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Football No 4 Ohio State comes back defeats No 9 Penn State

Ohio State redshirt sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins heads to the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter against Penn State on Sept. 29. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorDwayne Haskins has had big moments in his Ohio State career. He came into the Michigan game after J.T. Barrett suffered an injury, leading the Buckeyes to a 31-20 victory. He went to Arlington, Texas and defeated then-No. 15 TCU 40-28.However, this game, this atmosphere against No. 9 Penn State was the redshirt sophomore quarterback’s chance to firmly define himself as a starting quarterback at Ohio State. And that’s exactly what he did, leading the No. 4 Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0) to a 27-26 victory over No. 9 Penn State (4-1, 1-1) Down 26-14 with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Haskins began to slowly chip away Penn State’s lead. In what began what head coach Urban Meyer called “one of the great drives in Ohio State history, Haskins completed a 5-yard pass to senior wide receiver C.J. Saunders. He completed an 8-yard pass to junior wide receiver Austin Mack. After an incompletion by Haskins, the opportunity came. Haskins navigated the pocket, waiting for a receiver to get open. He found junior wide receiver Binjimen Victor on a dig route. Overthrowing him, Victor fought for the ball, bringing down the reception and shaking off the tackle at the same time.“Somebody was in my face and all I saw was green grass and i just took off,” Victor said.Victor weaved his way past Penn State defenders to score a 47-yard touchdown.Haskins was not done. In the next drive, after getting to the Penn State 24-yard line on seven plays, Haskins threw the go-ahead touchdown, a screen pass to redshirt junior receiver K.J. Hill for a 24-yard score. With a 12-point deficit to overcome, Haskins said he lives for the opportunities to succeed in those situations.“Every opportunity we get on the field, it’s good, the opportunity to go win a game,” Haskins said. “It was tough one, but we wanted it tough. It was good.”With the win, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer continued his streak of winning every game that the Buckeyes played against a ranked opponent in a true road game. For many, the game did not turn out like it was expected to. With the two top scoring offenses in the country facing off, the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions scored seven touchdowns combined, converting on seven of 33 third-down attempts. After Ohio State allowed Penn State to record 36 yards on 12 plays to start the second half, McSorley took over in the fourth quarter. McSorley ended the day with 461 all-purpose yards, breaking Christian Hackenberg’s record for most yards by any player in Penn State history.Meyer said one of the keys to the second half, at the very end, was bringing down McSorley because, for the majority of the game, he had been “running all over” the Ohio State defense.Even with the one-point victory, the Ohio State offense did not meet its expectations in the first half. The Buckeyes recorded 93 yards on 30 plays with only four first downs in the first half. Haskins ended the first half completing seven of 16 pass attempts for 62 yards, throwing a touchdown and an interception, his second of the season. Ohio State’s only score of the first half was an opportunity created by the defense. On the first play of Penn State’s ninth drive of the game, redshirt sophomore linebacker Tuf Borland tackled Penn State junior running back Miles Sanders at the line of scrimmage, forcing him to fumble. After the recovery by redshirt junior defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State took advantage of the opportunity given, scoring on a 26-yard screen pass by Haskins to sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins. While the Nittany Lions struggled in the third quarter much like the Buckeyes did in the first half, Haskins mustered up just enough offensive momentum for Ohio State to take the lead. In the first drive of the second half, the redshirt sophomore quarterback led the Buckeyes on a methodical 13-play, 75-yard drive, ending in Dobbins’ second touchdown of the day on a 4-yard rush. Even with momentum-building moments on offense, a 51-yard run by McSorley and a 31-yard circus catch by redshirt junior wide receiver Juwan Johnson, Penn State could not cash in on its early offensive success. That is, until the middle of the second quarter. McSorley stepped back, no intention on leaving the pocket, looking to throw. He saw redshirt freshman wide receiver K.J. Hamler open on a slant route in the middle. The quarterback fired. Hamler caught the pass with ease, beating sophomore safety Isaiah Pryor in the open field for the first touchdown of the game, a 93-yard play that tied for the longest play against Ohio State in program history. Before that, the Ohio State defense forced three field goal attempts, two of which were made by Penn State freshman kicker Jake Pinegar.With a history of comeback games against Penn State,  Meyer did not respond on whether or not this game, a 12-point comeback win over a top-10 opponent was more emotionally taxing than other wins.“It’s great,” Meyer said. “It’s great when you win.”No. 4 Ohio State will bring its five-game winning streak back to Columbus to face Indiana on Oct. 6 at 4 p.m.Updated at 1:15 a.m. with quotes from Urban Meyer and players.

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