Ohio State rallies for another wild win over Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Ohio State scored four touchdowns in less than six minutes in the fourth quarter to erase a five-point deficit and beat No. 13 Penn State 44-31 on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.

“I’d say it was crazy, but we expect when we play this game here to be that way,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said.

He referenced Ohio State’s 27-26 come-from-behind win in the same stadium in 2018 and a 39-38 Buckeye triumph the season before that in Columbus as proof.

“It comes down to the fourth quarter,” Day said. “We knew that that was going to be the case.”

Second-ranked Ohio State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) scored first on a 38-yard field goal by Noah Ruggles. The Buckeyes took the opening kickoff and drove to the Penn State 23 before stalling with a pair of stuffed runs and a delay of game penalty.

The Buckeyes then got the ball in PSU territory on consecutive possessions thanks to J.T. Tuimoloau. The sophomore deflected a ball to fellow defensive end Zach Harrison for an interception, but Ohio State failed to capitalize when the offense couldn’t move the ball and Ruggles missed a 53-yard field goal.

Tuimoloau kept the ball for himself the next time as he dropped into coverage on a third-and-3 and stepped in front of a short pass into the flat.

This time the Buckeyes capitalized with a 41-yard drive capped by Miyan Williams’ 4-yard touchdown run. He was hit at the line of scrimmage but drove his legs until tumbling into the end zone in a mass of bodies.

No. 13 Penn State (6-2, 3-2) struck back with a 58-yard touchdown pass from Sean Clifford to Parker Washington, who broke a tackle after catching a short pass then raced to the end zone.

After a three-and-out, Penn State got the ball back at its 21 with a chance to take the lead and 8:39 on the clock.

The Nittany Lions did just that on a 23-yard pass from Clifford to KeAndre Lambert-Smith, who ran a post in front of multiple Ohio State defenders then beat them to the end zone. That was set up by a 43-yard pass from Clifford to Theo Johnson, who seemed to get lost by the Ohio State coverage after Clifford started to scramble.

Ohio State responded by driving to the Penn State 15 before imploding and having to settle for a 37-yard Ruggles field goal.

The Buckeyes had a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds, but the clock ran out after Stroud was sacked at the 13-yard line.

Penn State drove to the Ohio State 19 on the first possession of the third quarter but came away empty when Tyliek Williams stopped Nicholas Singleton for no gain on fourth-and-2.

After the teams traded punts, Ruggles put Ohio State on top with a 40-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Penn State answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive that concluded when Kaytron Allen broke a tackle in the backfield on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line and found a way into the end zone.

That put PSU on top 21-16 with 9:26 left.

The lead only lasted 35 seconds, though, as Ohio State answered with a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. TreVeyon Henderson slipped through the line and raced nearly untouched for a 41-yard touchdown to put the Buckeyes on top 23-21 with 8:51 left.

They scored again 44 seconds later after Tuimoloau sacked Clifford, forced a fumble and recovered it at the Penn State 24.

On the next play, Stroud found Cade Stover over the middle and the tight end rumbled the rest of the way through the defense for a touchdown that with Ruggles’ PAT kick suddenly made it a nine-point game.

Penn State pulled within three on a 44-yard Jake Pinegar field goal with 5:49 left, but Ohio State answered with another touchdown run by Henderson, this time a 7-yarder that followed a 42-yard pass from Stroud to Emeka Egbuka to give the Buckeyes first-and-goal.

“We have lot of things in the first half we wish that we had done better,” Day said. “There’s no question, but that’s playing football, and that’s competing. Penn State’s got one heck of a team. Played really hard. And you know, it doesn’t come easy. But that being said, I’m very proud of the way the team played, especially in the fourth quarter.”

Ohio State tacked on another touchdown 10 seconds later when Tuimoloau intercepted a pass and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown, then Penn State scratched out a last touchdown with 1:12 left when Clifford found Allen for a 5-yard score.

Stroud completed 26 of 33 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked twice but also picked up 18 yards on scrambles.

Harrison had a career day with 185 yards on 10 catches while Stover finished with 78 yards on six catches.

Tuimoloau stuffed the statsheet perhaps better than anyone, though, with six tackles (three for loss), two sacks, two interceptions, a pass break-up, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown.


Ohio State at Northwestern, Noon, ABC, 1410

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