PSU Football: Ends jinx in Columbus with 13-6 win
Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells hurdles Penn State's Drew Astorino last night in the first half.
Share with others:
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The 'Shoe finally fit.
No. 3 Penn State kept alive its perfect season last night, as well as its national championship hopes, rallying for a 13-6 victory against No. 10 Ohio State.
The Nittany Lions (9-0, 5-0) took sole possession of first in the Big Ten Conference by beating the Buckeyes (7-2, 4-1) at the Horseshoe for the first time in the past 30 years.
"I'm happy for the kids," said coach Joe Paterno, who worked from the coaches' booth for the fourth consecutive game. "I'm really glad to see that they showed their poise. You need to do this in a game like this.
To clear the street, State College police, joined by police from neighboring townships, stood shoulder to shoulder across Beaver Avenue and walked into the crowd to disperse them holding pepper spray and night sticks.
Read the CDT report with photo gallery
View a video report by the independent student newspaper, the Daily Collegian
"We played the kind of game we needed to play."
Penn State, which had lost seven consecutive games to the Buckeyes on the road, trailed for the first time all season after three quarters. But the Nittany Lions were able to erase that 6-3 deficit by scoring 10 points in the final 15 minutes before a record crowd of 105,711.
Backup quarterback Pat Devlin scored on a 1-yard sneak with 6:25 left, and Kevin Kelly added a 35-yard field goal with 1:07 to play as the Lions improved to 4-0 on the road this season.
Penn State, which had been averaging 45.4 points and 482.1 yards per game, managed just 13 points and 281 yards of offense -- both season lows.
Devlin's short scoring run in the fourth quarter accounted for just the Lions' sixth touchdowns in their past eight trips to the Horseshoe.
Devlin was subbing for starter Daryll Clark, who was shaken up on the previous series.
Clark completed 12 of 20 passes for 121 yards before departing.
Devlin also engineered the drive that resulted in Kelly's second field goal.
"How many times have I told you guys Devlin's a good football player?" asked Paterno. "We're lucky to have two, maybe three. ... "Devlin is a good football player. I expected him to play well."
Pryor, the talented freshman quarterback from Jeannette, suffered his first loss in six starts before a record crowd of 105,711.
It was his fumble that led to Penn State's winning score -- the Devlin touchdown.
Penn State cornerback Lydell Sargeant's intercepted Pryor's final pass in the end zone with 27 seconds remaining to seal the win.
The Lions held Ohio State to 61 yards rushing, and tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells was limited to 55 on 22 carries -- a 2.5 average. Pryor finished 16 of 25 for 226 yards.
"We did not run the ball nearly as well as we needed to," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said.
Devlin's touchdown was set up by strong safety Mark Rubin's huge defensive play with 10:38 left.
Rubin hit Pryor, who was trying to pick up a yard on a sneak. The ball popped loose, and outside linebacker Navorro Bowman recovered at Ohio State's 38.
"I think he saw a couple of gaps for penetration and tried to slide outside and a helmet hit the ball," Tressel said. "It was unfortunate."
Kelly, who kicked a 31-yard field goal in the second quarter to give Penn State a 3-0 lead, had a chance to tie the score, 6-6, just 47 seconds into the fourth quarter, but his 45-yard field-goal attempt was wide right.
Aaron Pettrey's second field goal, a 36-yarder, with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter had given the Buckeyes their only lead at 6-3.
Pryor converted third-down passes of 6 and 17 yards to wide receivers Dane Sanzenbacher and Brian Robiskie in the drive.
Pettrey's 41-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter forged a 3-3 tie at halftime as both offenses struggled and the teams combined for seven punts.
Ohio State had 147 yards of offense to Penn State's 144. Wells managed 11 yards on just 10 carries in the opening half, and the Lions' Evan Royster had 21 yards on seven rushes, although he finished with 77 yards on 19 carries.
Pryor completed 9 of 14 passes for 131 yards in the first half and Clark was 8 of 14 for 91. Sanzenbacher was the leading receiver with four catches for 76 yards.
Penn State's top three wideouts -- Deon Butler, Jordan Norwood and Derrick Williams combined for only four catches for 9 yards in the first half and finished with a combined six catches for 28 yards.
The Lions had taken a 3-0 lead with 1:33 left in the second quarter on Kelly's 13th field goal of the year. Clark, constantly pressured by the Buckeyes, was responsible for two big plays on the 11-play, 76-yard drive.
On a third-and-1 play from the Penn State 31, he picked up a critical first down on a short sneak. On the next play, Clark lofted a 49-yard pass to wide receiver Graham Zug, giving the Lions a first down at the Ohio State 19.
Just as he threw the pass, Clark was hit by Buckeyes defensive tackle Cameron Heyward.
NOTES -- Rubin led Penn State with 11 tackles, while Bowman had 10. ... Penn State's Drew Astorino started at free safety in place of Anthony Scirrotto (mild concussion). Scirrotto returned punts and played in the secondary in the first quarter. ... Zug's 49-yard reception was a career long. ... Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James was on sideline, urging on the Buckeyes.
First Published October 26, 2008 12:10 am