On Saturday morning, the Big Ten East’s four heavyweights (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State) were all undefeated in conference play and a combined 22-2 on the season (those two losses were against currently undefeated teams in Utah and Temple). After a stunning victory by Michigan State and an excellent performance by OSU, the true top dogs of the division have become just a little more clear.
With the season already halfway done, OSU coach Urban Meyer still seems no closer to deciding on which quarterback will take the reins to the offense than he did during the entire offseason. After OSU’s most dominant performance of the season, however, it doesn’t seem to matter. At least not yet.
Despite once again falling behind early and failing to score in the first quarter, the OSU offense stepped on the gas in the second and put up 21 unanswered points against a stout Penn State defense en route to a 38-10 blowout win.
Ever since Meyer began to phase J.T. Barrett into the game more last week, the redshirt sophomore quarterback has been electric, leading the Buckeye offense to 10 touchdowns and a field goal in 11 red zone appearances. Barrett finished the game completing all four of his passes for 30 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 102 yards and two more touchdowns on 11 carries on the ground.
Redshirt junior Cardale Jones ended the game 9-of-15 passing for 84 yards, his lowest yardage total for the season. Meanwhile, junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, a stalwart for the Buckeye offense, pounded away 153 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. In total, OSU managed to gain 429 yards and 25 first downs against one of the top defenses in the nation.
Penn State junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg, claimed by some to be the highest-rated quarterback for next year’s NFL draft, was ineffective all night long, finishing the night 7-of-13 passing for 120 yards. However, true freshman running back Saquon Barkley looked impressive for the Nittany Lions as he gashed the Buckeye defense for 194 yards on 26 carries after missing the previous two games for Penn State.
Penn State will host a struggling Maryland team next week as it fights to become bowl eligible, while OSU will travel to Rutgers in search of its nation-leading 21st straight victory.
By the numbers:
4: OSU’s current win streak against Penn State, its longest in the history of the programs.
17-13: The all-time record between Penn State and OSU, favoring the Buckeyes.
1: The amount of losses OSU has suffered against Big Ten competition at night in Ohio Stadium. The team that beat them? Penn State in 2008 by a score of 13-6.
23: The number of consecutive games in which redshirt junior wide receiver Michael Thomas has caught a pass for the Buckeyes. He currently leads the team with 433 yards and 30 receptions.
108,423: The number of fans crammed inside the ‘Shoe last night, the second-largest crowd in history to watch the Buckeyes play.
9: After last night, Elliott became the ninth running back in OSU history to rush for 3,000-plus career yards. He currently has 3,028 yards to his name.
38: Under current coach James Franklin, Penn State prides itself on having a great defense. The 38 points put up by the Buckeyes were the most given up by Penn State in a game since 2013, when the Nittany Lions also played in Columbus and got embarrassed 63-14.
3: Since 2010, Penn State has allowed its opponents to rush for more than 300 yards in a game only three times. All three times, it was against the Buckeyes inside Ohio Stadium.