It's Called Pick Six University for a Reason

By Kyle Rowland on October 28, 2012 at 1:18a
Braxton Miller's touchdown leap was nice, but his juke may have been nicerThe leap was nice, but the juke may have been nicer.
0 7 21 7 35
0 7 3 13 23

Michael Mauti’s expression said it all. After Braxton Miller juked his way into the end zone in the third quarter, Mauti, Penn State’s star linebacker, flung his arms up as to say, “What more can we do?”

The answer was nothing.

A week after he was hit violently and taken to the hospital by ambulance, Miller was his sensational self, running for 134 yards, two touchdowns and throwing for another score in leading Ohio State to a 35-23 win at Penn State.

The play that left Mauti so flummoxed only covered one yard in the box score. But Miller covered at least 10 yards with his backward and forward-churning legs.

“I think a guy just came in and tried to tackle Carlos and I pulled it,” Miller said. “I didn’t know who was around me. My instincts just took over after that.”

Said Meyer: “All I heard in my headset was, ‘Oh my God!’”

However, it was a defensive sequence that provided the turning point. On Penn State’s first possession of the second half, Ryan Shazier sacked Matt McGloin on the second play and followed it up with a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown on the next play. It gave Ohio State a 14-7 lead, an advantage it would never relinquish.

Shazier, wearing No. 48 to honor a high school friend who succumbed to muscular dystrophy, had seven tackles, two sacks and an interception.


  Cmp/Att Pct Yds TD Int Rat
Braxton Miller 7/19 36.8 143 1 1 106.9


  Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Braxton Miller 25 134 5.4 33 2 0
Carlos Hyde 22 55 2.5 7 1 0
Rod Smith 4 48 12.0 28 0 0


  Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Jake Stoneburner 2 86 43.0 72 1 0
Evan Spencer 3 33 11.0 13 0 0
Nick Vannett 1 22 22.0 22 0 0
Carlos Hyde 1 2 2.0 2 0 0

The Buckeyes have made pick-sixes an almost yearly occurrence against the Nittany Lions. In the past 11 seasons, Ohio State has eight interception returns for touchdowns against Penn State.

Miller’s injury was the topic du jour this week, but he showed no ill effects from a sore neck. He has now rushed for 100 yards or more in six games this season and reached the 1,000-yard mark for the season, becoming the first player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season under Urban Meyer.

Despite 25 carries – four sacks – from the sophomore quarterback, or about 10 more than Meyer would like, Miller was fresher than usual. He’s usually not one to shy away from contact, but after his first brush with a serious injury and a stern talking to from the coaches, Miller decided sliding and running out of bounds was a smart option.

Ohio State ran for 235 yards against a defense that was considered one of the best in the country. Through seven games, Penn State was only giving up 113 rushing yards per game. Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith combined for 103 yards and a touchdown.

Miller completed 7 of 19 passes for 143 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

The two scandal-ridden programs gave themselves and their fans something to look forward to. Ohio State is almost a year removed from the tattoos-for-memorabilia case that cost the football program its head coach and the 2012 postseason. The wounds in State College are still open. With a scandal that not only shook State College but the entire country, Penn State’s football program has risen up and given Penn Staters hope.

After a nightmarish start to the season, losses to Ohio and Virginia, the Nittany Lions entered Saturday night’s tilt on a five-game winning streak. Head coach Bill O’Brien and McGloin reenergized a fan base that was left reeling with unprecedented NCAA sanctions.

The atmosphere on campus and in Beaver Stadium on Saturday offered a return to normalcy. There was excitement and a level of anticipation that is regarded as the norm when an undefeated team visits Happy Valley late in the season. The 107,818 in attendance represented Penn State’s first sellout of the season.

But Ohio State’s defense didn’t allow Penn State’s productive NASCAR offense to get up to speed. McGloin completed 27 of 45 passes for a career-high 327 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. But his pick-six was a backbreaker and he was also sacked four times. Entering the game, McGloin had only been sacked eight times in seven games.

The Nittany Lions’ rushing attack had no bite, gaining just 35 yards. Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak were each held below the 50-yard mark.

“We’re getting more comfortable together as a staff and a defensive unit,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “Everything is starting to click.”

Ohio State’s season of redemption was the story, however. In the aftermath of the NCAA prohibiting Ohio State from the postseason, many were left asking what the season would even mean. How would Meyer motivate his team? Is it a lost season?

Ultimately, the whiteout held by Penn State students turned into infinite sadnessMiller left the home crowd somber.

All summer the team had to answer questions on the topic. And each time, players insisted that there would be no lack of fire. Still, skeptics remained. When the team lost, there is no way Meyer can keep them focused, critics said.

Ohio State might not even find out. The Buckeyes’ victory improves their record to 9-0 just one season after finishing with the most losses in school history – seven. Standing in the way of an undefeated season are Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. Ohio State is still eligible to win the Leaders Division trophy, but it’s the crystal football that everyone covets, and the Buckeyes would be in the discussion as the calendar flips to November.

The Associated Press national championship remains a possibility, but a slight one. Ohio State entered the Penn State game ranked ninth. Only one team on probation has won the national title – Oklahoma in 1974.

