State College, Pa. —C.J .Stroud passed for 354 yards and the Buckeyes (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) ran their winning streak to six in a row, J.T. Tuimoloau’s strip sack and pick-6 in the fourth helped the No. 2 Ohio State erase a deficit and pull away from No. 13 Penn State(6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) 44-31 on Saturday in front of a crowd of 108,433 fans for the annual Penn State Stripe Out game.
The defensive end had two sacks, a fumble caused and recovered, and a tipped pass that his teammate came down with for another takeaway.
“This is kind of his coming out party today,” said Ohio State coach Ryan Day of Tuimoloau’s performance on the field.
OSU got on the board first with a 38-yard field goal on its initial possession. On the ensuing Nittany Lions possession, the Buckeyes tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage and picked off the ball at the PSU 47-yard line, but the Nittany Lion defense held tight and the Buckeyes attempted a 53-yard field goal that went wide right.
Quarterback Sean Clifford hit a pair of Penn State career passing records against the Buckeyes, passing for his 78th career touchdown passes to break Trace McSorley’s career mark of 77. Clifford also claimed the Penn State record for career pass attempts, finishing the game with 1,239 to bypass McSorley (1,215; 2015-18) for second place and Christian Hackenberg (1,235; 2013-15) for the top spot.
Clifford threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns in the contest, finding Parker Washington for 11 catches for his career effort and a score. KeAndre Lambert-Smith and Kaytron Allen were also on the receiving end of Clifford touchdown passes.
Washington had a career-high 179 receiving yards today to become just the second Nittany Lion in program history with two 100-yard receiving games against the Buckeyes, joining Jahan Dotson.
The Nittany Lions got the offense rolling early in the second quarter on a 58-yard catch from Clifford to Washington with 11:13 left in the half to trim the Buckeye lead to 10-7. Washington broke a few tackles at the 50-yard line and outran the entire Ohio State defense to pay dirt. On their next possession, Penn State found the end zone once again with a 23-yard pass to Lambert-Smith to put the Lions up, 14-10.
OSU answered with a 37-yard field goal to close within one point at 14-13 with 3:14 left in the first half. After a Lions punt, the Buckeyes drove down to the Penn State 8-yard line with just seconds left on the clock in the opening half, but a strip-sack by Johnny Dixon ended the threat and sent Penn State up (14-13).
Both teams exchanged possessions for most the third quarter until the Buckeyes c on a 40-yard field goal with 0:10 remaining in the third quarter to retake the lead at 16-14.
Penn State converted a 4th-and-1 play inside their own 10-yard line with Kaytron Allen sprinting in the end zone to increase the Nittany Lions lead to 21-16 with 9:26 left in the fourth quarter.
OSU responded immediately. Two passes and a 41-yard touchdown run by TreVeyon Henderson put OSU up, 23-21, with 8:51 to play in the contest. On the next Penn State drive, the Buckeyes forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Penn State 24-yard line. C.J. Stroud hit Cade Stover on a 24-yard touchdown pass putting the Buckeyes up 30-21 with 8:17 to play.
“The game starts and ends with the turnovers,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “They’re explosive on the offensive side of the ball, they’re explosive on the defensive side of the ball. We played our tails off, just made too many mistakes.”
Despite a 27-yard run from Allen on first down, Ohio State’s defense held Penn State to a 44-yard field goal from Jake Pinegar to trim the score to 30-24 with 5:49 remaining.
Henderson was the difference in the game, scoring twice in Ohio State’s fourth-quarter outburst, including a 41-yard run 35 seconds after the Nittany Lions took the lead. He added a 7-yard touchdown run with 2:52 left to make it 37-24.
The ensuring possession Clifford’s first down pass was intercepted by Ohio State’s defense and returned for a touchdown. The Buckeyes’ lead increased to 44-24 with 2:42 left in the contest.
The Nittany Lions scored the game’s final touchdown as Clifford connected with Allen for a 5-yard score to make it 44-31 with 1:12 left.
Penn State’s on-side kick was unsuccessful and the Buckeyes were able to run the clock out for the victory.
“We knew we were going to have to play four quarters today,” Day said.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes are on the road again at Northwestern.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions start the closing stretch at Indiana.