“Nobody was yelling at each other pointing fingers. You usually don’t win games like that. But looking up at halftime, we were beating them up front and we felt we had to stop the bleeding on our end.”
-Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin, via Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com
The Ohio State Buckeyes took all 60 minutes to prove that they were the better team against a very worthy adversary in Penn State. The Buckeyes, who boast some of the greatest talent in the nation and consistently better recruiting classes than the Nittany Lions, trailed for the duration of the game until quarterback J.T. Barrett found tight end Marcus Baugh in the end zone for the touchdown that put Ohio State up one point with 1:48 remaining in the fourth quarter.
How the Buckeyes got so far behind to start--by as much as 18--however, was as much a factor of mistakes on the part of the Buckeyes as it was great plays by Penn State. The Ohio State defense, for their part, did extraordinarily well, holding Heisman frontrunner Saquon Barkley to 44 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Trace McSorley, who had four total touchdowns against Michigan last week, had just 192 yards passing on the day. Still, two crucial pass interference penalties--including one on a potential interception in the end zone--turned the tide in favor of Penn State early.
Special teams continued to be flawed throughout the game, especially at the start as Barkley ran the opening kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown. Later in the first half, after cutting Penn State’s lead to 11, Ohio State was penalized for being offsides on the ensuing kickoff. Even later in the game, punter Drue Chrisman dropped the snap and, mercifully, managed to still get the punt away. K.J. Hill managed to hang on after his own blunder after he muffed a punt from the Nittany Lions.
However, the most egregious, and consistent, errors seemed to come from the offense. Fumbles by Parris Campbell and Barrett were both recovered by Penn State, while one by Binjimen Victor was thankfully called back due to holding on the Nittany Lions. Both Hill and Baugh dropped crucial passes from Barrett, and members of the offensive line kept committing false starts at critical times.
Despite their mistakes, the team pulled together when it counted. Barrett was laser focused in the fourth quarter, the defense proved utterly dominant and starters made their way to special teams. It doesn’t help to have so many errors setting the team back, but managing to overcome them--against one of the best teams in the country--speaks volumes about the unit and their resilience.
“It’s no secret. The Ohio State Buckeyes always bring the ratings for TV networks, but especially when they’re lined up against another big-named foe.”
-D.J. Byrnes, Eleven Warriors
Despite a heavy slate of 3:30 p.m. games Saturday, including Notre Dame’s win over NC State, Iowa State’s knocking off of TCU and Northwestern’s upset of then-No. 16 Michigan State, Ohio State’s win over Penn State proved to be the most-watched game of the entire weekend, and the second-most-watched game of the season (Alabama’s win over Florida State in week one earned a 7.3 mark). FOX Sports PR announced Sunday that the top-10 matchup drew a 6.4 overnight metered market rating, with the audience peaking at a 9.0 rating from 7 p.m.-7:15 p.m. during the Buckeyes’ epic comeback. The rating is FOX’s best ever for a regular season college football game.
Of course, the Buckeyes tend to draw a crowd, whether in-person or on TV. Last year’s matchup against Michigan--a noon game on ABC--had a 10.4 overnight rating. That viewership was the highest for a noon kickoff ever. It was also the most-watched game of the 2016 regular season. This season, the Buckeyes’ opener versus Indiana had a rating of 3.6, which made the game the most-watched Thursday opener ever. Ohio State’s matchup with Oklahoma the following week drew more than 8.2 million live viewers and a rating of 5.3.
In addition, millions of people have watched Michigan versus Florida, Michigan State and Penn State. All three matchups, the latter two of which were featured night games on ABC, rank in the top-10 most-watched games this season.
So far this season, Saturday Night Football on ABC has proven to be the dominant force in the television football landscape, and the ESPN family of networks (including ABC) have aired the majority of the most-watched games so far this season.
Ratings for NFL games, while still higher than for college games, have begun to dwindle, while growth for college games has remained steady.
Final Score— OSU W Basketball (@OhioState_WBB) October 29, 2017
OSU 110, AU 80 pic.twitter.com/RwFi9ifEWJ
After an exit in round of 16 the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament last season, the No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes women’s basketball team is set to open up regular season play Nov. 10 against No. 9 Stanford. Over the weekend, however, the Buckeyes had a strong showing in an exhibition game against the Ashland Eagles, defeating the Division II champs of 2017 110-80 at the Schottenstein Center. Senior forward Stephanie Mavunga and senior guard, and reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, Kelsey Mitchell led the Buckeyes in scoring with 28 points a piece. Mavinga also added 23 rebounds and four assists to cap her performance. Three other Buckeyes scored in double digits on the day.
The Buckeyes are considered one of the top teams in the nation headed into the season, especially with Mitchell’s decision to forego the WNBA Draft and return to Columbus for her senior season. Mitchell began making waves as a freshman when she became the first freshman ever to lead the country in scoring with 24.9 points per game. She broke the single-season scoring records for both Ohio State and the Big Ten with 873 points on the year, and broke the NCAA record for three-pointers made in a season with 127. She continued her dominant performance throughout her sophomore and junior seasons, earning first team All-Big Ten honors both years, and is expected to be one of the top players in the conference this season.
Next up, the women are scheduled to face Urbana on Sunday, Nov. 5 before tipping off regular season play.
The men’s team meanwhile, under the direction of first-year head coach Chris Holtmann, looks to be off to an auspicious start in the pre-season as well, earning a victory in a closed scrimmage against Xavier over the weekend. Xavier is widely considered a top-20 team, so even a win in a scrimmage is worthwhile considering the Buckeyes have now been left out of the NCAA Tournament for two-straight seasons.
STICK TO SPORTS
- This might be Jim Tressel’s greatest tweet of all time
- Google, meanwhile, is dropping everything to fix its cheeseburger emoji
- Here is an accurate representation of Urban Meyer’s mood at the end of the game Saturday
- Aaaaand if you need any last-minute pumpkin decorating ideas, you might enjoy this elegant design