Hackenberg injures right shoulder
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg was pulled midway through the third quarter with his team trailing big after suffering a right shoulder injury.
Hackenberg was hit late in a dead-ball situation when PSU was called for a false start. The refs blew the whistle, but Buckeye defender Joey Bosa still took an unsuspecting Hackenberg to the ground.
Penn State coach Bill O’Brien did not think it was a dirty play, only that the Ohio State player didn’t hear the whistle. But that hit took a toll on the quarterback.
Hackenberg was tended to on the sideline, had his shoulder wrapped in ice and didn’t return to the game as backup Tyler Ferguson took over.
“He wanted to keep going; he’s a tough kid,” PSU coach Bill O’Brien said. “But I thought we’d give Tyler a shot, and I thought he did some good things.”
Hackenberg completed 12-of-23 passes for 112 yards and a TD but threw two costly interceptions. The first one cost the Nittany Lions a chance to score on their first possession, and when they didn’t, they saw the game quickly get out of hand.
Ferguson completed 7-of-11 passes for 125 yards and one score. Most of his yardage came on a receiver screen to Allen Robinson, who raced 65 yards to the end zone in the fourth quarter.
Miller punishes PSU again
Braxton Miller tore apart Penn State’s defense.
The Ohio State quarterback threw for 261 yards and three TDs and ran for 68 yards and two more scores in Saturday’s 63-14 blowout.
The quarterback evaded Lion defenders all night and highlighted his performance with a 39-yard scamper on the Buckeyes’ third drive of the game to put Ohio State up by 14 at the time.
Last year, Miller gashed the Nittany Lions for 134 yards on the ground in a 35-23 win at Beaver Stadium. He struggled with his passing in that game but remedied the issue Saturday, completing 18-of-24 passes for 252 yards.
Another player who corrected an aspect of his game from a year ago was Carlos Hyde, as the running back only managed 55 yards in the 2012 matchup. Hyde burned the PSU defense for 147 yards and two TDs on only 16 carries, with 130 of those yards coming in the first half on just 13 carries.
Hyde and the Buckeyes had seven offensive drives in the first half and managed to score touchdowns on six of them while amassing 414. They finished with 686 yards, the most ever against a PSU defense.
Both Miller and Hyde were pulled from the game during the second half as the Buckeyes built a huge lead.
The 49-point rout of Penn State pushed No. 4 Ohio State to 8-0 (4-0 Big Ten) and handed the Buckeyes a flashy win, but they received no help from the top three teams in the BCS polls as Alabama, Florida State and Oregon all won big Saturday.
Spence enjoys big game
At one time, Penn State was considered the favorite to land defensive lineman Noah Spence, who hails from Harrisburg and played his high school football at Bishop McDevitt. But he chose to attend Ohio State instead.
That decision haunted Penn State on Saturday night as the sophomore recorded two sacks, three tackles for loss and forced a fumble.
On the fumble, Spence got to Christian Hackenberg and jarred the ball loose in the first quarter as an all out scramble ensued for the ball. After the ball touched numerous hands, Penn State tight end Jesse James came up with it.
Spence’s sack cost the Lions 11 yards, and Hackenberg threw an interception to C.J. Barnett on the next play.
Belton enjoys solid game
Bill Belton started at running back over Zach Zwinak and had his second consecutive strong performance with 98 yards on 22 carries.
“I did all right, but I’ve still got a lot to do,” Belton said.
Zwinak fumbles again
Zwinak rushed for 1,000 yards last season, but one has to wonder how much he’s going to see the field after yet another fumble Saturday.
Zwinak, who lost a fumble on the first play of the second half against Michigan and didn’t play again, had only one carry in the first half Saturday. On his second carry of the second half he fumbled once again, and this time he appeared to either drop the ball on his own or after a very slight hit.
O’Brien could be seen yelling at Zwinak on the sideline. He finished with three carries for 8 yards.
Another blowout after a bye
Penn State has had two byes this season, and it has been blown out the first game after each of them.
The Lions started 3-1, then after a week off they were routed at Indiana, 44-24. This time they had a week off after a big win over Michigan and once again could not stop the opponent.
“I take full responsibility for the loss,” O’Brien said.
Freshman receiver Richy Anderson did not make the trip for Penn State. Anderson had nine catches through six games.
“He needed to study this weekend,” O’Brien said.
Defensive end Deion Barnes was the victim of a double whammy on a play midway through the first quarter. On third-and-16 from the 14, Barnes appeared to be held trying to get to Braxton Miller, but it wasn’t called. As he chased a scrambling Miller, Barnes was leveled on a block by offensive lineman Marcus Hall.
Barnes did start the game. He was removed from the starting lineup the last time out against Michigan and backed up Anthony Zettel.
News and notes
Penn State has given up more than 40 points in three straight games, the first time that’s happened since 1899. PSU’s games captains were G John Urschel, DT DaQuan Jones and LB Glenn Carson. The Lions won the toss and deferred, unusual since O’Brien usually likes getting his offense on the field first. That came back to bite him as Ohio State scored easily on its opening drive. Adrian Amos started at cornerback instead of Trevor Williams, while Jesse Della Valle started at safety instead of Ryan Keiser.