No. 2 Penn State-No. 6 Ohio State observations: Nittany Lions blow 4th-quarter lead in 1st loss

No. 2 Penn State-No. 6 Ohio State observations: Nittany Lions blow 4th-quarter lead in 1st loss

BOX SCORE

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Up against its toughest task to date, No. 2 Penn State saw three big leads slip away Saturday afternoon in a 39-38 loss to No. 6 Ohio State at Ohio Stadium for its first defeat of the season.

Penn State had leads of 21-3, 35-20 and, with 5:42 left, 38-27, before the Buckeyes stormed back and the Nittany Lions collapsed. 

• Ohio State twice sliced through Penn State's defense, scoring touchdowns on consecutive five-play drives late in the fourth quarter. They needed just 1:22 on the first and 1:19 on the second.

• The Nittany Lions' final two possessions netted minus-9 yards on a combined seven plays (excluding a punt).

• A big play by Ohio State's special teams helped sway momentum, as Penn State punter Blake Gillikin had his punt blocked with 11:39 left in the game. 

• Penn State falls to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten. Ohio State is now 7-1 and 5-0 in conference.

• Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett completed his last 16 pass attempts. Barrett's 16 straight completions are a school record, according to ESPN.

Barrett finished 33 of 39 for 328 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 95 yards on 17 carries.

• Nittany Lions quarterback Trace McSorley continued his terrific 2017 campaign with his 23rd consecutive game with a passing touchdown, and his sixth this season with at least one TD pass and one rushing TD.

McSorley's effort was all the more admirable given the pressure the junior quarterback faced all day. Ohio State's pass rush off the ends flushed McSorley up into or out of the pocket often.

McSorley was 17 of 29 for 192 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also ran for 49 yards and a touchdown.

• Barrett also tossed his 91st career touchdown pass, moving him past Drew Brees on the Big Ten's all-time list. McSorley's pair of scoring tosses moved him within one of Penn State's record (48).

• Saquon Barkley continued to strengthen his case for the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, returning the opening kickoff 97 yards for a score and then adding a 26-yard TD run.

Barkley finished with 172 total yards but just 67 on offense.

• The Nittany Lions' 14 first-quarter points marked the sixth game they've scored 14 or more points in the first 15 minutes of the game.

• After holding Ohio State to three points in the first quarter Saturday, Penn State has outscored opponents, 104-3, in the opening 15 minutes.

• The Buckeyes' comeback victory extends their current win streak to six games, moving head coach Urban Meyer's all-time record to 46-4 when given more than a week to prepare.

Undermanned Penn State cruises past Columbia at home

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Undermanned Penn State cruises past Columbia at home

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Shep Garner scored 18 of his 26 points in the first half and Penn State beat Columbia 79-65 on Friday.

Lamar Stevens added 14 points and Mike Watkins had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Nittany Lions (4-0) who played without starting guards Tony Carr and Josh Reaves.

Garner was 10 of 18 from the floor with five 3-pointers.

Mike Smith led Columbia with 18 points while Quinton Adlesh and Nate Hickman added 11 apiece for the Lions (1-2).

Penn State led for all but 4:52 and by as many as 14 midway through the first half. Columbia chipped away to cut the halftime deficit to 38-35 but the Nittany Lions opened the second half with a 13-5 run over the first 4:14 to take control.

Carr sat out with a sprained ankle he suffered on Wednesday while Reaves was out for an undisclosed reason.

Big picture
Columbia: The Lions need to do everything better if they want to compete in the Ivy League. Columbia hasn't won back-to-back games since Jan. 27-28 last season. The Lions won two in a row just twice a year ago when they went 5-9 in conference play.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions' depth was tested for the first time this season with Carr and Reaves unable to play. Nazeer Bostick and Jamari Wheeler played well in their places and Satchel Pierce has been tough to play against down low with Watkins in early foul trouble.

Up next
Columbia: Travels to Army on Tuesday.

Penn State: Plays Pittsburgh in the Legends Classic at the Barclays center in New York on Monday.

Penn State holds off Montana in 2nd half to reach 3-0

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Penn State holds off Montana in 2nd half to reach 3-0

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Although his nose was bloodied and swollen, smashed at the bridge and packed full of gauze, Shep Garner was all smiles on Wednesday night.

His nose, possibly broken in a collision with a teammate late in Penn State's 70-57 win over Montana on Wednesday, will heal. He's happier his shooting stroke appears to be on the mend, too.

Garner finished with 12 points and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the pesky Grizzlies away after they had pulled within three with 4:11 remaining at the Bryce Jordan Center.

"Talk about a kid that hasn't really been stroking the ball the first couple of games," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "Misses two free throws then drills two 3s. That's what a senior does. That's what a leader does."

Lamar Stevens scored 15 of his 25 points in the second half and Josh Reaves added 12 apiece for the Nittany Lions (3-0) who led for all but 2:58.

Ahmaad Rorie led the Grizzlies (2-1) with 16 points and Michael Oguine chipped in 15, including a 3-pointer that cut Penn State's lead to 58-55.

The Grizzlies took advantage of Penn State's depleted lineup as they mounted their comeback. Penn State led by 10 with 13:06 left but was down two of its starting guards.

With Garner off the court for nasal repairs after colliding with Nazeer Bostick, Penn State was also without leading scorer Tony Carr who suffered a sprained ankle earlier in the second half. He did not return to the game.

Stevens took on the scoring load with most of his points coming while Carr rode a courtside stationary bike, trying to get loose.

"It just shows you, we have some players on this team," Chambers said. "On any given night, anybody's going to step up."

The teams swapped the lead six times before the Nittany Lions went ahead for good on a Bostick dunk with 12:09 to play in the first half and Penn State led 34-29 at intermission.

"I think Stevens and Garner scored the ball in a timely fashion and that was the big difference tonight," Montana coach Travis DeCuire said.

Shep’s shaky start
Garner, the team's top 3-point shooter last season, was struggling from all over the floor coming into the game. He had made just 2 of 16 field goals in the first two games.

"I was confident going into the game," Garner said. "But the shots down the stretch when we really needed them, they gave our team a boost and they gave me a boost so I felt great after making those shots."

Oguine shaken up
Oguine appeared to hurt his right wrist after getting tangled up under the hoop with Garner early in the second. The Grizzlies' leading scorer was unable to shoot the ensuing foul shots but did return to the game with his wrist taped after a brief respite.

Watching Carr
Chambers said Carr probably could've played, though he admitted he wasn't sure of the severity of the sprain and would know more on Thursday.

Carr, who scored 53 points over the first two games, was bringing the ball up slowly, waiting for his offense to set up when he crumpled to the floor grabbing at his right leg. Rorie went the other way for an uncontested layup and Carr limped off with help.

Chambers said he'd meet with Carr and team doctors Thursday to determine if Carr can play on Friday.

"When Tony went down, everybody had to step up," Miller said. "And tonight my teammates found me in the right spots and I was able to make my shots."

Big picture
Montana: The Grizzlies have plenty of talent. Rorie and Oguine are going to keep putting up points and will give this team a chance to win the Big Sky conference if they play like they did against the bigger Nittany Lions.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions are off to the type of start coach Patrick Chambers wanted to see. Fueled by an aggressive defense, Penn State has held teams to an average of 63 points per game thus far.

Up next
Montana hosts Oral Roberts on Monday.

Penn State hosts Columbia as part of the Legends Classic on Friday.