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

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

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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.

Penn State's big rally falls short in Citrus Bowl loss to Kentucky

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Penn State's big rally falls short in Citrus Bowl loss to Kentucky

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Benny Snell Jr. ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns to become Kentucky's career rushing leader and help the 16th-ranked Wildcats wrap up their best season in more than four decades with a 27-24 victory over No. 13 Penn State in the Citrus Bowl on Tuesday.

Snell scored on runs of 2 and 12 yards in the second half, then carried for a couple of crucial first downs to help Kentucky (10-3) run out the clock after Penn State's Trace McSorley trimmed a 27-7 deficit to three points despite playing with a foot injury.

McSorley threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns, and the Nittany Lions' career passing and wins leader also rushed for a team-high 75 yards on 19 attempts.

Lynn Bowden Jr. scored on a 58-yard punt return for Kentucky, and Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year Josh Allen had three of the Wildcats' six sacks.

Penn State (9-4) trailed 27-7 entering the fourth quarter, but McSorley's wasn't finished. His 1-yard TD run capped a 75-yard drive, and he followed with an 18-yard TD pass to Pat Friermuth to cut Kentucky's lead to six.

The Nittany Lions marched to the Kentucky 14 on their next possession to pull to within 27-24 with 4:12 left.

Thanks to Snell, a junior who already has declared for the NFL draft, McSorley didn't get the ball back until just one second was left on the clock.

Kentucky finished with its first 10-win season since 1977, when the Wildcats went 10-1.

Snell broke Sonny Collins' career rushing record on his 12-yard TD run that made it 27-7 late in the third quarter. Collins rushed for 3,835 yards from 1972-75.

The takeaway

Kentucky: Facing a tradition-rich opponent in a New Year's bowl was a big deal for the Wildcats, who made the most of the opportunity. Along with the three sacks, Allen blocked a field goal to key a strong defensive effort, while the offense shrugged off a slow start to help the Wildcats pull away in the second half.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions fell short of their goal to finish with 10 wins in three consecutive seasons for the first time since 1980-82. Three of their four losses were by a total of eight points.

Up next

Kentucky: Wildcats look to build on success they've had under coach Mark Stoops, who has transformed them into a Top 25 team. Their 5-3 record in SEC play represented their first winning mark in the league in 41 years, spawning heightened expectations for 2019.

Penn State: Nittany Lions face challenge of replacing McSorley, the school's career leader for wins, completions, passing yards, passing TDs, total offense and rushing TDs by a quarterback.

McSorley helps No. 15 Penn State rout Maryland

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McSorley helps No. 15 Penn State rout Maryland

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Trace McSorley completed 12 of 22 passes for 230 yards and had a hand in three touchdowns to help No. 15 Penn State rout Maryland 38-3 on Saturday.

McSorley added 64 rushing yards on 11 carries for the Nittany Lions (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten, No. 12 CFP). He threw a 34-yard bullet through freezing rain to KJ Hamler on the game's first play, sprinted downfield to throw a block that opened Miles Sanders up for a 35-yard run on the next, then skipped into the end zone from 3 yards out to cap the quick opening drive.

McSorley added another touchdown run two possessions later when he scrambled through a pair of defenders up the middle for 20 yards and a 14-3 lead.

Ricky Slade added 8- and 1-yard touchdown runs and tight end Pat Freiermuth caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from McSorley in the fourth quarter.

Sanders finished with 128 yards on 14 carries, Hamler caught three passes for 90 yards and Jake Pinegar added a 25-yard field goal for the Nittany Lions who won their third straight.

Tyrrell Pigrome completed 14 of 23 passes for 185 yards but was sacked five times for the Terrapins (5-7, 3-6). They will miss out on a bowl trip for the third time since joining the Big Ten.

Maryland kicker Joseph Petrino booted a 26-yard field goal to break the shutout.