COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 2 Ohio State (8-0, 5-0) scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to defeat No. 13 Penn State (6-2, 3-2) 44-31 Saturday at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.
The Nittany Lions led 21-16 with 9:26 to play before Ohio State scored four touchdowns down the stretch to remain undefeated.
C.J. Stroud completed 26-of-33 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Harrison Jr. was his preferred target with 10 catches for 185 yards. Cade Stover caught six passes for 78 yards and a score.
TreVeyon Henderson led the Ohio State ground game with 78 yards on 16 attempts and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Tommy Eichenberg recorded 15 tackles with 10 solos.
J.T. Tuimoloau was instrumental in the win as well with six tackles, three solos, two sacks, three tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
Ohio State remains on the road to take on Northwestern next Saturday in Evanston, Illinois. Kickoff is set for noon with ABC on the broadcast.
Ohio State started with the ball after Penn State won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
On their third play from scrimmage, Stroud found Harrison Jr., down the right side for a 37-yard gain to the PSU 38. The drive continued to the PSU 20 where kicker Noah Ruggles converted a field goal attempt from 38-yards out for a 3-0 lead for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State got the ball right back after Zach Harrison intercepted Penn State’s Sean Clifford at the PSU 37 and returned it 2 yards to the PSU 39.
The Buckeyes were not able to take advantage, losing 4 yards before Ruggles missed a 53-yard field goal attempt with 5:44 left in the quarter.
The Nittany Lions started again from their 35 and, again, turned it over to the Buckeyes on another interception, this time by Tuimoloau at the PSU 43.
Stroud took the first snap of Ohio State’s next possession from the PSU 41 and quickly hit Harrison Jr. for an 18-yard gain to the PSU 23. Harrison Jr. then caught another Stroud offering, this time across the middle for 19 yards to the PSU 4.
Miyan Williams then bulled his way up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown rush to put the Buckeyes up 10-3 with 2:48 left.
Penn State drove to the PSU 41 on its next effort but was forced to punt, Ohio State took over at the OSU 20 after a touchback after a 59-yard Nittany Lion punt.
The Buckeyes drove to the OSU 29 before the end of the quarter.
Penn State forced an Ohio State punt two plays into the second quarter.
The Nittany Lions took over after a 51-yard Jesse Mirco punt and a 7-yard return to the PSU 27.
Penn State, from its 42, closed the gap to 10-7 Buckeyes on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Clifford to Mitchell Tinsley down the left side with 11:13 on the clock. The drive covered 73 yards on six plays.
Ohio State punted on its next possession, a Mirco 52-yarded to the PSU 24. Penn State’s Parker Washington lost 3 yards on the return to the PSU 21.
Six plays later the Nittany Lions took their first lead of the game after pass plays of 42 and then 23 yards from Clifford to KeAndre Lambert-Smith for a touchdown to put Penn State up 14-10 with 6:50 left in the half. The drive covered 79 yards, taking 1:49 off the clock.
The Buckeyes took over on the PSU 35 after the Nittany Lions kickoff went out of bounds for the penalty. A PSU pass interference penalty moved the ball to the 50 before a Julian Fleming reception to the PSU 32.
A pair of 9-yard gains, a catch by Stover and a rush by Henderson moved the ball to the PSU 14. The drive stalled after a 5-yard loss on a completion to Henderson at the PSU 19.
Ruggles came in and made it 14-13 Nittany Lions on a 37-yard field goal with just over three minutes left in the half.
Ohio State’s defense held on the next Nittany Lion possession, forcing a PSU punt from the Nittany Lion 38, a 39-yarder that was returned by Emeka Egbuka to the OSU 31.
The Buckeyes drove to the Penn State 8-yard line after Stroud threw three times for first downs of greater than 14 yards and rushed for an 11-yard gain.
The half ended after Stroud was sacked and fumbled. It was recovered by OSU’s Luke Wypler at the PSU 13 as time expired.
With the ball to start the second half, Penn State drove to the Ohio State 19 but was stopped on fourth down to give the ball to the Buckeyes on downs after Tyleik Williams tackled PSU running back Nicholas Singleton for no gain on fourth-and-two.
The Buckeyes moved to the OSU 33 before Mirco delivered a 53-yard punt to the PSU 14.
Ohio State’s defense stopped Penn State at the PSU 31 and took possession after a 36-yard Nittany Lion punt at the OSU 33.
Stroud then connected with Harrison Jr. and Mitch Rossi for 16 yards gains around a PSU offsides penalty. The Buckeyes were then stopped at the Penn State 22 before Ruggles put Ohio State back in the lead (16-14) on a 40-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the quarter.
After Ohio State kicked off, Penn State gained 3 yards on a rush up the middle to end the quarter.
The Nittany Lions regained the lead 20-16 after a 13-play, 75-yard drive resulted in a touchdown with 10:18 left.
The Buckeyes initially stopped the Nittany Lions on the OSU 13. Penn State was called for a false start while lined up for a field goal, moving the ball to the OSU 18. The Buckeyes were then called for an illegal defensive formation, moving the ball back to the 13.
The Nittany Lions then recorded a first down on a 4-yard completion and four plays later scored on a 1-yard rush to take the lead.
Stroud and the Buckeyes quickly regained the lead on a pair of passes and a 41-yard Henderson jaunt to make it 23-21 Ohio State with 8:51 left.
The drive covered 75 yards on three plays. The receptions were by Harrison Jr. for 21 yards and Egbuka for 13 before Henderson’s scoring rush.
Ohio State got the ball back after Tuimoloau forced a Clifford fumble that Tuimoloau recovered at the PSU 24.
Stroud and Stover, who broke several tackles, then hooked up over the middle on the next play for a 24-yard touchdown, the second score for the Buckeyes in 34 seconds of game action. The touchdown made it 30-21 Buckeyes with 8:17 on the clock.
Penn State got to within one score at 30-24 Buckeyes after a 44-yard field goal on a seven-play 48-yard drive.
With 5:49 left and the ball on the OSU 25 after the touchback, Stroud opened Ohio State’s next drive with a 16-yard completion to Harrison Jr. to the OSU 41.
Penn State called timeout after stopping the Buckeyes for no gain on the next two plays. But Stroud then found Harrison Jr. for a 12-yard gain and the first down with just over five minutes to go.
After a loss of 2 on the next play, Stroud connected with Egbuka for 42 yards to the PSU 7. Ohio State was then called for a delay of game penalty before Henderson put Ohio State up 37-24 with a 7-yard scoring rush over the left edge.
On Penn State’s next play from scrimmage from its 19, Tuimoloau intercepted Clifford at the PSU 14 and returned it for a touchdown, giving the Buckeyes a 44-24 lead with less than three minutes to play.
Penn State added a late touchdown to make it 44-31 before the Buckeyes ran out the clock for the win.