COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State was looking for a lopsided win to impress the voters and boost its BCS numbers. The Buckeyes made Penn State pay the price.
Braxton Miller passed for three touchdowns and ran for two and Carlos Hyde rushed for 147 yards and two more scores to lead the fourth-ranked Buckeyes to a 63-14 victory over Penn State on Saturday night.
It was the most points surrendered by Penn State (4-3, 1-2 Big Ten) and its worst beating in 114 years.
The Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) victory stretched its nation’s best winning streak to 20 in a row, two behind the school mark which included the 1968 national championship season. That team was recognized during the opening half as the Buckeyes streaked to a 42-7 lead.
Nittany Lions freshman QB Christian Hackenberg bobbled the second snap of the night and it never got much better. He ended up throwing two interceptions.
A crowd of 105,889 at Ohio Stadium roared from the outset – and had plenty of reasons.
Penn State hadn’t given up so many points or been beaten so badly since losing 64-5 to the Duquesne Athletic Club on Nov. 25, 1899.
Miller, who completed 18 of 24 passes, threw for a career-best 252 yards before leaving in the third quarter. Even his backup – Kenny Guiton – rushed for two touchdowns.
Bill Belton was one of the few bright spots for the Nittany Lions, gaining 98 yards on 22 carries.
It was the most one-sided margin by the Buckeyes and their most points scored in the 29 meetings in the series. The teams had split the last four meetings, with Ohio State holding a cumulative 79-66 scoring advantage. All of those matchups were close.
But this one sure wasn’t. It got out of hand quickly.
The Buckeyes enforced their will on the Nittany Lions on both sides of the ball in an impressive show of strength.
Ohio State scored on six of seven possessions in the first two quarters, throwing deep for scores to wide-open receivers and jamming it between the tackles with Miller and Hyde making the most of gaping holes.
Miller completed all four of his passes for 65 yards after the opening kickoff before Hyde bulled right tackle for a 2-yard TD.
In the only real drama of the game, Penn State manufactured a nice drive in response by mixing Belton runs with Hackenberg passes until faced with a third and 5 at the Ohio State 12.
Then Hackenberg tried to thread a pass to tight end Adam Breneman at the goal line, with safety Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown picking off the underthrown attempt to end the threat.
After the teams traded punts, the Buckeyes scored on five straight possessions. Miller scrambled right and just tumbled into the end zone behind a block by Devin Smith on a 39-yard scoring run.
Two plays later, safety C.J. Barnett jumped a route and intercepted a Hackenberg pass and the onslaught was on. Seven plays and 52 yards later, Miller hesitated after taking the snap and had his pick of routes to the goal line, carrying the final 6 yards to make it 21-0.
There was no defender even close when Miller flipped a 3-yard TD pass to Chris Fields the next time Ohio State’s offense got its hands on the ball.
With Belton carrying the load, the Nittany Lions got on the board when Hackenberg avoided a collapsing pocket and short-armed a 12-yard pass to Brandon Felder over the middle.
Before Penn State’s small contingent of fans could really appreciate that score, however, the Buckeyes had another touchdown. Dontre Wilson brought back the ensuing kickoff 49 yards and two plays later Hyde went untouched off left tackle the final 39 yards to make it 35-7.
Then with 3 seconds left in the half, Miller found wide-out Corey “Philly” Brown – yes, the Buckeyes have two Corey Browns, both from Pennsylvania – on a 25-yard scoring toss in which Brown was given a huge cushion.
Hackenberg finished 12 of 23 for 112 yards passing with a touchdown and two interceptions. He carried four times for 21 yards in losses.
Guiton scored on runs of 2 and 11 yards.
The final score had to bring a chuckle to former Ohio State coach John Cooper. He took a team ranked No. 21 to Happy Valley in 1994 which was run over by the top-ranked Nittany Lions by a score of – that’s right – 63-14.