STATE COLLEGE – A big question going into Penn State's match-up with Ohio State was how affective would Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller be after he suffered what seemed to be a serious head/neck injury the week before against Purdue.
Well, Miller answered that question and he did so with authority. The super sophomore racked up 134 yards on the ground and made big plays through the air when he had to, leading the Buckeyes to a 35-23 victory over the Nittany Lions on Saturday night.
Penn State could not find an answer to the Buckeyes rushing attack with Ohio State tallying a total of 234 yards running the football.
The Nittany Lions were holding teams to under 120 yards per game before their contest with the Buckeyes. It was the same rushing scheme that gave them fits against the Ohio Bobcats in the second half of that game. The Buckeyes ran an option read scheme and Miller was able manipulate the PSU "D" and broke off some big runs that put the Buckeyes in good scoring position on multiple occasions.
"I think he's (Braxton Miller) an excellent player," said Penn State coach Bill O'Brien. "He's one of the top five players in the country. We stopped him at times and at other times we didn't. We have to go back and watch the tape and see again what we can do better to stop a player like that."
Penn State got off to a fantastic start blocking an Ohio State punt inside the OSU 15-yard line. Nittany Lions' linebacker Mike Hull blocked the punt and Michael Yanchich recovered the ball in the endzone for a touchdown, giving Penn State a 7-0 lead at the 6:15 mark in the second quarter.
Ohio State then struck back, but after a very suspect call after the Nittany Lions forced the Buckeyes to punt. The Buckeyes were punting from their own 27 when Penn State was called for a defensive holding penalty on the punt. The 10-yard penalty gave the Buckeyes a first down and Braxton Miller led the OSU offense on a nine play 63-yard drive for a touchdown.
The touchdown was set up by a 33-yard run by Miller, who took the ball down to the PSU six. Carlos Hyde punched in for the Buckeyes three plays later to knot things up at seven a piece right before the end of the first half.
The turning point in the game came on the Nittany Lions' first possession of the second half. With Penn State facing a third down at their own 17, Matt McGloin just simply made a mistake and threw the ball directly into the hands of the Buckeyes' Ryan Shazier, who returned the interception for a touchdown, putting the Buckeyes up 14-7.
Penn State actually responded well to the 14-7 deficit marching down the field on their very next possession and getting to the OSU four yard line after a 42-yard hook up between McGloin and Brandon Moseby-Felder, but a holding call pushed the Nittany Lions back and they had to settle for a field goal.
Then the PSU defense came up with a big play when Adrian Amos picked off a Braxton Miller pass at the Ohio State 44 yard line.
However, Penn State couldn't take advantage of the turnover and surrendered the ball to the Buckeyes on the OSU 43 after a failed fake punt attempt.
The dominoes then fell for PSU as they couldn't stop Miller and the Buckeyes' rushing attack. Ohio State would extend their lead to 28-10 after back-to-back Miller touchdown runs.
I just think that Ohio State beat us today," said O'Brien. "We are going to go watch the tape and figure out what they did, what we didn't do and what we can do to help our players play better in the next game against Purdue."