After putting together four straight games of 50-points or more, the Ohio State offense struggled in a 31-24 double-overtime win over the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday night.
The vast majority of the crowd of 107,895 was sent home unhappy in State College, Pa., following the game, but they aren’t the only ones with questions about their team.
The Lantern sports editors compiled a list of five things they learned from the crazy game at Beaver Stadium.
1. J.T. Barrett is human after all
After four games in which Barrett had compiled 20 touchdowns to just one turnover, the redshirt-freshman quarterback threw two second-half interceptions that nearly cost the Buckeyes the game.
The first of the two interceptions came on the first drive of the second half, and was returned for a Nittany Lion touchdown. The second, which came at the start of the fourth quarter, also led to Penn State points.
Barrett finished 12-19 for just 74 yards with one score through the air, although he added 75 yards on the ground, including both of OSU’s overtime scores.
It’s safe to say Barrett still has some growing up to do, especially on the big stage (see: Virginia Tech game), but the young quarterback has shown maturity and the future can still be bright for the Wichita Falls, Texas, native.
2. Joey Bosa has the ability to be one of the all-time Buckeye greats
That’s right, we said it.
If he continues his current tear on the football field, Bosa — a sophomore defensive lineman — could one day be mentioned in the conversation with OSU greats like Orlando Pace, Chris Spielman and others who dominated the opposition.
Bosa has compiled eight sacks this season, which puts him in a four way tie for fifth-best in the country. Not only that, he single-handedly overpowered two Penn State offensive players in order to sack Nittany Lions sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg on the final play of Saturday’s game.
And he is only a sophomore.
While putting Bosa in the same breath as Pace might seem like an overstatement now, just imagine how much fun it would be to watch those two lineup across from each other in their prime.
3. Beaver Stadium creates one of the best college atmospheres in the country
While most people already know this, we had yet to experience it with our own eyes, and the Penn State crowd did not disappoint.
Following Barrett’s pick-six, the press box shook almost uncontrollably (the architecture probably has something to do with it) as the Penn State faithful rocked Beaver Stadium.
The atmosphere in State College, Pa., is not something we will soon forget, as it created one of the best scenes college football can produce.
The comparison to Ohio Stadium is close, as they both hold roughly the same number of fans, but Beaver Stadium is one of the best, if not the best college venue in the country.
4. Penn State is close to being Penn State again
Since its loss of scholarships after the Jerry Sandusky fallout, the Nittany Lions have not quite been the traditional power we’re all used to seeing.
But they’re close.
With the NCAA reinstating Penn State’s bowl eligibility and scholarships, the Nittany Lion program is back on the rise, and Saturday night’s game proved that.
Not just the atmosphere, but the play of guys like Hackenberg and Penn State redshirt-senior linebacker Mike Hull, who led all players with 19 tackles, show that the program is just one step away from being a national contender again.
The Big Ten conference should be on high alert.
5. OSU’s defense is reliable
Bosa was dominant for the Buckeyes, but as a whole, the OSU defensive unit played its best game of the season — not counting Kent State.
From redshirt-freshmen, like linebacker Darron Lee and cornerback Eli Apple, to redshirt-sophomore safety Tyvis Powell and junior linebacker Joshua Perry, a plethora of Buckeyes shined throughout the game on defense. Perry managed 18 total tackles, while Powell had an interception, Lee tallied 2.5 tackles for loss and Apple was solid throughout, other than a pass interference call.
Outside of the bigger names like Bosa or senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett, if the Buckeyes keep improving on defense, the offense could be afforded more leeway to have an off night like it did against Penn State.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the field on Saturday against Illinois at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.