Ohio State hoping to find their happy place in Happy Valley against Penn State

Patrick Smith

Like any good rivalry, there is back and forth between the two teams. Throughout Penn State's history as a Big Ten team, the games versus Ohio State have been no exception. While Ohio State has had its share of wins in the rivalry, some of the losses at Penn State are painful to remember.

Without question, the lowest of the losses took place during the 1994 season. Well, maybe it was the most embarrassing of the losses in this rivalry. Penn State destroyed Ohio State 63-14. I can only guess Luke Fickell and Mike Vrabel, both of whom played on that team on the defensive line and are now assistant coaches for Ohio State, still wake up in cold sweats of terror from that abomination. Can someone explain to me how that 1994 Penn State did not get even a share of the national title that season? Kerry Collins at quarterback. Ki-Jana Carter at running back. Kyle Brady at tight end. Bobby Engram at wide receiver.

Another painful loss took place in 1997, as Penn State defeated Ohio State 31-27. Ohio State's Joe Germaine threw for nearly 400 yards that game, but it was not enough to pull out the win. Making it even worse, Penn State's Curtis Enis, a native Ohioan, ran for over 200 yards against the Buckeyes. Ohio State never truly recruited Curtis Enis. Well, it might be more accurate to say that Ohio State botched the recruiting of Curtis Enis so badly that Curtis Enis never truly considered becoming a Buckeye. It always hurts when you see players from the state of Ohio perform well against Ohio State.

In 2001, Ohio State blew a 27-9 lead to lose to Penn State 29-27. I was watching that game at home with some friends. My friend Greg was so disgusted as Penn State was rallying during the 4th quarter against the Buckeyes that he walked out of my home before the game was over. The 2001 game was the victory that allowed Coach Joe Paterno to surpass Coach Bear Bryant's win total. While I was happy for Coach Paterno and Penn State, did the win truly have to come against Ohio State?

For me, the 2005 loss at Penn State was especially unfortunate to remember. Losing 17-10 at night, while watching it from home on ESPN.

From my perspective, the 2005 Ohio State team was the most talented Buckeyes team under Coach Jim Tressel that did not win the national championship. Think back to who was on that team for just a moment.

At quarterback, Troy Smith had emerged as the starter over Justin Zwick. Antonio Pittman was developing at the tailback position. Ted Ginn, Jr., Anthony Gonzalez, and Santonio Holmes at wide receiver. The offensive line was led by Nick Mangold and Rob Sims.

On the defensive line, the Buckeyes started Quinn Pitcock and Mike Kudla. Think back to those starting linebackers - A.J. Hawk. Bobby Carpenter. Anthony Schlegel. The secondary had Donte Whitner, Ashton Youboty, and Nate Salley.

From this 2005 team, there would be nine draft choices in the 2006 NFL Draft. Five of them - A.J. Hawk, Donte Whitner, Bobby Carpenter, Santonio Holmes, and Nick Mangold - would be first round draft choices.

Now, Ohio State fans will quickly point out to me that Ohio State had lost to Texas earlier in the season, and that is another memory I try to forget as well. I simply recall how Ohio State was still in the discussion for the national championship heading into the game at Penn State.

And then this play happened late in the game. Any hope for a national championship were officially over for the 2005 Ohio State Buckeyes.

Now that this little trip back into Penn State-induced trauma has concluded, I will begin to medicate myself for this upcoming weekend's contest. As you can surmise, I am hopeful for an outcome much more positive for the Buckeyes in Happy Valley than what I have written about up above.

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