Penn State Notebook: Shazier Shines in Honoring Late Friend

By Kyle Rowland on October 28, 2012 at 1:58a

When Ryan Shazier’s childhood friend, Gary Curtis, lost his battle with muscular dystrophy over the summer, he decided to honor Curtis by wearing his jersey No. 48.

What game would be better suited than a night game at Penn State, Shazier thought. So the sophomore linebacker approached the coaches this week with the idea and they had no problem allowing Shazier to recognize his fallen friend.  

The star of the defense was Ryan Shazier. 

After his performance, Shazier may never go back to his old No. 10. He finished with seven tackles, including two sacks, and a game-changing interception returned for a touchdown in Ohio State’s 35-23 win.

“It was amazing because it almost felt like a dream,” Shazier said. “I’d dropped so many picks this year. When I caught the ball it felt amazing. It was a great momentum change.”

With the game tied at seven, Penn State received the second-half kickoff. Shazier sacked Matt McGloin on second down and then dropped back in coverage on the next play, reading McGloin’s eyes as the quarterback set to pass. Seventeen yards later, Shazier was in the end zone.

It changed the game’s momentum and rendered the 107,818 in attendance irrelevant the rest of the game.

“At that point in the game, it was unbelievable," defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “We needed momentum and you can never account for those kind of things. Those are the things that just break the back of the other team.”

Against Penn State, it has become quite common for the Buckeyes. It was the eighth time in the past 11 games against the Nittany Lions that Ohio State has returned an interception for a touchdown.

Last week’s cardiac comeback against Purdue woke up the echoes of the 2002 season. Shazier’s interception return on Saturday, 10 years after Chris Gamble did the same thing, has even more making comparisons to the memorable 2002 season.

But for Shazier, his mind was far away from undefeated seasons.

“I was thinking about (Curtis) the whole game,” he said. “I knew I had his number on and I felt like he was playing through me and he had my back.”

Caution: Debris

Penn State cruised into Saturday’s marquee matchup on a five-game winning streak. The new NASCAR offense had rejuvenated a stagnant Penn State offense and reinvented McGloin as a quarterback.

Ohio State’s defense, meanwhile, has been shown to be vulnerable at times this season. Screens and short passes in space have plagued a unit that is short on linebackers.

But the Buckeyes limited Penn State to zero points in the first quarter on Saturday. Slow starts have been a trend all season for Ohio State, and not scoring against Penn State in the opening quarter continued that. The Nittany Lions had outscored opponents 66-0 in the first quarter.

The win acted as a showcase for the defense, limiting Penn State to just 35 yards rushing. But don’t mention it to the Buckeyes – they still aren’t satisfied. Not after two late touchdowns.

Ohio State dialed up the blitzes and used man coverages to stifle Penn State.

“That's a great job by our front seven,” defensive end John Simon said. “It’s a total team effort. That’s a great accomplishment for us.”

Special Recognition

Special teams played a key role in Ohio State’s win over Penn State, both good and bad for the Buckeyes.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Nittany Lions blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for the game’s first points. It was the third block punt this season on Ben Buchanan.

Trailing in the third quarter, Penn State was gaining momentum and with it the crowd came back alive. But Ohio State hunkered down on defense and forced a punt. Only Penn State had no plans to give the ball back to the Buckeyes.

Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, special teams coordinator Zach Smith was eyeing the fake.

Sure enough, Penn State’s punter attempted to throw for the first down. Adam Griffin, one of Ohio State’s best special teamers, had the play mapped out and batted the ball down.

Crisis averted.

Meyer called it the turning point of the game.



sir rickithda3rd's picture

the d is starting to come together... and if they do its all bad for any team we play... brax carlos and rod are A LOT to handle

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

VHX7's picture

Weird that it's after our already-thin LB core gets decimated with injuries that the defense starts to come together a bit, apart from the Indiana game. It's still not vintage Silver Bullets, but we just wanted to finally see some improvement, and it seems like we finally are.

BeijingBucks's picture

For all their 'complete team' advertising... They had no rush and no playmakers...

... And perhaps their biggest crime was having a mouthy LB who believed their hype



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

O-H Kee Pa's picture

The best part about this Sunday outside of being 9-0? Knowing Mauti woke up with the taste of a loss in his mouth.

Brutus's picture

Fire Fickell.
(I refuse to italicize.)

cinserious's picture

I have alot of respect for Shazier in honoring his freind with the no. 48 tonight. Although he already leads the Bucks in tackles, I feel this may be a turning point in his sophomore campaign and he might step up his game (and the defense's) even more for the final three. Now we see Shazier as the game-changer he is for the next three games. Roby's a given at this point. I like how after all this mess this year, the defense might finally be taking steps in the right direction, better late than never. By the time we face wisky at home, the D will be clicking on all cylinders and lying in the weeds to really pounce on michigan in a way we haven't shown yet.

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

BeijingBucks's picture

My feeling on Shazier is, didn't he play only the 2nd half of the year last year?  
Wouldnt that kinda mean he just finished his first true 'year' of playing time.  He's now going to significantly improve his knowledge base to go with his physical freakish gifts and continue to impress since the middle run is now stuffed by the Bore

EDIT: and I wanna give a special LOL@ Caution:Debris -- I remember getting to the point where I would throw something every time I heard NASCAR. That acronym has no place in football. NONE. If that PSU offense was NASCAR then RDZ was Whiplash carving up the track



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

Scott K's picture

Wisky is away this year

"There's a fine line between stupid, and....clever.  David St. Hubbins/Nigel Tufnel

CCatanzaro's picture

Had to work tonight, missing the second half for the first time of the season.  Other than watching Braxton's "1 yard run" on ESPNU when I got home (you know, the one where he shifts it into first gear on the snap, then second, then back to first, then into reverse, parks for a moment, then goes into 4th, transitions instantly into 5th, and finishes literally flying into the end zone?) my favorite moment came when the analysts of ESPNU were commenting on Shazier's pick 6 as an amazing play by Joe Burger (#48 on the tOSU).  Excellent win, couldn't be happier with how these boys are clicking!

Dairy-fed intellect and pure, unhinged sass.


MediBuck's picture

What a class act, that Shazier. To turn in one of the most highlight-reel-worthy performances of a career, then attribute it to the spirit of a friend. #mancrush

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

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

After that game - Shazier should be wearing 48 the rest of his career.  He was flying around like a man possessed and it showed.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

buckeyepastor's picture

Another "throwback" to the 2002 squad last night for me was Roby, looking like Chris Gamble as he several times made up a bunch of lost ground while the ball was in the air to break up big completions.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

buckeyedude's picture

Shazier did play a great game yesterday. Number #48 sounds more like a linebacker's number anyway, than #10.



Kevdaddy8's picture

Excellent effort by the D...but I think we have to keep in mind that Penn State isn't a spread attack and we've had our best defensive efforts against pro style and pseudo pro style offences.  Looks like the game is slowing down a bit for Ryan and that's trouble for everyone we play the rest of the year.  That said, Kudos to our D.  Gotta get Noah Spence more snaps!

Urban John Simon Meyer's picture

How many breakups did Roby have? He was all over the place. I couldn't belive McGloin would continue to target his side of the field after how well Roby was playing.

osubuckeye4life's picture

So, happy that Ryan DAMN Shazier had a great game!

AngryWoody's picture

I keep liking this guy more and more.

Our Honor Defend!

footballohiost's picture

Even though we've had "the problem", let's bring JT back for the tsun game and let him dot the"I" in recognition of the championship 10 years ago.................what say ye, wench????? 

Buckeye_Mafia's picture


"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama