Final Stats PDF
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State used fourth-quarter interceptions by Malcolm Jenkins and Antonio Smith in the final 2 1/2 minutes to put two exclamation points on what had been a close game as the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes extended their win streak to 11 straight with a 28-6 victory over No. 24 Penn State Saturday in front of 105,266 fans at Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes also got offensive touchdowns from Antonio Pittman and Brian Robiskie.
Leading only 14-6 and Penn State trying to cross into Ohio State territory, Jenkins came up with his pick at the OSU 39-yard line and returned it 61 yards down the left sideline for the end zone for a 21-6 lead. Then, just five plays later, Smith snagged PSU quarterback Anthony Morelli at the OSU 45 and raced 55 yards for the final touchdown.
The two interceptions returned for touchdowns by the Buckeyes marked the first time Ohio State returned two interceptions for scores since a 51-17 victory over Kent State in 2002.
The Ohio State defense sacked Morelli three times and intercepted him three times as well. James Laurinaitis picked him off in the first quarter giving him an interception in each of his last three games.
The teams had to overcome a sloppy first half on a rainy day in Columbus.
As the first-half clock expired, PSU kicker Kevin Kelly got a second chance to kick a field goal after Ohio State was flagged for roughing the kicker on his first attempt from 23 yards which sailed wide left. His second attempt gave the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead. That kick score capped an 11-play, 67-yard drive that ate up nearly 6 minutes off the clock.
In the first quarter alone, the teams combined for just 63 yards of offense, 32 by Ohio State. OSU quarterback Troy Smith threw his first interception since the Northwestern game last year and each team had only one first down.
At the half, Ohio State had covered 99 yards on offense, while Penn State had 84 yards. The Buckeyes longest drive of the first half covered 55 yards, but consumed 7:03. It ended on the PSU 38-yard line before A.J. Trapasso’s punt was downed at the PSU 1. Each team had one possession before Penn State’s go-ahead score as the clock expired.
It marked the first game since the 2002 Outback Bowl the Buckeyes had been shutout in the first half of a game. Just last year, the Nittany Lions kept Ohio State off the scoreboard in the second half, which is the last time the Buckeyes failed to score in a half.
Ohio State took the ball at their own 22-yard line after the opening kickoff of the second half. On second down, Smith threw his second interception of the game. The turnover was of little consequence when a 42-yard field goal attempt by Kelly sailed wide left.
Ohio State took over at its 25-yard line and marched 75 yards in nine plays and 3:30 to take a 7-3 lead. Pittman carried the ball over right tackle the final 12 yards of the drive for the touchdown. On the drive, Pittman, who has scored at least one touchdown in the last nine games, had three rushes for 32 yards and a 17-yard reception.
Smith hit Robiskie for a 37-yard touchdown completion to give Ohio State took a 14-3 lead with 12:56 to play in the game. Smith scrambled while Robiskie was able to break away from double coverage to score his first touchdown as a Buckeye. The drive covered 62 yards in seven plays in 3:32.
On the ensuing Penn State drive, Tony Hunt ran right up the middle for a 34-yard gain to set up 1st-and-goal at the OSU 5-yard line. The Buckeye defense tightened at the goal line and on 4th-and-goal at the 1, Penn State was flagged for a false start in front of a loud south end of the stadium. The Nittany Lions were forced to settle for a 23-yard Kelly field goal to make the score 14-6 with 7:33 to play.
Pittman finished the game with 20 carries for 110 yards to lead the Buckeyes, who had 253 yards of total offense. Penn State had 248 yards of offense, including 142 yards on the ground, 135 of which were by Hunt, who had 24 carries. Robiskie led Ohio State with three receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown. T. Smith completed 12 of 22 passes for 115 yards to go with the TD hookup with Robiskie. He threw two interceptions and was not sacked.