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COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 9 Ohio State reeled off 35 unanswered points in the second half to come back from an 11-point halftime deficit and secure a 38-14 win over Penn State Saturday before 105,466 fans at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State remains on pace for a sixth consecutive Big Ten championship by improving its records to 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten.
A week after the Nittany Lions scored 35 unanswered points to surge to a 35-21 victory against Northwestern, Penn State head coach Joe Paterno’s 400th career win, PSU found itself on the other side of a scoring barrage.
Defensive backs Devon Torrence and Travis Howard each returned interceptions for touchdowns and the offense scored 21 points of its own in the second half to account for the 35-point swing. Terrelle Pryor tossed a pair of touchdowns and Dan “Boom” Herron found the endzone on a 5-yard rush to begin the scoring for the Buckeyes.
Herron accounted for 203 of the Scarlet and Gray’s 453 offensive yards, including a career-high 190 yards on 21 rushes and the third-quarter touchdown. Safety Ohrian Johnson led the Silver Bullets with eight tackles while helping hold Penn State to just 18 passing yards in the second half.
Howard’s 30-yard interception return was flanked by Pryor’s two touchdowns through the air in the fourth quarter. Pryor’s 3-yard pass to Jake Stoneburner with 3:59 to play cemented the final score at 38-14. Before the Howard pick-six, Dane Sanzenbacher made a highlight-reel grab off a deflection from Posey and two PSU defenders at the 5-yard line on Pryor’s 58-yard pass, before walking into the endzone to push the lead to 24-14.
Pryor completed 8 of 13 passes for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns, along with an interception.
Herron’s 5-yard touchdown run on the Buckeyes’ first drive of the second half capped off a drive that started at the Ohio State 2-yard line to bring the score to 14-10. Just over two minutes later, Torrence stepped in front of Matt McGloin’s pass and raced 34 yards to the endzone to put the Buckeyes on top, 17-14, with 4:29 left in the third quarter.
McGloin, making just his third start, threw for 159 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 15 of 30 passes. The sophomore walk-on was 13 of 18 in the first half en route to a 14-3 Nittany Lion halftime lead.
Penn State had not thrown for a touchdown pass in eight games at Ohio Stadium as a member of the Big Ten. But McGloin put that stat to bed quickly, throwing a touchdown pass to Justin Brown (23 yards) on Penn State’s second possession of the game and adding another in the second quarter to Derek Moye from six yards. The touchdown passes erased an early 3-0 Ohio State lead.
The Nittany Lions had 212 offensive yards while Ohio State managed just 147 yards in the first half. Penn State only produced 60 yards in the second half to finish with 272.
Ohio State struck early with a 49-yard pass play down the right sideline to the Penn State 12 from Pryor to DeVier Posey. Devin Barclay kicked a 26-yard field goal when the drive stalled to give Ohio State a quick 3-0 lead.
McGloin put Penn State into the lead by engineering a 10-play, 67-yard drive that was capped by his TD pass to Brown. McGloin then drove the Nittany Lions 82 yards in 11 plays with his pass to Moye giving Penn State its halftime spread.