Nov. 19, 2011
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Postgame Press Conference (video)
COLUMBUS, Ohio - No. 21 Penn State defeated Ohio State 20-14 Saturday afternoon before a Senior Day crowd of 105,493 at Ohio Stadium.
Following an exciting back-and-forth first half, both defenses rose to the occasion in a scoreless second stanza. Penn State (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) stifled the Buckeye offense after halftime, forcing a pair of fumbles and holding on fourth down twice in the fourth quarter as Ohio State tried in vain to make a comeback. The Buckeyes (6-5, 3-4 Big Ten) fell behind 10-0 for the third-consecutive game and struggled to move the ball consistently against the stout Nittany Lion defense.
"Obviously, falling behind 10-0 is not what we planned on doing," Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell
said after the game. "When you fall behind early, it makes it really difficult to do the things you want to. We fought and battled, but it's just not good enough."
Offensively, Ohio State was led by quarterback Braxton Miller, who totaled 188 all-purpose yards, 105 on the ground and 83 through the air on 7-of-17 passing. Daniel 'Boom' Herron added 76 yards rushing on 18 carries in his final home game as a Buckeye.
The OSU defense struggled against the Penn State ground game throughout the contest, surrendering 239 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Ryan Shazier enjoyed a breakout game playing in place of injured linebacker Andrew Sweat, totaling a team season-high 15 tackles.
Penn State held a 10-0 advantage after one quarter. The Nittany Lions marched 80 yards in five plays on their opening drive of the game, taking a 7-0 lead on a 39-yard TD run by Stephfon Green. Anthony Fera added a field goal on the following offensive possession to put the Buckeyes in an early 10-point hole.
Miller put the Buckeyes on the board at the beginning of the second quarter with a 24-yard touchdown run that cut the Nittany Lion lead to three. Penn State would respond on its next drive, however, as Green added his second TD of the game - this time from four yards out - for a 17-7 lead with 10:05 remaining in the first half.
The Buckeyes caught a break two possessions later. After a three-and-out on offense, Orhian Johnson intercepted a Matt McGloin pass and returned the ball to the PSU 37. Miller capitalized on the Nittany Lion mistake, finding Jake Stoneburner in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard TD.
Fera added his second field goal of the game - a 46-yarder - as time expired in the first half to make the score 20-14 in favor of Penn State at halftime.
The Nittany Lions had a golden opportunity to add to their lead midway through the third quarter following a Jordan Hall fumble at the OSU 11, but the Buckeye defense held on fourth and goal from the 1 as Storm Klein and Michael Bennett combined to stop Silas Redd short of the goal line.
Ohio State had a number of opportunities in the fourth quarter to get back into the game, but the Penn State defense rose to the occasion each time. Miller advanced the Buckeyes into opposing territory with a little more than three minutes to play, but the Nittany Lions held on fourth down. OSU had one final attempt at a comeback after a PSU three-and-out, but an intentional grounding penalty and three incomplete passes sealed the win for Penn State
Prior to kickoff, 24 Buckeye seniors were honored for their contributions to the football program in their final home game at Ohio Stadium. At halftime, Dr. Jon R. Woods, retiring director of OSU Marching Band, dotted the 'I' in Script Ohio in honor of his 38 years of service to the band and University community.