As the only game between ranked opponents in week 13 of the college football regular season, the battle between No. 2 and No. 8 would have stood out no matter who was playing. The fact that it featured Ohio State and Penn State, two teams with conference and FSB championship aspirations made it must-see football and it did not disappoint.
Having played a relatively light schedule through the season, the No. 2 Buckeyes were finally given the opportunity to quiet their critics. Featuring the top-ranked scoring offense, averaging 49.4 points per game, and the top-ranked scoring defense, holding opponents to 10.4 points per game, Ohio State would finally get the chance to test themselves against a top-10 team.
On the other side of the field, the Nittany Lions showcased a balanced offense that put up an average of 36.8 points on 410 yards and an aggressive defense that allowed a meager average of 13.5 points over the course of the season.
From their opening drive of 91 yards on 13 plays, Ohio State dominated the game on both sides of the line of scrimmage racking up 417 yards of total offense while limiting Penn State to a combined 227 yards passing and rushing.
Ohio State once again demonstrated that they are the most complete team in college football as Justin Fields threw for two touchdowns, completing 16 of 22 attempts for 188 yards, while J.K. Dobbins carried the ball a whopping 36 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
Despite the overwhelming nature of the Ohio State attack, the Nittany Lions kept the game close by forcing four Buckeye fumbles, three in the second half. Unfortunately, an ill-timed interception and a run-stuffing defense prevented Penn State from capitalizing on the mistakes and the game ended in a 28-17 win for the No. 2 team.
The loss will push Penn State out of the top-10 and remove them from the playoff picture completely. For Ohio State, the win locked them into the Big 10 title game against either Minnesota or Wisconsin and bolstered their argument for the top slot in this week’s college football playoff rankings.
LSU took care of business in a big way and Clemson sat out the weekend on their second bye so there should be no change in the top-3 but Georgia, once again, had to fight off a late comeback attempt to hold onto the win, leaving the fourth and final spot up for grabs as the teams move onto rivalry week to wrap up the regular season.
Scoreboard: (Teams on Bye: No. 3 Clemson, No. 11 Florida)