In the buildup to the game, Penn State became a popular pick to win the game, partly due to its resurgence and also because of the uncertainty surrounding Miller. When the teams went to the locker room at halftime tied at seven, the upset predictions remained. But it was clear from the first possession on that Miller was fully healthy.

“I was so excited to come back on the field from my injury,” he said. “The crowd was energetic.”

The game was scoreless at the end of the first quarter, as the teams traded punts and near-misses. Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson beat Travis Howard badly up the sideline, but McGloin underthrew his target and Robinson dropped the ball. Miller also missed an open receiver for a touchdown, overthrowing Corey Brown as he streaked down the middle of the field uninhibited.

The first points came midway through the second quarter when Penn State blocked a punt and Michael Yancich fell on the ball in the end zone. It’s the third punt-block against the Buckeyes this season and the sixth in 23 games. All but one has led to a touchdown for the opponent.

It looked like Penn State would have an opportunity to go up two scores when they forced Ohio State to punt on the next possession. But a holding call on the punt gave the Buckeyes a first down, and they took advantage. Miller engineered a 12-play scoring drive just before halftime to tie the game at seven.

The second half began with Shazier’s heroics, taking the crowd out of the game. Some noise returned to Beaver Stadium after Sam Ficken’s 27-yard field goal cut Ohio State’s lead to 14-10. Again, Penn State had an opportunity to build and seize momentum by intercepting a poorly thrown deep ball by Miller. When the Nittany Lions’ ensuing drive stalled, they went for the fake punt. Ohio State special teams coordinator Zach Smith snuffed it out, though, and Penn State turned the ball over on downs.

“I think that was the turning point of the game,” Meyer said.

The Buckeyes came right back, though, with Miller’s dance from the one-yard line to give them a 21-10 lead. It would grow to 28-10 after another Miller touchdown in the third quarter.

Ohio State’s final touchdown was a 72-yard catch-and-run from Miller to Jake Stoneburner. 


Comments Show All Comments

ATXbucknut's picture

Good write-up.
OSU seems to play up (or down) to its competition. It looked really solid against PSU and Mich St. and pretty good against Nebrasky.  It looked most awful against the two worst teams it has played in UAB and Purdue (and IU defensively).
But 9-0 is 9-0.  We have to accept (and even celebrate) this team for what it is.  Revel in this year and look forward to next year!

BeijingBucks's picture

so the only competition we have left... has lost to teams we have already beat.
Wisky has no passing game... Bucks love to tee off on the run game (just ask MSU)
UM goes as D Nard goes... so basically run game a la martinez... didn't work out so well for him
Illinois is currently unmentionable
you gotta believe 12-0 is there for the taking!

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

Baroclinicity's picture

Kyle, with all due respect, I think Mauti threw his hands in the air because he was mugged by Fragel on some pretty obvious holding on the double-juke TD run by Braxton.  That was a pretty bad non-call in our favor for sure.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Bucksfan's picture

It's not Fragel's fault that the ref got distracted by something he has never seen before.  lulz.

BeijingBucks's picture

the refs were too in awe of Brax slipping tackles like a boss to even think about calling holding

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

zosima's picture

I agree Mauiti didn't like the hold. However, the holding was not being called either way. If it was, Matty McPick6 might have connected to a few more Silver Bullets tonight.

VHX7's picture

Exactly. There was so much holding on Penn State's long touchdown drive it was unbelieveable. So really, both teams were gifted touchdowns because of no-calls on obvious holding. It's all even.

joel121270's picture

Yep, they kept mentioning it on TV that the refs were letting them play so it's not like one side or another was getting bad calls on them.

Alice in Aggieland's picture

Compare that to the scUM-Brasky game when the refs started calling interference on uncatchable passes in the second half. Forget who the commentators were on ESPN2, but they were pissed that the officials were controlling the game tempo so much, especially on questionable calls.

danavh4's picture

And that's how football should be played!  Im tired of watching refs contr the game!  Football is supposed to be a dog fight and I long for the days of a defensive back lighting up a receiver when he ccomes over the middle and making him think twice about doing it again.  This defenseless receiver crap and no hands to the helmet is just ridiculous.  I was lucky to have the opportunity to have  dinner with ray Nitschke and Deacon Jones and they talked about how the game has changed and how they made a living with the head slap!  Let them play....only call the obvious no doubters!

Michigan Fan: "We lose a long snapper and the whole team goes to shit!"

William's picture

Because it's just a brilliant idea to let 250 pound man-childs headbutt someone at full speed, in the head. Why don't we just arm them with knives and let them shank a wide receiver when he runs across the middle of the field? 

danavh4's picture

Really?  Did you ever play football?  Down vote for you for your sarchasm.  I am not condoning head first hits re-read my post.  I played varsity as a freshman in high school and got crushed by seniors as I ran routes across the middle.  My dad taught me to stand up and look them in the eyes and say "is that all you got"?  Same thing happened when I played fb in college!  Knife?  Shank?  Wth are you even talking about?  Talk about football and stop posting ridiculous garbage.  I would take away 20 helmet stickers from you if I could.  Let them play...within the rules but stop calling every little thing and changing the outcome of the game was my first point.  And secondly did you hear what spielmen said when shazier was called for roughing the passer.  He said "now a days when in doubt it's best to just pull up".  Are you kidding....?  I can't be the only one who feels this way.

