PSU Notebook: Buckeyes frustrate Morelli

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli tried to make plays for his team late in the game against Ohio State, but every time he pressed, the Buckeyes had an answer.

Morelli had the worst game of his young career. He was 16 for 25 for 106 yards and was intercepted three times. Two of those interceptions were returned for late touchdowns.

"It was just a bad day," Morelli said.

Morelli had played relatively well for the first three games, but misfired twice late in the fourth quarter when trying to lead the Nittany Lions to scores. Malcolm Jenkins intercepted and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown with 2:31 to go in the game. On Penn State's next drive, Antonio Smith stepped in front of a pass and returned it 55 yards for another score.

"Anthony is going to be fine," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said.

Too little too late

Penn State watched videotape of Ohio State's first three games and figured it could run the ball on the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions did, but it was a case of too little too late.

The Nittany Lions rushed for 142 yards against the Buckeyes, but 102 of those came in the second half. Penn State, which had the Big Ten's third-best rushing offense entering the game (207 yards per game average), figured to test Ohio State's young rushing defense. The Buckeyes had trouble defending the run in their first two games, giving up 151 yards to Northern Illinois in the opener and 172 to Texas in Week 2.

"We saw what a couple of other teams had done to them," Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli said. "We thought we could run the ball against them."

Senior running back Tony Hunt rushed for 135 yards on 24 carries. It was Hunt's second consecutive 100-yard game and the ninth of his career.

King shines

Sophomore cornerback Justin King had his first career interception in the first quarter. King, from Gateway High School, was covering Ted Ginn, Jr. on a deep route and made a nice diving catch to thwart Ohio State's first drive.

Penn State picked Smith off early in the second half, too. Smith came into the game with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He was No. 3 in the nation in pass efficiency.

Good game for Kapinos

Coach Joe Paterno had hoped the Nittany Lions merely would hold their own in special-teams play against the Buckeyes, but Penn State punter Jeremy Kapinos actually gave Penn State an edge in his specialty. Kapinos had his best game of the seasonwith a 68-yard punt in the first half and a 50.5-yard average for six punts.

Quick hits

Ohio State has won 11 games in a row. ... The Buckeyes are 56-9-1 as the top-ranked team. ... Ohio State tied the series, 11-11. ... Penn State sophomore linebacker Sean Lee from Upper St. Clair High School had a career-high 11 tackles.



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