York Mets fan. In addition to being an editor for Onward State, Mitch loves to watch sports, talk about sports on PSU CommRadio, and tries his hardest to avoid the agony that being a Mets fan brings. To contact Mitch, feel free to send him an e-mail at [email protected], and if you really don't value your social media accounts, follow him and his garbage opinions on Twitter @mitchystew.


More by Mitch

Saquon Barkley Jersey Already NFL’s Top-Seller

The rookie running back has the top-selling jersey in the league, even though Barkley hasn’t played a single NFL down yet.

Penn State Hoops’ Mike Watkins Charged With Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine


Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Student Life

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Students were delayed hours on Tuesday afternoon while trying to purchase on-campus parking permits.

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Madden NFL 19 Ratings For Nittany Lions

For the second consecutive year, Sean Lee is the highest-rated Nittany Lion in the Madden video game.

Send this to a friend