Michigan Fan: "We lose a long snapper and the whole team goes to shit!"

ih8rolltyde's picture

#48 had a forced fumble as well. Think ab that guy bein only a soph....

And Brax.......

Lift your glasses high to health.

****igan smells like old water that hot dogs were boiled in.  FACT

Baroclinicity's picture

Shazier should keep #48.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

USMC11917's picture

Speaking of Braxton, I can't tell you how many times I exhaled when he slid or ran out of bounds tonight.

brylee's picture

He’s usually not one to shy away from contact, but after his first brush with a serious injury and a stern talking to from the coaches, Miller decided sliding and running out of bounds was a smart option.

He is growing up before our eyes!

gravey's picture

It would be so cool if Brax and the O would have a complete game.  Would they score 100?  They're so hot and cold.  It's almost like Urban is just toying with the opposition.

Bruce's picture

Pick Six U (This video now needs to be updated)

From the 2007 HBO special ---->

nickma71's picture

McGloin probably has short man complex. Just a hunch based on how students talked about him at PSU.

Buckeyelight's picture

in other news...did anyone see the michigan nebraBAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
if denard robinson is out for the rest of the games...what a field day ohio state will have.

I believe in one thing only, the power of human will. Go bucks.
Woody hayes

SPreston2001's picture

I doubt he's out for more than a game if that. The injury didnt look too serious...

cplunk's picture

It's a nerve injury. You have no idea with those. They always seem like minor tingling and cause some strength issues and then either go away or suddenly you need surgery and are in for months of rehab. 
I hope he's okay. I don't want TSUN having any excuses when we beat them.

Ann Arbor Buckeye's picture

So 2 of the next 3 teams we face (Wisky and Tsun) have injured quarterbacks.  Denard might be back but Wisky's QB is out for the year.  Should make our 12-0 season even more obtainable, although I would rather we beat them at full strenght.

Yes there are two Buckeyes in Ann arbor on this site!

VHX7's picture

Wisconsin at full strength ain't anything too impressive anyway. Just a one-dimensional team with the added play-action pass every so often. Kinda the opposite of Penn State.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

if the d stays strong like it has the past 2 weeks noone in the big ten will beat us

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

SPreston2001's picture

Happy to be 9-0!!! And its crazy to think this team can only get better next year! Glad to be a BUCKEYE!!

cinserious's picture

I feel Braxton has gone a little too far now. Joking opposing defenses is cool, making a fool out of the announcers is fine, doing it to the camera crew is downright funny, but when you make a fool out of us fans and even Urban Meyer, it's getting downright scary! I don't know if people are quite  ready for that kind of magic just yet.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

JakeBuckeye's picture

The atmosphere on campus and in Beaver Stadium on Saturday offered a return to normalcy.

Where's DJ?

MediBuck's picture

Zach Boren played really well downhill today too. Overall, very satisfied with our defensive performance :)

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

flipbuckeye's picture

It may look awkward, but Braxton sliding or running out of bounds is paying off. It seems like the first game all season that he didn't have to take a play or drive off to shake off a big hit.

brylee's picture

he is growing up!!!

BME_Buckeye's picture

Hate to say I told you so but I knew we would get one. Upvote for Bruce, nice video. 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

And I will gladly admit I was wrong!  I thought our defense was going to get shredded.  but, that is now two weeks in a row where they have played well.  Maybe we are turning a corner on defense.
I had us losing this by double digits - just a feeling I had - and I couldn't be happier to be wrong.
WOW, what a great win.

Nutbuck1959's picture

Great 2nd half...I thought the defense had a little let up on that last PSU td, but satisfying win none the less.

mshaf's picture

ATX Bucknut, I have been thinking the same thing for weeks now.Ohio State does seem to play up or down to the competition. Either way, I was glad to see the team play a good game on both sides of the ball. The defense was a sight for sore eyes yesterday,they played very good.

Poison nuts's picture


"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

osubuckeye4life's picture

You better believe it! 

danavh4's picture

It seems like whomever we play has to heat up before we get Rollin!

Michigan Fan: "We lose a long snapper and the whole team goes to shit!"

danavh4's picture

How do you think this game will affect recruiting?  If I was a penn state recruit.....I would seriously think twice after watching that!  I would think any top ATH or WR would want to team up with Brax.  Thoughts?

Michigan Fan: "We lose a long snapper and the whole team goes to shit!"

osubuckeye4life's picture

Were there any potential recruiting targets of tOSU at that game?

danavh4's picture

Not sure if there were any there for OSU specifically but some were there that had Penn St. on their list and I have to imagine we caught the attention of some top recruits around the country going into a hostile environment and coming home with a solid victory.  If I was a top recruit I would see that this team is going to be much better then next couple years and there will be chances for the right players to come in and play and make an impact right away because of the talent already here!

Michigan Fan: "We lose a long snapper and the whole team goes to shit!"