There was no Big Ten championship or bowl berth on the line for Ohio State or Penn State, two teams banned from postseason play because of separate NCAA punishments, but that didn’t mean the stakes for tonight’s game in Happy Valley between the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions weren’t high.
In fact, Beaver Stadium was packed as though it was the biggest game of the year for the Nittany Lions — because it was. Unfortunately for the Penn State faithful, No. 9 Ohio State spoiled the occasion and came out with a 35-23 win. Braxton Miller was once again the X-factor and ran for nearly as many yards (134) as he had passing (143), accounting for three total touchdowns in the process.
The Buckeyes continue their undefeated season with Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan left on the schedule. Though playing the Wolverines might as well be a toss-up, it’s very possible OSU could finish the regular season undefeated and have no postseason appearance to show for it — but Urban Meyer‘s team could have a Leaders Division championship wrapped up next week against Illinois even though it looks like Wisconsin will back its way into the Big Ten title game.
Remember, Ohio State and Penn State can earn a divisional championship without playing in the conference championship.
As for Penn State, the Nittany Lions still have an opportunity to finish the season strong to cap off what would be a remarkable run considering all the circumstances. Outside of PSU, I can’t think of too many people — myself included — who thought this team would accomplish half of what it has already. Continued kudos to Bill O’Brien and that program.