Ohio State hit the road to play Penn State in a whiteout. It didn’t go well for them. The Buckeyes blew a 21-7 lead in the fourth quarter, as Penn State scored 17 unanswered points. The decisive play was this blocked field goal Penn State returned for a touchdown.
This is an enormous win for Penn State. It’s the first significant win of the James Franklin era. It’s probably the biggest Nittany Lions win since beating Ohio State at home in 2005. This went a lot better than Penn State’s first big game of 2016, a 49-10 loss to Michigan.
Douse whatever fire was lit under James Franklin’s seat. This win will buy him some time.
Ohio State is down, they’re not out. The Buckeyes shouldn’t feel too down about their performance. It was a tough ask to play a second road game, after a tough trip to Wisconsin. It wasn’t a stellar day from the offense. But, most times a team holds the opposing quarterback to a 35 percent completion rate, stops 11/13 third downs, and does not turn the ball over on offense it’s a victory. Special teams can be a killer.
This loss will drop Ohio State in the rankings. But, rankings right now don’t mean anything. The important thing is the Buckeyes’ playoff route, which remains almost unchanged. Ohio State needs to win the next four games, beat Michigan Nov. 26, and win the B1G title game. If they do that, they are almost undoubtedly in the playoff at 12-1, unless you think Baylor or West Virginia will run the table in the Big 12.
As we saw with Michigan State in 2015, it’s better to lose the random close game to an unranked opponent than sacrifice the opportunity for a marquee win.
A streak is over. The loss will sting. Buckeyes fans will have to endure some crowing from the Maize and Blue contingent up north. But, recent history suggests Ohio State will still be quite relevant come the end of the season.