The undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes went into their game on Saturday with the Penn State Nittany Lions hoping that they could extend their winning streak to 20, which is the nation’s longest winning streak, and stay undefeated to keep their BCS National Championship hopes alive.
That’s exactly what they did.
Many were concerned about Ohio State’s defense going into this game, including head coach Urban Meyer. Their performance against the Iowa Hawkeyes last week and even against the Northwestern Wildcats on October 5 gave him good reason to worry. The Buckeye offense had to bail out a Buckeye defense that was not playing up to their potential. After the performance against the Hawkeyes last week, the Ohio State defense wanted to make up for it.
They did just that.
Ohio State as a whole was playing like a championship-caliber team against Penn State. Their offense excelled, as well as their defense.
The Ohio State offense scored 63 points against a slow Penn State defense that had trouble covering runs and passes to the outside. Quarterback Braxton Miller drove the Buckeyes down the field on the opening drive and put the ball into the end zone less than five minutes into the game.
Miller completed 18-of-24 passes for a career-best 252 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Miller’s backup, Kenny Guiton, who took over in the third quarter, even ran for two touchdowns of his own.
Carlos Hyde was once again a huge factor in Ohio State’s win. He ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns. The previously injured running back Jordan Hall even got some playing time and ran for 81 yards.
The Ohio State defense held Penn State to just 14 points, despite the fact that they have a good running game and an explosive receiver in Allen Robinson. This was something that Meyer was worried about with his defense not playing very well as of late. They forced a total of three turnovers on the Penn State offense, including two interceptions from young quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
The Buckeye defense held Hackenberg to 112 yards passing with a touchdown and those two interceptions. Robinson quietly had 173 receiving yards and a touchdown. Meyer called him one of the nation’s best receivers, but his defense was able to contain him well.
Meyer said that he was most impressed with the fact that his defense was able to cause turnovers and hit the quarterback a little bit, since they hadn’t been doing that recently.
Ohio State needs to continue to play like this if they want to stay in the hunt for a National Championship. Their offense excelled and their defense greatly improved on Saturday. They played like a championship-caliber team and made a huge statement against Penn State. They showed why they deserve top five rankings in all the current polls.
The Buckeyes will travel to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers this Saturday. If the Buckeyes continue to play like they did against Penn State, then expect to see another dominating performance over Purdue.
Ohio State is finally making a statement, and Buckeye fans have to hope they will continue to do so for the rest of the season.