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Late touchdown gives Ohio State 7-3 lead in defensive battle with Michigan State

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You want defense and punting? Ohio State and Michigan State have you covered up in East Lansing. The Buckeyes and Spartans are in a battle for second place in the Big Ten East Division and points appear to be at a premium this afternoon in Big Ten play. At halftime in Spartan Stadium, Ohio State is leading Michigan State 7-0 thanks to a late touchdown drive capped by a short touchdown pass from Dwayne Haskins to Parris Campbell form the one-yard line.

The Big Ten’s leading rushing defense of Michigan State has not allowed Ohio State to get their running game going. J.K. Dobbins had just 11 rushing yards with five minutes to play in the first half, and that was nullified by Haskins being taken down for a loss of 11 yards in the half. Haskins now is up to 23 yards. Michigan State’s running game has fared only marginally better with a combined team rushing total of 10 yards. Connor Heyward had zero rushing yards in the first half.

In need of a spark, Michigan State has switched quarterbacks as well with Rocky Lombardi taking over for Lewerke late in the first half.

Michigan fans are likely paying close attention to this result, as it will impact the division-clinching scenarios for the Wolverines. A win by Michigan State could mean Michigan can build a two-game cushion on Ohio State in the Big Ten standings with a win against Rutgers later today. A win by the Buckeyes will leave the possibility of a regular season finale to determine the Big Ten East crown on the table.

Report: Foot surgery could sideline Ohio State WR Austin Mack for rest of regular season

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Ohio State’s loss this past Saturday has proven costly in more than just the won-loss column.

Austin Mack went down with a foot injury early in the second half of the upset loss to Purdue in Week 8 and left the stadium on crutches.  Tuesday, Austin Ward of LettermanRow.com is reporting that the wide receiver underwent surgery on the injured foot and is expected to be sidelined for a period of 6-8 weeks.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report through an OSU spokesperson.

Even on the low end of that 6-8 week timeline, Mackwould be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.  Should the Buckeyes earn a spot in the Big Ten championship game, the junior receiver’s availability would be unlikely as well.

The good news, such as it is, is that Mack should be healthy enough to play in whatever bowl game for which the Buckeyes qualify.

This season, Mack is third on the Buckeyes with 26 receptions, while his 331 receiving yards are good for fourth.  Both of those totals are already career-highs.

Dwayne Haskins leads No. 3 Ohio State past upset effort from Minnesota

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Minnesota (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten) had their chances but the Gophers were unable to pull off a major upset on the road in the Big Ten. No. 3 Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) walked away with a hard-fought 30-14 win to remain undefeated and in charge of the path to a Big Ten championship.

Dwayne Haskins, who was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week each of the past two weeks, should be on his way to a third straight weekly award from the Big Ten after passing for 412 yards and three touchdowns in the win. It was the second-straight week Haskins passed for at least 400 yards to help Ohio State pull away from a potential upset bid at home. Minnesota did well in not allowing the Buckeyes to gain an advantage in the running game, but KJ Hill was a receiver the Gophers just had no answer for. Hill caught two of the touchdown passes from Haskins and led all players with 187 receiving yards.

Minnesota freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim was finding running lanes for much of the afternoon against Ohio State, as he rushed for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns, but Minnesota couldn’t find enough in the tank to cash in on a few opportunities. Zack Annexstad was intercepted twice and has now been intercepted seven times in the last three games after starting the season without a pass picked off in the first four games of the year.

Minnesota trailed Ohio State 17-14 at halftime but missed two field goals in the second half. Ohio State scored 10 points following those two missed field goals.

Ohio State will now prepare for a road game next week at Purdue. It will be another primetime game for the Buckeyes away from home, with games against TCU and Penn State also having been played under the lights already this season.

Minnesota will be back on the road again next week when they visit Nebraska.

Ohio State gets replay to go their way but Minnesota hanging around in Columbus

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Minnesota was a heavy underdog this afternoon against Ohio State, but the Gophers are keeping the Buckeyes within reach after one half of play in Columbus. Ohio State leads Minnesota 17-14 at halftime, thanks in part to two touchdowns coming after pivotal instant replay situations to go their way.

One play after it appeared Minnesota may have stopped Ohio State on a fourth and short, there was no replay called by the Big Ten replay official to review the spot where Mike Weber landed on the field. Dwayne Haskins wasted no time capitalizing on the lack of replay and went deep for a touchdown for the Buckeyes.

Minnesota was not rattled, however. The Gophers responded with a nine-play 75-yard touchdown drive, ending with Mohamed Ibrahim punching one in from three yards out to regain the Minnesota lead. It was then Minnesota’s defense with a chance to make a big play, stonewalling Ohio State on 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 17-yard line out of an Ohio State timeout. The Buckeyes’ 11-play drive not cutting into the lead or taking the lead was a nice spark for the Gophers, but a fumble on the next offensive series for Minnesota led to an Ohio State touchdown.

This time, the instant replay booth did get involved to decide if a fumble by receiver Tyler Johnson would be upheld. After review, the ruling was made Johnson did secure the catch and lose control of the football after doing so. Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah recovered the football and Haskins later completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to KJ Hill as the Buckeyes took a 17-14 lead, which held for the remainder of the first half.

Minnesota’s own mistakes have hurt them in this first half, as well as they are playing overall. Two turnovers and three personal foul penalties have not helped the upset bid. However, with one half to play, Minnesota is in position to keep the pressure on Ohio State in the second half if the Buckeyes cannot make enough adjustments. Big plays have favored Ohio State, but will they continue to wear down Minnesota in the second half?

Minnesota Coney Dur was ejected from the game for targeting on Haskins.

