Penn State loses to Ohio State, 35-23

By John Stuetz

Matt McGloin felt the rush, stepped up in the pocket and threw the ball into the waiting arms of Ryan Shazier. Ohio State’s linebacker intercepted the pass and cruised into the endzone untouched to give Ohio State the 14-7 lead.

The inaccurate toss of Penn State’s quarterback at the beginning of the third quarter was one of several miscues that doomed the Nittany Lions in their 35-23 loss to the Buckeyes. Between mental errors and an inability to contain quarterback Braxton Miller, the Lions, now 5-3 on the season, spiraled into a deep deficit in the beginning of the second half.

After the interception, which occurred just 1:19 into the third quarter, Miller shredded the Lions’ defense with 49 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The dual-threat quarterback finished with 134 rushing yards and 143 yards in the air.

Linebacker Michael Mauti said the defense struggled to contain the sophomore quarterback, but his elusiveness made doing so much easier said than done.

“He’s as good as we’ve played,” Mauti said. “He made some plays out there, absolutely. There were just a couple times when we could bottled him up a little bit better. That was on us. [But] you have to give credit where credit is due.”

Glenn Carson added that besides missed tackles, handling Miller was also a struggle because players failed to stick to their assignments defensively.

“I think that we did a pretty good job but it was just a couple people not being where they were supposed to be,” Carson said. “A couple of broken plays here in there were really what killed us.”

The third quarter, during which the Lions were outscored 21-3, began with McGloin’s crucial pick.

McGloin said he didn’t expect the linebacker to remain in the middle of the field, as the interception was a result of Ohio State switching up its defensive strategy.

“Normally, I do take a look there,” McGloin said. “But, for the most part, throughout the course of the game, they were pealing with the running back running his route. [Shazier] made a great play. I don’t know if he knew the play was coming or he just my eyes or what.”

In addition to this miscue, the Lions’ secondary had several near interceptions and the team was also plagued by nine penalties for a total of 85 yards.

Most notable of these penalties was a holding call on an Ohio State punt with under five minutes to play in the second quarter. After a third-down sack of Miller, the penalty extended the Buckeyes’ drive, which resulted in a Carlos Hyde rushing touchdown.

Mauti said mental errors ailed Penn State throughout the game, but it’s the defense’s job to get a stop after such a penalty.

“[Mental errors are] the things that we try to eliminate,” Mauti said. “So, it’s one of those things where we have to bounce back and we have to get a stop. No matter what the case may be, when the defense is called on, we have to do our job.”

Offensively, McGloin recovered from the interception to have a productive game overall, throwing for a career-high 324 yards, adding two touchdowns.

However, the Lions ran for just 32 rushing yards, a factor McGloin said definitely affected the outcome of the game.

“We can only be successful throwing the ball if we can run the ball,” McGloin said. “And we definitely struggled to run the ball tonight. But you’re going to have those days and I need to step up and I need to make my plays when that’s happening.”

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