This was the most-hyped game of Ohio State's schedule to date. Bad blood and bad jokes could be found in equal measure on Twitter all week. It's fair to say that just about every Buckeye fan hoped to see Ohio State run away with this one and silence (however briefly) the unkillable Hydra that is #PennStateInternet.
The Buckeyes did not do that on Saturday. The final score was 31-24, a tally that seemed about right based on how this one went. Ohio State did a solid job working against Penn State's much-maligned offensive line, but suffered most of the evening at the hands of Penn State's top-10 F/+ defense. It came down to the wire and gave fans across Buckeye nation collective heart failure, which also seems about par for the course. Weren't we due for a game like this? It's not cosmically allowed for us to get too comfortable.
Let's take a look at the players whose stocks are up and down after this one.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Joey Bosa, DE: Bosa was one of the few things to feel good about after that ugly mess of a game. Bosa was disruptive in the backfield all night, including a massive sack that initially took Penn State out of field goal range with under a minute to play in the 4th quarter. Bosa is a superfreak, and we have at least one more season of him. So we have that going for us, which is nice. How about that game-ending sack, by the way?
Ezekiel Elliott, RB: Against the best rush defense in the country, Elliott was able to muster over 100 yards on the ground. There were few flashy moments, and the Buckeye rushing attack looked decidedly more "meh" than usual, but Elliott came to play and was able to move the chains when the line gave him a chance to do so.
Darron Lee, LB: Lee had a great first half. Flew all over the field, made plays to keep Christian Hackenberg nervous, recorded a sack. Not a lot to say about Lee that I haven't fanboyed about already, but he keeps meeting expectations week after week, and that's pretty great.
J.T. Barrett, QB: With the world-destroying numbers that Barrett's been putting up, he was bound to have an off night. His uninspiring numbers were trumped by the ice water in his veins. Despite a rough second half and a minor leg injury, Barrett was as cool as the other side of the pillow in overtime, leading to two Buckeye scores and the eventual victory.
The offensive line: Was really hoping we wouldn't see this unit in this category again this season, you guys. Penn State (and their crowd, if you buy into that sort of thing) were all over the Buckeye linemen on Saturday. J.T. Barrett struggled to stay upright all evening, and it wasn't hard to see why. I realize that the O-line is a thankless job, where you're never praised when the game goes right and principally blamed when the team struggles, but man. This was not a great game for that unit, which we haven't been able to say since the Virginia Tech game. The O-line came back to play in overtime, thankfully, but you hate to see it get that far.
SELL: Ohio State's 3rd down efforts. The Buckeyes just could not get it done on 3rd downs on Saturday, going a pedestrian 7-18 and giving Cam Johnston his biggest workload of the year. Penn State has an exceptional defense, but that's just inexcusable for a unit that is built around its ability to keep teams on their heels. The offensive line had their worst night since the Virginia Tech debacle. The Buckeyes allowed the Nittany Lions to pressure J.T. Barrett all evening to a degree which we haven't seen since early September.
SELL: Pac-12 refs sneaking into the B1G. There were some decidedly questionable calls in both directions on Saturday. The Buckeyes benefited first, getting credit for an interception on a play where the ball pretty clearly hit the ground. The bad calls were back and forth after that. The refs were most noticeable (never a compliment) during the last Penn State drive in regulation, during which both teams were charged timeouts that they didn't call. Curtis Grant also received a debatable roughing-the-passer penalty that moved the Nittany Lions into field goal range with under a minute to play in the 4th quarter.
BUY: I don't know, man. You're all adults, you can buy whatever you want with your money. Not an adult? I'm not your dad. You can still buy whatever you'd like. Go nuts.