No. 4 Ohio State rallies from two double-digit deficits to beat No. 9 Penn State

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On a night when its offense struggled to get going and its defense lacked for answers, No. 4 Ohio State overcame a record crowd and a record night from Trace McSorley to rally back from two double-digit deficits to stun No. 9 Penn State, 27-26.

The Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) were out-gained by 100 yards and trailed 26-14 midway through the second quarter, but Dwayne Haskins tossed two late touchdown passes, engineering a 96-yard game-winning touchdown drive, to give Ohio State a crucial win in the Big Ten East race and the inside track to returning to the College Football Playoff.

After trading punts to open the game, Penn State struck the first blow of the game when McSorley found Juwan Johnson for a spectacular 31-yard gain, taking the ball from the Ohio State 48 to the 17.

But a gadget play to backup quarterback Tommy Stevens lost 13 yards on the next snap, and so the Nittany Lions (4-1, 2-1 Big Ten) settled for a 34-yard Jake Pinegar field goal.

After forcing a three-and-out, Penn State was moved in prime territory to take control of the game when McSorley dashed for a career-long 51-yard gain on the first play of the drive, but the march sputtered and Pinegar’s 46-yard field goal hooked wide left.

The teams traded three and outs after that, until Garrett Taylor intercepted a Haskins pass and returned it 45 yards to the Ohio State 28. Once again with a great chance to take control of the game, Penn State again couldn’t muster anything more than a glancing blow. The Nittany Lions could not gain a first down, and Pinegar’s 39-yard field goal pushed the lead to 6-0.

Though the offense couldn’t get anything going, Drue Chrisman tilted the game to Ohio State’s advantage with a pair of booming punts — a 44-yarder to pin the Nittany Lions to their own 12, and then a 58-yarder to the 2.

Pinned near their own end zone, it appeared Penn State was ready to give Ohio State good field position when facing a 3rd-and-5 from their own 7, but it was then that the Nittany Lions finally landed a knockdown punch — a slant to freshman K.J. Hamler who outraced the Buckeyes’ defense and raced it 93 yards for a touchdown. It was Penn State’s first third down conversion of the night.

Penn State forced Ohio State into a third consecutive three-and-out with 2:32 to go before the break, but a critical mistake allowed the Buckeyes back in the game. Miles Sanders coughed up the ball after being hit by Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland, and the Buckeyes’ Dre’Mont Jones hopped on the ball at the Penn State 25.

The Buckeyes finally got on the board two plays later when Haskins hit J.K. Dobbins on a screen pass, who carried it 26 yards for a touchdown with 1:50 to go before the break.

Ohio State took the ball to open the second half and sliced down the field, moving 75 yards in 13 plays to grab the lead, and it seemed like Haskins and company were finally back on track. It especially seemed that way on the following drive when Ohio State penetrated to the Penn State 16, but the Nittany Lions forced a Sean Nuernberger 33-yard field goal, but that score was wiped off the board due to a face mask call and Nuernberger’s ensuing 48-yard try was no good.

The teams traded three-and-outs over their next two possessions until Penn State moved from its own 38 to the Ohio State 24, when Franklin eschewed another Pinegar field goal to try a 4th-and-1, but Chase Young batted down McSorley’s pass, and Ohio State’s 14-13 lead held heading into the fourth quarter.

But Penn State forced a three-and-out and McSorley then found Hamler again for a 36-yard gain on a 3rd-and-13 from the Ohio State 30 — and a targeting call on Isaiah Pryor tacked on another 15 yards, moving the Nittany Lions into the red zone. McSorley covered the final 15 yards, first on a 13-yard keeper and then a 2-yard toss to tight end Pat Freiermuth, see-sawing Penn State back in front 20-14 with 12:22 remaining.

Ohio State moved near midfield on the ensuing possession, and Urban Meyer elected to go for a 4th-and-1 at the Penn State 48, and a Haskins keeper was stuffed. McSorley then covered 49 of the required 51 yards to put the Lions on the doorstep, and a 1-yard Sanders rush put Penn State back up two scores with eight minutes to play.

That 12-point lead was short-lived, though, as two Haskins completions and a pass interference penalty put Ohio State back at midfield and then Binjimen Victor, normally a possession receiver, bobbed and weaved through the Penn State secondary for a 47-yard score, pulling the Buckeyes within five with 6:42 to play.

McSorley again scrambled Penn State into Ohio State territory, but the drive stalled and Penn State punted, pinning Ohio State at its own 4 with 4:35 to play. That field position was short lived; a Dobbins screen for 35 yards put Ohio State near the 40, and gains of 11 and 14 yards pushed the Buckeyes near the 30, setting up a go-head scoring toss from Haskins to K.J. Hill from 24 yards out. Haskins’s 2-point try sailed high, and Ohio State led 27-26 with 2:03 to go.

Armed with three timeouts, Penn State moved to the Ohio State 43, when, after a sack, McSorley gained nine yards on a 3rd-and-14 to set up a decisive 4th-and-5 with 1:22 to play. A total of three timeouts were called before the play, and Greg Schiano won the chess match when the Buckeyes baited McSorley, who set a school record with 461 yards of total offense, into handing the ball off to Sanders, who was stuffed behind the line by Young to complete the comeback.

Haskins closed the night hitting 22-of-39 passes for 270 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, while Dobbins and Weber combined to gain 174 yards on 29 total touches. McSorley, meanwhile, completed 16-of-32 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 25 times for 175 yards, a school record for a modern-day Penn State quarterback.

The Buckeyes will now be heavily favored in every game through the rest of the regular season, while Penn State will need Ohio State to lose twice to move atop the Big Ten East.