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Lion Online — Penn State versus Ohio State

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski / Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson (5) celebrates his third touchdown reception of the game on a 20 yard pass from Sean Clifford in the 4th quarter.

THE OUTCOME

Ohio State 38, Penn State 25.

No Halloween treats for the Nittany Lions.

The Buckeyes bolted to first-half leads of 14-0 and 21-3, and the one time Penn State scored to close within one score, third-ranked Ohio State answered and maintained a two-score comfort zone.

OSU improved to 2-0 and beat the Lions for their eighth time in nine years, the exception being the 2016 game at Beaver Stadium when Marcus Allen’s blocked field goal was returned by Grant Haley.

Penn State fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2012, Bill O’Brien’s first season.

HOW THE GAME WAS LOST…

Pretty simple. The Lions could not handle Ohio State physically.

Ohio State manhandled Penn State’s offensive line, limiting the Nits to a mere 44 yards rushing. It sacked Sean Clifford five times and forced him to run 18 times for a total of 5 yards.

On the flip side, the Buckeye offensive line blew up big holes, including on the first play that went for 62 yards on a jet sweep by Garrett Wilson, which set up OSU’s first score.

Ohio State rushed for 204 yards.

Penn State could not rattle OSU quarterback Justin Fields, who shredded them for 318 yards and four touchdowns, completing 28 of 34 with no interceptions.

So dominant were the Buckeye fronts that they overcame nine penalties.

PLAY OF THE GAME…

After Penn State’s best drive of the night (75 yards, eight plays), with Clifford going 5-for-5 capped by a 14-yard touchdown to Jahan Dotson, pulling the Lions within 21-13, Ohio State immediate struck back as Fields pumped and threw a beautiful 49-yard touchdown up the left sideline to Chris Olave. That extended Ohio State’s lead to 28-13 with 8:41 left in the third quarter. Penn State never recovered.

OHIO STATE PLAYER OF THE GAME

Fields was incredible. He’s now 48 of 55 (87.3 percent) on the season with six TDs and no interceptions.

PENN STATE PLAYER OF THE GAME

Nittany Lion receiver Jahan Dotson caught eight passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Included in his night were two super catches, one a 21-yarder that he snagged with one hand and carried into the end zone to cut OSU’s lead to 31-19.

KEY STATISTICS

— Ohio State outgained the Nits 526-325.

— The Buckeyes converted 10 of 18 on third down and 2 of 3 on fourth down, while PSU was a combined 3-10.

— OSU ran 22 more plays (79-57) and owned time of possession, 37:01-22:59.

— Ohio State had not one, but two receivers — Chris Olave (7-120, two TDs on great catches) and Garrett Wilson (11-111) — surpass the 100-yard mark, while Master Teague III rushed for 110 yards on 23 carries.

— Penn State has now scored one touchdown and 13 total points in the first half this season.

KEY QUOTES FROM HEAD COACH JAMES FRANKLIN

(General comment): “We struggled in the first half trying to run the ball and protect Sean. We did not win the line of scrimmage tonight. He was getting hit way too much. Every time we’d would get it going on offense, we’d give up something on defense. And our defense would get a stop, and our offense wouldn’t … we just weren’t playing complementary football.”

(On why he went for it on fourth-and-2 from the PSU 45, down 7-0, on the game’s first series): “We wanted to be aggressive. We went into the game knowing we’d need to score touchdowns.”

(On allowing Wilson’s 62-yard rush on the game’s first play): “The opening play was a big play, but that’s going to happen sometimes. You’ve got to be resilient. It kind of got us on our heels, and we weren’t able to get them off schedule.”

(On Clifford, who threw for 252 yards in the second half but just 29 in the first): “It was hard to judge that based with having people in his face all night long. I thought for the amount of times he got hit and pressured in the pocket, his toughness was on display. I was impressed with that.”

KEY QUOTE FROM QUARTERBACK SEAN CLIFFORD

“If you’re not motivated right now, I don’t really want you on the team. If you’re not motivated after two losses, and your back is against the wall and you want to look ahead to next year, we don’t want to hear you. I don’t think we have anybody with that mentality, but our back is against the wall, we have to work even harder. The last thing I’m going to let is this team or this program or this university (down). Or blame it on COVID or this or that. This is a winning program, with an 0-2 start. We’re going to get back on track and we’ll work even harder this week.”

NEXT UP

Penn State hosts Maryland next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network. The Terps come off a stunning 45-44 victory over Minnesota on Friday night. The win snapped Maryland’s eight-game losing streak.

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