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No. 9 Penn State Drops 27-26 Heartbreaker To No. 4 Ohio State

The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes rolled into Happy Valley to take on No. 9 Penn State on Saturday night and escaped with a 27-26 victory.

The Penn State defense looked great in the first half, holding the Buckeyes to just 93 total yards of offense. A 20-point second half by Ohio State doomed the Nittany Lions and dropped their record to 4-1 this season.

Penn State recorded its first loss at Beaver Stadium since November 21, 2015 on Saturday evening.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. Completed passes to both KJ Hamler and Brandon Polk opened the drive, but the Buckeyes were eventually able to force a punt from Gillikin and took over at their own 20. Penn State would hold strong on the Buckeyes’ drive, though, allowing just one first down before forcing a punt.

Pat Freiermuth gained 15 yards on a pass from McSorley to begin Penn State’s next drive before McSorley broke out for a 13-yard gain. Following an incredible catch from Juwan Johnson, the Nittany Lions settled for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 4:58 to play in the quarter.

The Penn State defense didn’t even allow the Buckeyes to gain a first down in their next drive. McSorley kicked off the ensuing drive with a 51-yard carry to put the Nittany Lions within striking distance. The Ohio State defense wouldn’t break, through, and Pinegar’s field goal effort missed wide.

In the second quarter, Garrett Taylor picked off Dwayne Haskins and returned it deep into Ohio State territory. The Nittany Lions had to settle for another field goal, though, taking a 6-0 lead with 11:18 remaining in the first half.

The first touchdown of the game seemingly came out of nowhere. McSorley, working from Penn State’s 7-yard line, found KJ Hamler on a slant and the young receiver did the rest. Hamler outran the entire Buckeye defense for the second-longest passing touchdown in Penn State history. The Nittany Lions took a 13-0 lead.

Ohio State’s first points of the game came after Miles Sanders fumbled the ball deep in Penn State territory. A 26-yard screen pass from Haskins to JK Dobbins made it 13-7 in favor of Penn State with 1:50 remaining in the half.

The Buckeyes put together an impressive drive to open the second half. JK Dobbins punctuated the 75-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown to give the Buckeyes a 14-13 lead.

Penn State really struggled offensively in the third quarter, putting up just 36 yards. Still, the Nittany Lions trailed by just a point heading into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter started off much better for Penn State, as McSorley drove the offense down the field with a Heisman-like showing. The drive culminated in a inch-perfect pass from McSorley to Freiermuth with 12:22 remaining in the game.

Trace McSorley thought he had an 11-yard rushing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, but the original call was overturned. Penn State took over possession at the one-yard line, but Sanders punched it into the end zone to give Penn State a 26-14 lead after a failed two-point conversion.

Ohio State’s Binjimen Victor weaved through the Nittany Lion defense to score a miraculous 47-yard touchdown with 6:42 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Buckeyes then took a 27-26 lead with 2:03 to play on a 24-yard touchdown pass. That screen pass would give the Buckeyes a lead they would not give up for the remainder of the game.

Player of the Game

KJ Hamler | Wide Receiver | Freshman

KJ Hamler was electric for the Nittany Lions. Hamler made four catches for 138 yards, including a 93-yard touchdown and another one of the biggest catches of the game. 

What’s Next

Penn State has a bye next week, but will play host to Michigan State the following week in front of a Stripe Out.

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About the Author

Derek Bannister

Derek is a senior majoring in Economics and History. He is legally required to tell you that he's from right outside of Philly. Email Derek compliments and dad-jokes at [email protected].

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