Seven standout players in Ohio State’s victory over Penn State

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Urban Meyer press conference: Iowa week

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

J.T. Barrett wasn’t the only star in comeback victory

The Ohio State Buckeyes sent their alternate grey uniforms into the history books in style. They held a dance party of sorts in the locker room after a 39-38 victory over Penn State on Saturday.

In a video posted to Twitter by the official Ohio State football account, everyone from quarterback J.T. Barrett to quarterbacks coach Ryan Day to wide receiver Binjimen Victor are shown dancing to “O Let’s Do It,” by Waka Flocka Flame. In keeping with the theme of the night, the video was posted in black and white.

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The gray sky overhead in the afternoon and the gray uniforms did not foreshadow the colorful ending at Ohio Stadium. Barrett’s 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marcus Baugh with 1:48 to play helped the Buckeyes improve to 7-1. They’re 5-0 in the Big Ten East Division with four games to play.

Barrett, who threw four touchdown passes to become the Big Ten's all-time leader in that department (94), was the biggest reason Ohio State beat Penn State. Here are seven other players who stood out:

1. Cornerback Denzel Ward: Ohio State's comeback from a 35-20 deficit began with a blocked punt by Ward. Dante Booker recovered the ball to give Ohio State possession at the Penn State 41-yard line with 11:39 to play.

Coach Urban Meyer said the Buckeyes practiced hard in preparing for going after that punt. He said the execution was impeccable.

“Normally we don’t do it at that position on the field, “Meyer said, “because if you run into them, that’s a nightmare.”

2. Right tackle Isaiah Prince: Meyer praised the entire offensive line for its play, giving all five starters champion grades. Penn State didn't sack Barrett in the final three quarters. No one has made bigger strides since the Penn State game a year ago than Prince.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Meyer said. “You should have seen him in the locker room and on the sidelines of the game. It was a grown man. It’s the maturation process.”

Ohio State’s K.J. Hill runs after a catch against Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
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Ohio State’s K.J. Hill runs after a catch against Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

3. Wide receiver K.J. Hill: He led the Buckeyes with 12 receptions for 102 yards, both career highs. He now leads the team with 40 receptions and ranks second in receiving yards (376).

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An offense under fire after a 31-16 loss to Oklahoma on Sept. 9 has averaged 50.8 points in a six-game winning streak.

“After we lost to Oklahoma, it was just a different mindset in how we hit practice,” Hill said. “I feel like nobody practices as hard as us in the country.”

Ohio State’s Johnnie Dixon catches a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
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Ohio State’s Johnnie Dixon catches a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

4. Wide receiver Johnnie Dixon: His 38-yard touchdown catch with 11:05 to play began the comeback, cutting Penn State's lead to 35-27. After a field goal by Penn State, Dixon caught a 10-yard touchdown pass with 4:20 to go.

“That was an awesome feeling just playing in a game of that magnitude,” Dixon said. “It wasn’t easy. What in life is? You don’t really want nothing handed to you. We went out there and took it.”

Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard, right, celebrates a tackle with Dre’Mont Jones against Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
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Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard, right, celebrates a tackle with Dre’Mont Jones against Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

5. Defensive end Sam Hubbard: Twelve Ohio State defenders recorded tackles for a loss. Ohio State had 13 in all. Hubbard had the most impressive play of the night, tackling Penn State running back Saquon Barkley as soon as he took a hand-off from quarterback Trace McSorley. Hubbard grabbed both players at once.

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Hubbard’s tackle might have been Ohio State’s best since Joey Bosa’s walk-off sack against Penn State in overtime in 2014.

“I wish it was 4th-and-10 and the last play of the game to close it out,” Hubbard said, “but it wasn’t. I’m going to have to give it to him. I’m just happy to be in the same conversation.”

Ohio State’s Robert Landers tackles Penn State’s Saquon Barkely for a loss in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
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Ohio State’s Robert Landers tackles Penn State’s Saquon Barkely for a loss in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

6. Defensive tackle Robert Landers: The Wayne grad had two tackles for a loss of Barkley in the fourth quarter. He stopped Barkley for a loss of three yards on 3rd-and-goal from the 3-yard line with 5:45 to play. Landers tackled Barkley for a loss of two yards on 2nd-and-17 from the Penn State 8 with 3:26 to play.

7. Safety Jordan Fuller: He led the Buckeyes with nine tackles. He had five in the fourth quarter.

“Jordan Fuller is really starting to be a good player for us,” Meyer said.


SATURDAY’S GAME

Ohio State at Iowa, 3:30 p.m., ESPN, 1410

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