“You've got to figure you're dealing with youngsters. Is revenge a motivator? Hell yeah, it is. I'm not saying this will be it. There have been times we used it and we looked silly using it, and there are times it worked. I don't know yet. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday isn't about that; it's about execution of a game plan and focus.”
The last time Ohio State and Penn State met, the Buckeyes were the ones with an undefeated record, seemingly on their way to another College Football Playoff appearance. But when Urban Meyer’s team traveled to University Park, Ohio State was upset by the Nittany Lions. That win sparked James Franklin’s team en route to a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl appearance. The Buckeyes did end up making the playoff, but their undefeated record was ruined. Now, Penn State is the team doing the traveling and also enters the game with an undefeated record. Revenge is certainly on the mind for the Buckeyes.
J.T. Barrett and Co. will have their work cut out for them as they host the No. 2 team in the country. Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley headline the Nittany Lions as they look to repeat as Big Ten champions and perhaps make the College Football Playoff for the first time in school history. The Buckeyes have looked much better offensively since their game against Oklahoma, but will get a true test against Penn State on Saturday.
“[Best games of Ohio State-Penn State] 2. 2014: No. 12 Ohio State 31, Penn State 24 (2OT)”
Tim Beilik of Cleveland.com is running through and ranking the best games from the Ohio State-Penn State series, and one of my personal favorites, the 2014 iteration is the second-highest ranked game on the list. (I don’t want to give away the whole list, so definitely check it out.)
The 2014 version of the series was an instant classic that went to double overtime and saw J.T. Barrett lead the Buckeyes to a win despite an MCL injury. Joey Bosa ended up getting a sack by ramming over the running back and forcing him into his own quarterback, Christian Hackenberg. The game was a bit of a springboard for the Buckeyes en route to their national championship run.
A couple of others that made the list were the 2004 game where Ted Ginn Jr. had a punt return for a touchdown and the 2008 game which saw the Buckeyes fall to the Nittany Lions at home when Terrelle Pryor had a crucial fumble in the late stages of a defensive game.
“[Nine best performances in Ohio State-Penn State history] Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, 2013”
In a similar vein, Bielik also ranked the nine best performances from both sides in the series, and if you know anything about me, you know I had to bring up Braxton Miller’s game in 2013. Hindered by a gimpy left knee, Miller still threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns as well as rushing for 68 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The five-touchdown performance was key in the Buckeyes blowout of the Nittany Lions, who stood no match. The Buckeyes would get to a 24-game winning streak that season before falling to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game.
There’s also some mentions of defensive players such as Ryan Shazier in 2012, when he helped the Buckeyes get a win on the road with a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown, all in addition to his seven tackles and forced fumble.