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.

Wheels fall off in Ann Arbor as No. 5 Michigan routs No. 14 Penn State

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Wheels fall off in Ann Arbor as No. 5 Michigan routs No. 14 Penn State

BOX SCORE

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- No. 5 Michigan wanted to do more than just beat No. 14 Penn State.

The Wolverines wanted to win big, getting revenge after getting routed and humiliated against the Nittany Lions last year.

Michigan got what it wanted.

Shea Patterson accounted for three touchdowns and the Wolverines put together a dominant performance on defense in a 42-7 rout against Penn State on Saturday.

"If we had a chance, we were going to run it up, too," Patterson said.

The Wolverines (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten, No. 5 CFP) moved a step closer toward their goals of winning a conference championship for the first time since 2004 and earning their first spot in the College Football Playoff.

"We're the team to beat in the Big Ten," proclaimed defensive end Chase Winovich , who has said the team is on a revenge tour to beat the four conference teams it lost to last season. "That's not a controversial statement. It's just, I think, that's a fact at this point."

The Nittany Lions (6-3, 3-3, No. 14 CFP) scored with 1:59 left, avoiding getting shut out for the first time since 2001 against Michigan.

"Defensively, they kicked our butts," coach James Franklin said.

Jim Harbaugh did what he could to prevent Penn State from scoring at all, challenging a call on its last drive and calling timeout twice.

Michigan, clearly, was motivated to beat the Nittany Lions after they won 42-13 last year and tried to score a touchdown on its last play.

"It was personal right from the start," Karan Higdon said.

Higdon ran for 132 yards and a score that put the Wolverines up 35-0 early in the fourth quarter. He has run for 100-plus yards in seven straight games, one shy of the school record set by Mike Hart in 2007.

"I think it's time for him to get nominated for some big-time awards," Patterson said.

Michigan's defense held Penn State to 186 yards and forced three turnovers, including Tommy Stevens' interception that was returned 62 yards by Brandon Watson for its second score in the final minute of the third quarter. It was Watson's second pick-6 of the season, joining Lance Dottin (1991) as the only players to do that twice in a year.

The Nittany Lions started banged-up quarterback Trace McSorley and he was 5 of 13 for 83 yards with an interception and a fumble. McSorley played with an injured right knee in last week's win against Iowa. He shared time and rotated with Stevens, who was 3 of 4 for 35 yards. Stevens scored on an 8-yard run late in the game.

"When (Stevens) threw the interception there, we felt like we needed to put Trace back in," Franklin said. "Obviously, you make the decision and you probably could've made the change a little bit earlier. The way they were pressuring us and loading the box, having the ball with Trace's mobility was critical."

Patterson was 11 of 17 for 144 yards with two touchdown passes, a 23-yard throw to Donovan Peoples-Jones in the second quarter and a 7-yard strike to Zach Gentry. He ran 11 times, often on read-option plays , for 42 yards, including a 1-yard TD midway through the first quarter.

"With Shea, they've added another element to their package, getting on the perimeter," Franklin said.

No. 17 Penn State escapes No. 18 Iowa with late stands

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No. 17 Penn State escapes No. 18 Iowa with late stands

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Trace McSorley visited the injury tent. Not much in there, he said. Just a table for him to sit on while his right knee was being checked out in the second quarter of Penn State's game against Iowa.

"It's kind of cramped," McSorley said.

The senior quarterback, barely 6-feet tall and 200 pounds but able to carry Penn State's offense, has started 35 straight games and only has two more left at Beaver Stadium. He was not about to sit out the second half of this one.

McSorley returned after giving Penn State a scare, and the 17th-ranked Nittany Lions made two late defensive stands to escape No. 18 Iowa 30-24 on Saturday, avoiding a third straight home loss.

Nittany Lions safety Nick Scott intercepted a pass at the 2 with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter to thwart one Hawkeyes drive and Penn State (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) needed one more stop after that. Iowa (6-2, 3-2) drove to the Nittany Lions 44 in the final minute.

On fourth-and-10 with 7 seconds remaining, Penn State's pass rush swarmed Nate Stanley, who flipped backward to offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. The 300-pounder rumbled 15 yards before being dragged down with no time left.

It was a fitting end to what Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz called "kind of an unusual game," with little sustained offense on a chilly and rainy day. Iowa had two safeties and a touchdown pass by punter Colten Rastetter to defensive tackle Sam Brincks on a faked field goal in the first half, and a pick-six in the second half.

Penn State played three series in the second quarter without McSorley.

"Gutsy win," Penn State coach James Franklin said.

McSorley was sandwiched by two Hawkeyes as he tried to scramble and stayed down, grabbing his right leg. The Beaver Stadium crowd fell silent as athletic trainers attended to him. McSorley got up with assistance and limped off.

Tommy Stevens played the next two series at quarterback for Penn State, scoring on a 3-yard run. He also led a short drive late in the first half to set up Jake Pinegar's career-best 45-yard field goal to make it 17-all. The freshman kicker from Iowa added a 49-yarder in the third quarter and 44-yarder in the fourth.

McSorley went back in for one series in the first half and Penn State went three-and-out.

On the sideline, he got encouragement from his sister and his father. He tried to stay loose, riding the stationary bike, running and cutting.

Franklin said he planned to start the second half with Stevens.

"Trace has earned the right to tell us if he thinks he can go," Franklin said. "I said: `Look I need to the whole package. I can't just have a pro-style quarterback. I got to have more than that.'"

Wearing a knee brace, McSorley delivered. On Penn State's first possession, he broke free for a 51-yard touchdown run to give the Nittany Lions their first lead, 24-17, with 12:10 left in the third quarter.

"I wasn't really going to know until I got out there," said McSorley, who finished with 167 yards passing and 63 rushing.

Trailing 30-24 in the fourth quarter, Iowa drove to first-and-goal at the 3 with 3:30 left. But Stanley threw a quick pass toward star tight end Noah Fant, who was not looking.

Ferentz said the Hawkeyes were discombobulated and should have called a timeout.

"I was just trying to change the play based on the look that they gave us," said Stanley, who was 18 for 49 for 205 yards and two interceptions. "I just tried to rush it with the play clock running down. I just should have taken the timeout."

Scott jumped up and made the interception.

"This one's going to hurt," Ferentz said.