For the first time all season, No. 2 Ohio State (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten) was challenged into the fourth quarter. And once it did, the Buckeyes sealed the deal with a 28-17 victory over No. 8 Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten). The win clinched the Big Ten East Division championship for Ohio State and continues to put Ohio State on the inside track to a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Penn State’s defense created a spark in the third quarter with two straight fumbles that led to Penn State points. After Penn State running back Journey Brown capped Penn State’s best drive of the game with a touchdown run, the defense knocked the ball loose from JK Dobbins on the first play on the ensuing possession. After a mad scramble for the ball, Penn State recovered at 12-yard line. Backup quarterback Will Levis completed a pass to Pat Freiermuth to bring the ball just short of the goal line, and Levis took the ball in himself on the following play to quickly bring Penn State within a touchdown. Fumble issues continued for Ohio State on the next possession when Justin Fields lost the football just before his knee touched the ground on the third play of the drive. Another Penn State fumble recovery led to a field goal to trim the Ohio State lead to 21-17.
Penn State’s starting quarterback, Sean Clifford, left the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury. Levis finished off the game at quarterback for the Nittany Lions. Fields was bange dup late in the fourth quarter but jogged off the field on his own.
Chase Young returned from a two-game suspension and became the school leader for the most sacks in a season. After tying the school mark with half a sack in the first half, Young moved into sole possession of first place in the school’s record books with half a sack in the third quarter on a key third down, moving him to 14.5 sacks this season. Young continued to have a significant impact on the game with non-stop pressure in the backfield. He was, decisively, the best player in the game.
Ohio State will have a date in Indianapolis reserved for the Big Ten championship game in two weeks. The Buckeyes will face either Minnesota or Wisconsin. The Big Ten West division may have to be decided next week in a head-to-head matchup between the Gophers and Badgers. Minnesota will host Wisconsin. Ohio State has already faced Wisconsin and defeated them handily. Ohio State has not played Minnesota this season.
The regular season will come to an end next week. For Ohio State, a chance to put together a 12-0 season heading to the Big Ten championship game will be on the line against That Team Up North when the Buckeyes head to Ann Arbor to face Michigan. Penn State will have a favorable draw to end their regular season with a win with a home game against Rutgers to close out the schedule.