UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.; October 27, 2012 -- After igniting an already boisterous crowd of 107,818 with a blocked punt for a touchdown to take the early lead, the Nittany Lions were unable to corral Braxton Miller and the No. 9-ranked Ohio State offense in their 35-23 loss in Beaver Stadium Saturday evening. After entering halftime tied at seven, the Buckeyes outscored the Nittany Lions, 28-16, in the second half to snap Penn State's five-game winning streak.
Penn State (5-3, 3-1 Big Ten) scored first thanks to a brilliant special teams play by Mike Hull (Canonsburg, Pa.), blocking Ben Buchanan's punt from inside his own 5-yard line, and senior Michael Yancich (Washington, Pa.) pounced on the loose ball in the end zone. It was the first blocked punt for a touchdown since 2010 for Penn State when Andrew Dailey blocked a punt and Jamie VanFleet recovered it for a touchdown against Indiana.
Matt McGloin (Scranton, Pa.) threw for a career-high 327 yards, completing 27-of-45 passes, to tie Kerry Collins for the most 300-yard passing games by a Penn State signal caller with four. The senior connected on a pair of touchdown passes - both to tight ends - and now has three straight games with at least two scoring tosses. He spread his 27 completions to nine different receivers and hooked up with Matt Lehman (Newport, Pa.) and Kyle Carter (Bear, Del.) for scores. The senior continued his climb through the Penn State record books, moving past Chuck Fusina (1975-78) to sixth in career touchdown passes with 38 and inched closer to breaking into the top five in career passing yards, becoming the seventh player in school history to reach the 5,000 yard mark, ending the night at 5,234.
Two more scoring drives of 80-plus yards give the Nittany Lions 10 such drives this season and they have had at least two such drives in each of their last three games. It was also the sixth time this season that a Penn State tight end hauled in a touchdown pass with Carter catching six passes against Ohio State (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) for his third six-catch game this year.
Linebacker U. was on full display on defense as Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.) and Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) both reached double-digits in tackles, with 14 and 13, respectively. Mauti tied his career high for tackles in a game, set last year against Alabama, while Hodges posted his first sack of the season. Sean Stanley (Rockville, Md.) added a career-best seven stops and senior Pete Massaro's (Newtown Square, Pa.) - who missed last season due to injury - sack of Braxton Miller to end the first quarter was his first sack since 2010.
It was the eighth time this season that Penn State tallied the opening score and each team turned the ball over once, but it was an interception for a touchdown to start the second half that sparked the Buckeyes rally.
After Yancich recovered the punt in the end zone to break the scoring column, it was Carlos Hyde that capped a 75-yard scoring drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds left in the opening half to tie the game. Penn State has outscored the opposition, 117-30, in the opening half in 2012.
McGloin's streak of 16 quarters without a turnover ended just 1:30 into the second half when Ohio State's Ryan Shazier jumped in front of a pass and returned it 17 yards to give the Buckeyes a 14-7 lead that they wouldn't relinquish. A Sam Ficken (Valparaiso, Ind.) field goal from 27 yards out pulled Penn State closer, at 14-10, but back-to-back one-yard rushing scores from Miller pushed the visitors ahead, 28-10, at the end of the third quarter.
McGloin hooked up with Matt Lehman on third and goal to cap an 80-yard scoring march that capped an 18-play drive - tying for the longest drive by plays this year - to start the fourth quarter and bring the home team to within eight points, 28-16. Ohio State responded by driving 92 yards on just six plays when Braxton Miller found Jake Stoneburner down the seam for a 72-yard touchdown pass, the longest play from scrimmage allowed by the Nittany Lions this year.
Penn State capped the scoring with an 83-yard drive that ended with a twenty-yard strike to Carter on second down.
Penn State will hit the road for two straight road games, starting Saturday, Nov. 3 when they travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to square off with Purdue. The kickoff time of the game is still to be announced.
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