Penn State Players Look Forward After Stinging Loss To Buckeyes
Penn State gave up 12 unanswered points in the final 5:42 of Saturday’s 39-38 loss to the Buckeyes, but the team’s leadership is confident its goal are still very much in reach.
“We beat this team last year and they were able to make it to the College Football Playoff, so our season’s far from over,” Saquon Barkley said postgame.
“I was telling those guys in there, ‘You’ve gotta keep your head up.’ We lost to a good team,” Barkley said. “They played hard, we played hard. They just happened to score one more point than we did.”
Senior tight end Mike Gesicki, who caught six passes for 57 yards, echoed Barkley’s sentiments in the media room.
“Ohio State is Ohio State for a reason. Ultimately, that’s a great football team that we played,” Gesicki said. “We’ve still got everything out there in front of us. This is the very beginning to the rest of our season.”
The Nittany Lions surrendered 529 total yards to Kevin Wilson’s offense, failing to keep Ohio State out of the end zone when it mattered most. A costly injury to starting defensive end Ryan Buchholz and J.T. Barrett’s all-around gem of a performance put an enormous amount of pressure on Brent Pry’s bunch.
“We still have all the faith in the world in our defense,” Gesicki said. “We’ve got some unbelievable talent back there, unbelievable leadership. They’re gonna bounce back. There’s no reason for panic.”
Trace McSorley took care of the football against a swarming Ohio State defense that recorded 13 tackles for loss, but when the Nittany Lions needed to move the chains on their last two drives, they went backwards for negative nine yards in seven plays.
“They did a little bit more of just getting in our receivers’ faces going into what we would call a ‘bear’ front. Our line did a pretty good job tonight. As an [offensive] unit, we just didn’t have it at the end of the game,” McSorley said.
“We can’t let this define our season,” he continued. “We’ve gotta get back to work tomorrow, use this as fire, and continue to have this propel us throughout the rest of the year. It’s college football, you never know what’s gonna happen.”
McSorley and the offense can use the plane ride home to evaluate where they came up short, but keeping with James Franklin’s motto of moving on to the next opponent when the clock strikes midnight, it will be all Michigan State come Sunday.
“Let it hurt tonight. Let it sink in and look yourself in the mirror,” McSorley said. “What could each man in that room have done better throughout the whole week to have us score 40 points to get the win?”
Penn State will need some serious help if it’s going to reach the Big Ten championship again, but the Buckeyes travel to Iowa City next Saturday, and everyone knows just how intimidating Kinnick Stadium can be.
“Unfortunately, now we don’t control our own destiny,” McSorley said. “The only thing we can control now is how we approach the rest of the year.”