Penn State Debriefing: Haskins Wills His Team, Victor Makes the Play, and Chase Young Stands Strong

By David Wertheim on September 30, 2018 at 8:25 am
Jahsen Wint after Ohio State gains the momentum

Exhale. It's a good day when you score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter (again) to knock off a top-ten team on the road, and that's exactly what Ohio State did to somehow, some way defeat #9 Penn State in Happy Valley.

Ohio State is 5-0.

Let's debrief.

The Short Story

Penn State quickly jumped out to a 13-0 lead thanks to two field goals, and the longest pass play allowed by Ohio State in program history: a 93-yard pass from Trace McSorley to KJ Hamler.

Ohio State took their first lead of the second half on a pass from Dwayne Haskins to J.K. Dobbins. Penn State responded, however, with two scores of their own to take a 26-14 lead. After a tremendous play by Binjimen Victor, which featured weaving through traffic to paydirt, and a K.J. Hill score on a screen pass, the Buckeyes went up 27-26, a lead which they would not relinquish.

Quick Breakdowns


It seems as though two things happen every week: Dwayne Haskins has a big day, and one of his receivers has a big day. Both occurred again on Saturday as Haskins threw for 270 yards with three touchdowns and an interception (134.8 rating) and Binjimen Victor made the biggest play of the season with his 47-yard touchdown reception.

Victor finished with two catches for 55 yards and that score. Parris led the Buckeye receivers with 60 yards on seven catches. K.J. Hill had 59 yards on six grabs and a touchdown.

J.K. Dobbins scored a receiving touchdown as well, and added 17 carres for 57 yards (3.4 avg) and another score. Mike Weber had nine carries for 51 yards (5.7 avg).


The Buckeye defense kept this team in the game. With the offense failing to get anything going in the first half, Ohio State's D had a solid half for the most part, save for the 93-yard pass from McSorley to Hamler. 

Ohio State's lone touchdown of the first half came courtesy of this play, a forced fumble by Tuf Borland that was recovered by Dre'Mont Jones

In the second half, it started off well for the Buckeyes on defense, but McSorley took over late in the third quarter and into the fourth, giving the Nittany Lions a 26-14 lead. Of course, the defense made one last stand when it mattered, and Ohio State sealed a victory.

Dre'Mont Jones was in a walking boot after the game, and will get an MRI tomorrow. He said he hopes to be able to play next week against Indiana.

Who Earned a Buckeye Leaf?

Offense: Binjimen Victor

If Victor does not make the play he makes on his long touchdown, Ohio State probably does not win that game. Urban Meyer agreed:

It was a huge play for Victor, who becomes the latest wide receiver to step up. It seems like that happens once per week.

Honorable mention: Dwayne Haskins, K.J. Hill

Defense: Chase Young

Is there any other choice? Young was a monster in the second half. He finished with six tackles, two sacks, two quarterback hurries, and two tackles for loss, including, of course, the one to seal it.

Honorable Mention: Dre'Mont Jones

Biggest Surprise

I mean, is it anything else? That comeback was fun... but surprising. What a comeback it was. After the improbable win last year, it seemed almost impossible for the Buckeyes to top that. But they came close.

Penn State had a 96.1% win probability after a Miles Sanders touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. Ohio State didn't let that last for long.

Jim Tressel's Least Favorite Moment

Jim hates these night games, because it forces him to stay up way past his bedtime, but he and Ellen used the time to keep working on the 42,000 piece puzzle they started in May. They aren't quite done yet, but getting there.

While Ohio State's offense didn't get off to the best of starts, Drue Chrisman was absolutely bombing punts, which made Jim smile.

Sean Nuernberger then stepped up for a 33-yard field goal, and banged it through. However, tight end Luke Farrell was called for a facemask penalty, the third time in two weeks that Ohio State was penalized on a kick. 

Jim was distraught but recognized that Nuernberger would probably still knock it through. Unfortunately, Nuernberger missed the 48-yarder. Jim said nothing, and stepped outside for a minute to clear his head. His wife understood. Thankfully, there were no more special teams miscues in the game for Ohio State.

Underrated Things

WR Blocking

We say it often, but it cannot be understated how good Ohio State's wide receivers are at blocking. On every big play by the Buckeye offense, if you go back and watch it, you'll notice a great block by a wide receiver. This was most evident on K.J. Hill's touchdown, when Terry McLaurin absolutely drove a Penn State defender into the turf.

Drue Chrisman

What a game it was for Chrisman, who was bombing punts all day long. Chrisman finished with nine punts for 431 yards (47.9 avg!) and had three of his punts end up inside the 20-yard line. Without his expert work, who's to say where this game ends up.

It Was Over When

This was wasn't over til it was over. Chase Young stopped Miles Sanders on fourth-and-five to finally end the game. It was *almost* over when Penn State scored to go up 26-14, but it wasn't. 

Biggest Question Going Forward

Ohio State, after defeating both TCU and Penn State, is now through the hardest part of their schedule for a while, as the Buckeyes will play Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue, and Nebraska in their next four games.

The Buckeyes are not un-upsettable (see: Iowa, 2017). Ohio State must avoid a letdown in the next month, which is not the easiest of things to do.

It will be interesting to see how Meyer motivates his team the next four weeks, especially after today's emotional victory.

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