The flawed thinking that led to James Franklin's ill-fated play-call

Dwayne Haskins

Dating back to previous year, Penn State has covered the spread in five of its last six.

Despite giving up a 12-point lead in the final eight minutes, the Lions still had a chance to pull out the win.

The play was created to get Sanders, who rushed for 43 yards on 18 carries, through a hole up the middle vacated by Ohio State's linebackers.

An nearly complete absence of offense was the defining characteristic of the first half for Ohio State until a Penn State turnover set up OSU's only score in the first 30 minutes. "That's the issue", the Penn State coach said Saturday night after the latest gut-punch loss for his Nittany Lions, a 27-26 loss to Ohio State.

Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said his team took note of that remark. We won the game.

"But thanks to guys like me, Chase (Young), Nick and Coop (Jonathon Cooper) helping them out, they're adjusting quickly".

Franklin responded: "I appreciate your input".

McSorley looked like a magician in willing Penn State to a 26-14 lead with 8 minutes left.

Trailing 14-13 early in the fourth quarter, McSorley converted a third-and-13 by hitting KJ Hamler for 36 yards.

The Buckeyes were favored by three points on the road, but most expected a competitive, evenly matched game.

On Ohio State's ensuing possession, linebacker Koa Farmer made a huge stop on fourth-and-1 at the PSU 48, stuffing quarterback Dwayne Haskins at the line of scrimmage for no gain.

After a slow start, Haskins completed 22 of 39 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns.

The Lions (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) appeared to have things in hand, having played tremendous defense all night to shut down Ohio State. "It's just rallying as a team, as a unit and realize that we have to get the job done". Ohio State outgained Penn State by almost 100 yards to close things out.

Ohio State's J.K. Dobbins (2) is lifted up by teammate Thayer Munford (75) after scoring against Penn State during the second half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday. Still, Blake Gillikin booted a terrific punt that pinned the Buckeyes at their own 4 with 4:35 to go. Urban Meyer, however, did in the second half as he ran the ball with J.K. Dobbins more and had Haskins throw quick screens out to his wide receivers. "The work that it's going to take to get to an elite program is going to be just as hard as the ground and the distance that we've already traveled".

Ohio State survived one of the most hostile environments in the country and while the performance wasn't flawless, it was a ideal example of how a championship team responds to adversity. Haskins hit K.J. Hill with a quick pass to the outside and the receiver picked up a couple of blocks, broke a tackle and went in for a 24-yard score that made it 27-26 with 2:03 left.

After yet another episode of what-the-hell-just-happened-out-there, Ohio State and Penn State and the 110,889 screamers who watched them in Beaver Stadium on Saturday night departed the premises in various stages of wooziness. Yes, but there is a lot of football still to come and plenty to evaluate as Penn State keeps plugging away in the Big Ten. After a good gain by Sanders on third and long set up a 4th and 1 at Ohio State's 24-yard line, Penn State tried to go fast without substituting so it could run a play.

McSorley was sacked on the next play, though, then on second-and-14, the playcall was for a deep throw to the right that was incomplete. After an incompletion, McSorley ran for 9 yards, making it fourth-and-5.

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