Penn State stunned by Ohio State with 4th-quarter collapse

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Penn State stunned by Ohio State with 4th-quarter collapse

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history, a sparkling whiteout, was rocking. Penn State and its dynamic and gritty quarterback Trace McSorley had Ohio State reeling midway through the fourth quarter.

And then just like that, everything changed, and for the second year in a row the Buckeyes swiped victory away from the Nittany Lions in another wild game between the Big Ten powerhouses.

Dwayne Haskins threw two touchdown passes in the final seven minutes as No. 4 Ohio State wiped out a 12-point deficit to beat No. 9 Penn State 27-26 Saturday night.

"That sideline was not giving up," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "There was a time, now, you looked up and saw those white pom-poms and that whole deal and thought that was over."

McSorley set a school record with 461 yards of total offense, including a career-high 175 rushing and threw two touchdown passes, and the Nittany Lions (4-1, 1-1) went up 26-14 with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard TD plunge by Miles Sanders.

The record-breaking crowd of 110,889 was singing along to "Sweet Caroline" and "Livin' on a Prayer." It looked like the Nittany Lions would get another home victory against the Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0) like they did in 2016.

Instead, for the second straight season, Ohio State made a fourth-quarter rally from a double-digit deficit. As far as Penn State coach James Franklin has taken the Nittany Lions in four-plus seasons, he said they can't quite consider themselves an elite program until they start closing out games like this. And he promised to change it.

"It's not going to happen again," Franklin said. "I'm not a negative guy. But I am going to make sure that as our program, that we do everything right and we grow every single day and we challenge ourselves every single day and we get uncomfortable, we get comfortable being uncomfortable and break out to that next phase."

The game flipped quickly.

Haskins connected with Binjimen Victor, who weaved and slipped through tacklers for a 47-yard touchdown catch and run that cut it to 26-21 with 6:42 left.

Meyer said Victor, a junior who Ohio State has been waiting to blossom, "gave us hope."

Penn State could not put the Buckeyes away with a closing drive, but the Nittany Lions buried Haskins and Ohio State at their own 4 with 4:35 left on the clock.

"It was tough, but we wanted it to be tough," Haskins said.

A screen to J.K. Dobbins got 35 and took Ohio State out of the hole. Mixing runs and passes, the Buckeyes worked their way into Penn State territory. Haskins hit K.J. Hill with a quick pass to the outside and the receiver picked up a couple of blocks, broke a tackle and went in for a 24-yard score that made it 27-26 with 2:03 left.

"One of the great drives in Ohio State history," Meyer called it.

McSorley and Penn State could not come up with a response. On fourth-and-5 from the Ohio State 43, McSorley handed off to Sanders on a read option and the back was smothered by Chase Young.

"We obviously didn't make the right call in that situation, and that's on me, nobody else," Franklin said.

Meyer said Ohio State expected Penn State to give McSorley an option to run.

"It was very emotional," McSorley said of the Penn State locker room after the game. "It was just one of those things where you lose by one point and everyone's mind, immediately, it's just, what could I have done better?"

The takeaway
Ohio State: The Buckeyes now have two come-from-behind victories away from Columbus against quality competition, adding this one to the TCU win two weeks ago. Yet, still, there seems to be much work to do. Penalties and a propensity to give up long gains continue to dog Ohio State.

Penn State: The winner of this game has won the Big Ten the past two seasons. The Nittany Lions can still think conference title and College Football Playoff, but their road will be tough with games remaining against No. 21 Michigan State, No. 15 Wisconsin and No. 14 Michigan still left. And no tiebreaker against the Buckeyes in the East Division.

OBJ-esque
Penn State receiver Juwan Johnson made what could go down as one of the best catches of the season in the first half. Conjuring up comparisons to Odell Beckham's famous one-handed grab against Dallas in 2014, the 6-foot-4 Johnson reached high as he was falling back and made a right-handed grab for 31 yards down the sideline.

Up next
Ohio State is home to play Indiana next week.

Penn State is off next week before hosting No. 21 Michigan State on Oct. 13.

Former Penn State, NFL DT Brandon Noble takes his turn to help amid coronavirus outbreak

Former Penn State, NFL DT Brandon Noble takes his turn to help amid coronavirus outbreak

Former Penn State and NFL defensive tackle Brandon Noble is taking the lessons he learned during his football career and applying them to the fight against the coronavirus. Noble, who owns the Bright Spot Cafe in Exton, Pennsylvania, along with his partners Tommy and Shannon Brower, is delivering meals to healthcare workers at various hospitals.

The idea originated from a phone call and took on a life of its own.

"A friend of Tommy called and asked if we could put together a lunch for the nurses at Paoli Hospital," Noble said in an interview Monday with NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark. "This guy had a friend who worked there and he just wanted to send them a meal. So we did it, we took it down there and we saw the appreciation from the staff at the hospital that they had a hot meal individually packaged and rolled up to the door for them.

"You can just see it in their eyes because everyone is obviously wearing masks now. It kind of snowballed from there, people are calling us, reaching out to us and they're asking to buy meals for different hospitals and wings of different departments. It's really cool."

Noble and his partners have delivered about 2,000 meals over the last two weeks. He's urging people to get involved and donate money and meals by visiting his restaurant's website — brightspotexton.com. The restaurant is matching all donations in an effort to support and feed as many healthcare workers as possible.

