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.