On Saturday we saw Penn State (2) taking on Ohio State (6) in Columbus. Many saw this game as a decider for a spot in the College Football playoff and while that remains to be seen, this was one for the ages.
Penn State running back and Heisman front-runner Saquan Barkley took the opening kick 99 yards to give the Nittany Lions an early 7-0 lead. After miscues on both sides for Ohio State, Penn state left the first quarter leading 14-3. The Buckeyes gave up one more score in the second quarter before the team seemed to click, putting up two scores before the half.
Down 11 heading into the second half, the Buckeyes came out hot, adding 3 points to their total within the first 5 minutes of the half. This however did not continue, and other than a touchdown for Penn State the third quarter did not contain much offensive firepower.
As many great games are, this one was made in the final quarter. The buckeyes once again came out firing, scoring quickly after a blocked punt from Denzel Ward to cut the lead down to 8. Penn State retaliated with a field goal on the very next drive. Down by two scores, quarterback J.T Barrett reminded the country why he was a Heisman candidate, throwing for 110 of his 328 passing yards in the Buckeyes final two drives. This monster fourth quarter, as well as some key stops by the defense throughout the final minutes led Ohio State to a 39-38 win at home.
After the game, reporters asked coach Urban Meyer what he thought of Barrett’s performance, to which he responded “I’ve never had a kid play perfect, but damn he was close tonight,”. Not only did Barrett lead the team to a big win, but with his first of four touchdown passes on the day he broke the record for most career touchdown passes by a Big 10 quarterback, set by Drew Brees in 2000.
Although the Buckeyes got the win, it didn’t seem to help their case for the College Football Playoff, in which they remained in the sixth spot. The committee also put Clemson (4) and Oklahoma (5), who both suffered losses to unranked teams in the past weeks, ahead of Ohio State. Although it may not look like it at the moment if the Buckeyes are able to run the table and win the Big 10 championship, it’s almost a guarantee that you will see them in this seasons tournament.