Another win, another step closer to a Big Ten Championship game berth for the No. 21 Penn State Nittany Lions.
The Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) gave interim head coach Tom Bradley his first win with a 20-14 victory at Ohio State (6-5, 3-4 Big Ten).
Penn State got out to a fast start thanks to senior tailback Stephfon Green’s 39-yard
touchdown scamper on the Lions’ first drive of the game. The Lions continued to move the ball well under Matt McGloin’s lead, and capped the first quarter with a 10-0 lead following an Anthony Fera field goal.
In the second quater, the Buckeyes woke up behind freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, who cut into the Lions lead with a 24-yard touchdown run of his own. Just under two minutes later following a 42-yard Silas Redd run, Stephfon Green punched in his second touchdown run of the game, giving Penn State a 17-7 lead. But the Buckeyes had an answer, getting a touchdown pass from Miller to tight end Jake Stoneburner with 5:22 left in the half. McGloin calmly lead the Lions downfield and Anthony Fera capped the half with a 46-yard field goal, his longest of his season and career, to give the Lions a 20-14 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Both teams played stout defense in the second half, not allowing either offense to move the ball and turning the game into a field position battle. That battle was won by the Nittany Lions, who took advantage of its kicking game and Fera to pin the Buckeyes deep in their own territory in the second half.
The Lions used a surprise weapon to move the ball on offense: the wildcat formation. Receivers Curtis Drake and Bill Benton both took snaps from center and ran the formation, which was used for the first time all season. Drake carried the ball three times for 50 yards, including a 38-yard long, and Benton four times for 15 yards. ‘
The wildcat helped aid the Lions running game, which produced 239 yards on 39 carries. The Lions averaged over six yards per carry on the day. Green had 93 yards rushing, including two huge touchdowns. Silas Redd, the teams leading rusher, was dealing with a collarbone injury this week, notched 63 yards on eight carries.
Miller ran for 105 yards for the Buckeyes, and threw for another 83, but came up short on a final drive as time expired that could have given the Buckeyes the lead with a touchdown and extra point. Senior Dan “Boom” Herron, playing in his last home game, added 76 yards on the ground. Senior receiver Devier Posey, playing in his first game of the season following multiple suspensions by the NCAA, caught four passes for 66 yards.
While the Lions still need to defeat the Wisconsin Badgers next week in Camp Randle to earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship game, a road win should give them confidence going into the winner-take-all matchup.
Game ball: Penn State coaching staff
- For instituting the wildcat, or wildlion. It provided a wrinkle that nobody had seen before and worked. Drake had 50 yards out of the formation and Benton, Green and Redd all benefitted from plays out of the formation. It took pressure of the running game and became a weapon as the game went on.