Ohio State Scores Four Touchdowns in Fourth Quarter to Survive Scare in Happy Valley, Defeat Penn State 44-31

By Dan Hope on October 29, 2022 at 3:44 pm

It wasn’t easy, but Ohio State earned its sixth straight win over Penn State on Saturday.

The Buckeyes trailed Penn State 21-16 with only 9:26 to play, but then proceeded to score four touchdowns in the fourth quarter to defeat the Nittany Lions, 44-31.

J.T. Tuimoloau was the star of the day for the Buckeyes, forcing four turnovers – intercepting two passes himself, forcing and recovering a fumble and also tipping another pass for an interception – to lead the Buckeyes to victory.

  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4  
#2 Ohio State 10 3 3 28 44
#13 PENN STATE 0 14 0 17 31

The game started off with a big play for the Buckeyes when C.J. Stroud connected with Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 37-yard gain on Ohio State’s third play of the game, but the Buckeyes settled for a 38-yard field goal by Noah Ruggles on their opening drive after a pair of runs for no gain and a delay of game penalty.

The Buckeyes quickly got the ball back in Penn State territory when Tuimoloau tipped Sean Clifford’s pass on 3rd-and-9 and Zach Harrison intercepted it. But they came away without points as a 53-yard field goal attempt by Ruggles came up short.

Tuimoloau made an interception of his own on Penn State’s second possession, picking off a screen pass that was intended for Nittany Lions running back Kaytron Allen. This time, the Buckeyes took advantage, as Miyan Williams ran for a 4-yard touchdown on his first carry of the day after a pair of 19- and 18-yard catches by Harrison.

Penn State scored its first points of the game on its fourth possession of the day when JK Johnson and Tanner McCalister both missed a tackle following a catch by Parker Washington, allowing the Nittany Lions receiver to go all the way to the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown.

The Nittany Lions took a 14-10 lead on their next drive when Clifford completed a 42-yard pass to Theo Johnson and followed it up with a 23-yard touchdown pass to KeAndre Lambert-Smith. Ohio State drove back into the red zone on its subsequent possession but was forced to settle for another Ruggles field goal, which he made from 37 yards to cut Penn State’s lead to one point with 3:14 to play before halftime.

Ohio State got another possession with 1:07 left to play before halftime after back-to-back pass breakups by Ronnie Hickman forced a Penn State punt, and drove inside Penn State’s 10-yard line on back-to-back completions of 14 and 21 yards from Stroud to Harrison. But the Buckeyes still went into halftime trailing. Instead of kicking a go-ahead field goal with six seconds left before the break, Ohio State opted to go for it from the 8-yard line and Stroud got sacked to end the first half.

Penn State threatened to take a two-score lead on the opening drive of the second half when a 27-yard pass from Clifford to Washington got the Nittany Lions into Ohio State territory, but a pair of big plays by Tyleik Williams – a second-down sack and a fourth-down stop after the Nittany Lions opted to go for it on 4th-and-2 from the 19-yard line – forced a turnover on downs.

After punting on its opening drive of the second half, the Buckeyes retook the lead with 10 seconds to play in the third quarter when Ruggles made his third field goal of the game from 40 yards out.

Penn State moved back in front 21-16 with 9:26 to play when Kaytron Allen scored a 1-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-goal run from just behind the goal line. The Nittany Lions initially opted to settle for a field goal – which Jake Pinegar missed – on their previous set of downs, but an illegal formation penalty against Ohio State gave Penn State another chance. Instead of kicking another field goal, Penn State went for it on 4th-and-1 and Clifford completed a 4-yard pass to Tyler Warren to set up the goal-to-go series.

3.8 AVERAGE per RUSH 3.4
21 1st DOWNS 24
4-5 RED ZONE 2-3
4-12 third down conv 6-16
8-50 PENALTIES 6-50
29:34 POSSESSION 30:26

Ohio State grabbed the lead back just 35 seconds later when TreVeyon Henderson – who had been bottled up for only 23 yards on 11 carries to that point – ran for a 41-yard touchdown. The Buckeyes initially planned to go for two after the touchdown to attempt to take a three-point lead, but settled for an extra point after a false start moved the Buckeyes back to the 7-yard line.

The Buckeyes extended their lead to two scores just 34 seconds after that. Tuimoloau forced his third turnover and grabbed his second takeaway of the day when he knocked the ball out of Clifford’s hands on a strip sack and recovered the fumble himself. Ohio State scored its third touchdown of the game on the subsequent play when Stroud and Cade Stover connected for a 24-yard touchdown.

Penn State responded to make it a one-score game on its next series as it drove to Ohio State’s 27-yard line before settling for a 44-yard Pinegar field goal that cut the Buckeyes’ lead to six points with 5:49 to play.

The Buckeyes were able to put the game away on their next possession, though, by driving 75 yards in seven plays to score their third straight touchdown after scoring only one touchdown on their first nine possessions. Henderson ran for a 7-yard touchdown one play after Stroud completed a 42-yard pass to Emeka Egbuka.

Tuimoloau iced the game on Penn State’s next play by picking off his second pass of the game and returning it 14 yards for Ohio State’s second defensive touchdown in as many weeks.

Penn State prevented Ohio State from covering the spread by scoring its fourth touchdown of the game on a 5-yard pass from Clifford to Allen with just 1:12 to play, but its subsequent onside kick went out of bounds, allowing the Buckeyes to run out the clock.

Offensively, Marvin Harrison Jr. was Ohio State’s star of the day as he caught 10 passes for 185 yards, the most ever for a Buckeye receiver in a single game against Penn State. Stroud finished the game with 354 passing yards on 26 completions and 33 attempts, while Henderson accounted for all but 20 of Ohio State’s rushing yards with 78 yards on 16 carries.

Tuimoloau finished the game with six total tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks to go along with his two interceptions, forced fumble, fumble recovery and pass breakup. Tommy Eichenberg led the Buckeyes with 15 total tackles while Ronnie Hickman led Ohio State with three pass breakups.

With the win in Happy Valley, Ohio State is now 8-0 entering the final month of the regular season. The Buckeyes will look to improve to 9-0 when their play their second consecutive game on the road next Saturday against Northwestern.

Game Notes

  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Cameron Brown were among 15 unavailable players for the game. Julian Fleming made his fourth start of the season at wide receiver and JK Johnson made his fourth start of the season at cornerback in their place.
  • C.J. Stroud, Tyler Friday, Tommy Eichenberg and Cade Stover were the captains for the pregame coin toss.
  • Zach Harrison and J.T. Tuimoloau both made the first interceptions of their Ohio State careers.
  • Miyan Williams has scored a touchdown in each of the last four games he’s played in.
  • Williams left the game with an injury late in the first quarter and did not return. Williams was in street clothes for the second half and had both a cast on his hand and ice on his knee.
  • Marvin Harrison Jr. had the first 10-catch game of his career and his fourth consecutive 100-yard game with his 185-yard outing.
  • With its 69th consecutive 20-point game, Ohio State tied the record for most consecutive 20-point games, previously set by Oklahoma from 2016-21.
  • 108,433 was the attendance at Penn State for the game.
  • Ohio State’s six-game win streak is its longest win streak ever against Penn State.
  • The Buckeyes have now scored more than 40 points in a Big Ten-record seven consecutive games.
  • This was the seventh straight game between Ohio State and Penn State to be decided by 13 points or fewer.

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