"Playing football for as long as I did, I've had plenty of surgeries, I've had the health issues, I've been in the hospital," Noble said. "I understand how important these people are and right now they're under a lot of stress. There's a lot going on, they're laying it on the line every day for the rest of us. So going in and helping them out, absolutely it feels good. One thing about this country, the people here, we take care of each other."

Noble pointed to one health scare in particular from his playing career that greatly impacted his view of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. 

"I was one of the first guys in the NFL to get MRSA back in 2004," Noble said. "I had a routine operation and I woke up a few days later and I had this really bad hot spot in my knee and it kind of escalated from there. I ended up being unconscious in my living room during my daughter's 2nd birthday party. My mother-in-law is a nurse and she told my wife to take me to the hospital. They rolled me into the emergency room and the doctors told us if we had waited another 12 hours I would have lost my leg and I might have died.

"I spent 10 days in the hospital getting taken care of. I was a professional athlete, a football player, 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds and I couldn't walk without help. Those people kept me alive. So I have a tremendous amount of respect for them and what they do. They're taking care of people who are scared, who are hurt, who are in a bit of an unknown situation right now."

Noble lives in Chester Springs and is the defensive coordinator at Downingtown East High School. He's teaching his players the same lessons about football he learned long ago, lessons that led him to take action during these uncertain times. 

"Football is one of those great places where there are people from all over, from all socioeconomic backgrounds, all sorts of family backgrounds, different geographic locations," Noble said. "You're all thrown into this room and you're told that you're going to win or lose depending on the guy next to you. How can you help that guy? How can you be there when it's your turn to help? 

"That's what football is all about. It's a great team sport, the best team sport. It teaches those of us who play it and coach it that's it all about the guy next to you. If you love the guy next to you and he loves you, you're going forward and great things will happen." 

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No. 21 Penn State beats No. 23 Iowa at packed Palestra

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USA Today Images/Bill Streicher

No. 21 Penn State beats No. 23 Iowa at packed Palestra

BOX SCORE

Izaiah Brockington scored 23 points to lead No. 21 Penn State to its fifth straight win, 89-86 over No. 23 Iowa on Saturday at the Palestra.

Luka Garza scored 34 points for the Hawkeyes (10-4, 1-2 Big Ten), but he missed three crucial free throws down the stretch that helped the Nittany Lions win in front of a raucous home crowd on Philly's most famous court. Garza, who scored 44 points last month at Michigan, scored 12 straight points in one stretch in the first half but missed two foul shots with 3:21 left in the game and Iowa clinging to a two-point lead.

Curtis Jones put Penn State in front with a 3-pointer that rocked the building. Garza went 1 of 2 from the line to even the score at 79-all, but Mike Watkins delivered for PSU with a go-ahead dunk. Penn State forced a turnover and Lamar Stevens sealed it with a late layup.

Stevens and Myreon Jones each scored 16 points for the Nittany Lions (12-2, 2-1).

Penn State coach Pat Chambers might finally have a team he can take to the NCAA Tournament in his ninth season.

Penn State might want to petition to play all its Big Ten games at the Palestra. The Nittany Lions got the best of Iowa and coach Fran McCaffery, a former Penn standout who played home games at the Palestra.

Penn State barely averaged an announced attendance of 10,000 fans last season at its on-campus arena, the Bryce Jordan Center. But 193 miles down the road at the Palestra, the heart of Philly hoops, the steamy gym was packed. Tickets on the secondary market were going for $150 a seat in the corners - or, "Corners! as its known when the Palestra is sold out -- and fans arrived early to walk the concourse that serves as much as a hall of fame as it does a stop for a $4 hot dog.

Walk past the pictures of Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain in their high school uniforms, and there's a photo of McCaffery in his No. 23 Penn jersey. The caption read, "Fran McCafferty, 1979-82, was integral in three Ivy League Championship titles for the Quakers." McCaffery walked in the same concourse doors Saturday as fans and fist-bumped a row of black-and-gold wearing supporters. Yes, even an Ivy League school can't ace spelling -- there's no T in McCaffery -- and McCaffery left with another unwanted letter: an L.

Penn State alumni roared "We Are!" from the opening tip and the Palestra decibel meter hit 11 when the Nittany Lions seemed poised to break the game open. Seth Lundy and Myles Dread hit 3s, Stevens turned a steal into a fast-break layup and another Penn State steal ended with a Stevens dunk and a 35-27 lead. Iowa collected itself and Dread's jumper to end the half gave the Hawkeyes a 39-38 lead.

Stevens sparked the idea of PSU making a return trip to Palestra. A graduate of Philadelphia's Roman Catholic High School, Stevens badgered Chambers about playing a game at the Palestra before his career ended. He surely could not have imagined a showdown between two nationally ranked teams going basket-for-basket in front of a packed house once Iowa agreed to play in Philly.

Big picture

Iowa: The Hawkeyes can only hope this kind of loss won't cost them an NCAA Tournament bid.

Penn State: Penn State played its first game as a ranked team against a ranked team for the first time since 1996. Chambers found little success over his first eight seasons, and has failed to lead the program to the NCAA Tournament. But powered by a deep, veteran roster, the Nittany Lions cracked the Top 25 this season for the first time since March 1996.

Up next

Iowa plays Tuesday at Nebraska.

Penn State plays Tuesday at Rutgers.