It looked like it could have been the end of Ohio State’s Rose Bowl aspirations, but a 35-point rally helped propel the Buckeyes to yet another Big Ten victory. Penn State controlled the tempo and the game throughout the entire first half in holding on to a steady 14-3 lead.
In the end, thanks to some impressive performances led by running back Dan Herron, the Bucks scored 35 points in a span of less than 18 minutes in the second half, easily cruising to a comfortable victory. It certainly was not a pretty game, but it was just what OSU needed to stay in line with Michigan State and Wisconsin at the top of the conference standings.
Stay tuned below the jump for the stars of the game and a standings update:
- Dan Herron was the clear key to the offense Saturday, not Terrelle Pryor. Boom finished with 190 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, single-handedly putting the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Pryor only had eight passing attempts in the first half at all and struggled to throw the ball consistently yesterday. That’s why Herron provided the safety net that propelled the team to victory, and kept the comeback rolling.
- Speaking of players who helped sparked the comeback, you have to begin with Devon Torrence. Herron had just scored a short touchdown run to cut the deficit finally to 14-10 midway through the third quarter, and just a few plays later on the Penn State drive, Torrence came through in the clutch. He intercepted Matt McGloin’s pass and returned it 34 yards for the touchdown, giving the Bucks a lead they would never relinquish. Credit also goes here to Matt Howard, who also picked up a pick six, albeit less meaningful, midway through the fourth quarter.
- In watching that second half however, one offensive play stood out to me the most. That was the miraculous 58-yard touchdown pass from Pryor to Dane Sanzenbacher, where Devier Posey and a pair of Penn State defenders bobbled the ball, leaving it up for Sanzenbacher to stroll right into the end zone. Go take a look at the play if you haven’t already, it’s worth remembering. The awareness of Sanzenbacher to stroll down right next to Posey and just walk right into the ball in the air was just incredibly impressive, and began the blowout that was Saturday’s fourth quarter. It marked his only catch of the day, but after this point with OSU leading 24-14, not much more passing was needed.
Big Ten Standings Update: (BCS rankings to change later tonight)
#11 Michigan State (9-1, 5-1) – vs. Purdue, @ Penn State
#7 Wisconsin (9-1, 5-1) – @ Michigan, vs. Northwestern
#9 Ohio State (9-1, 5-1) – @ Iowa, vs. Michigan
Iowa’s loss to Northwestern brought them out of the title race, leaving it as a current three-way tie at the top of the league. Michigan State will not play Ohio State this season, but the Spartans defeated Wisconsin who also defeated OSU.
What this means is that the tiebreaker system in the Big Ten Conference reverts to overall winning percentage and then BCS ranking. All of the teams have the same winning percentage now, and it could simply be a race to the finish for OSU against Wisconsin in the BCS rankings. No matter what however, expect two of these three teams to play in a BCS game with one participating as the Big Ten representative in the Rose Bowl and the other as a worth at-large selection.
Photo via AP Photo/Al Behrman