Buckeye defense bent, but didn't break against Penn State


"He came through the middle and made the tackle".

The Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) were out-gained by 100 yards and trailed 26-14 midway through the second quarter, but Dwayne Haskins tossed two late touchdown passes, engineering a 96-yard game-winning touchdown drive, to give Ohio State a crucial win in the Big Ten East race and the inside track to returning to the College Football Playoff.

COACHING: C. James Franklin owned the lapses, which included two fourth-down decisions he wanted back. Penn State and its dynamic and gritty quarterback Trace McSorley had Ohio State reeling midway through the fourth quarter.

No. 11 Penn State (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) will not play this weekend, but will be back in action on October 13 for the Stripe Out game against No. 20 Michigan State. Sure enough, it was as Ohio State took a 14-13 lead into the fourth quarter after overcoming a 13-0 deficit in the second quarter. Miles Sanders coughed up the ball after being hit by Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland, and the Buckeyes' Dre'Mont Jones hopped on the ball at the Penn State 25.

Ohio State defensive end Jonathon Cooper spoke to the media after the instant classic to talk about the resiliency of the Buckeye defense.

Young had a sack of McSorley to mute Penn State's momentum. Penn State fans rode an elevator somberly. He said Victor's touchdown catch "changed everything". Then Ohio State called a timeout.

A great team dominates the first half. But give credit to our opponent. An elite team makes big plays in the biggest moments. Hats off to the defense. But just like a year ago, when J.T. Barrett led an incredible comeback in Columbus for a 39-38 win, the Buckeyes simply found a way to get the job done when they absolutely had to.

"The coaches did a good job with the halftime adjustments".

"We believed that they'd probably think we were passing it", Sanders said, "but try to get the ball in my hands and get the first down". The play was there to be made; we just didn't make the play.

Kirk is a storm again
The system is expected to run into heavy wind shear as it enters the Caribbean Sea, which will likely work to tear it apart. Little change in strength is forecast until Kirk moves through the central Lesser Antilles Thursday afternoon and evening.

After a slow start, Haskins completed 22 of 39 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns.

A screen to J.K. Dobbins got 35 and took Ohio State out of the hole. McSorley has also thrown for 763 yards and eight touchdowns.

Stolen away by Ohio State.

Ohio State moved near midfield on the ensuing possession, and Urban Meyer elected to go for a 4th-and-1 at the Penn State 48, and a Haskins keeper was stuffed. The quarterback hit Freiermuth for 27 yards on the first play to the Ohio State 48, and the Lions were in great shape as they got closer to field goal range. Penn State immediately lost 13 yards on a swing pass trying to set up a trick play.

Penn State fell to 4-1 on the season, with its next game against Michigan State at home on October 13.

Saturday night could have been an arrival of sorts for Penn State. Since then, the Nittany Lions have won three straight, all by almost 40 points or more. They outgained OSU 293 yards to 93 yards.

Unsurprisingly, players defended their coaches after the game.

The Nittany Lions made it 26-14 on Sanders' 1-yard touchdown run.

PATRICK WAKSMUNSKI/Special to the Sun-Gazette Penn State's Juwan Johnson (84) makes a catch as Ohio State's Damon Arnette (3) defends during the first half in State College on Saturday.