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Penn State overwhelms Ohio with 46-10 victory

Bobcats have no answer for Singleton's big plays, Nittany Lions' defense

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s big play ability overwhelmed Ohio as the Nittany Lions rolled to a 46-10 victory Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

True freshman running back Nicholas Singleton scored on a pair of long runs and racked up 179 yards on just 10 carries to lead the way. Penn State finished with 572 yards while holding Ohio to just 264.

"We came in to win the football game and it didn't go our way," Ohio coach Tim Albin said. "As a staff, we need to take 24 hours and get a few guys' bumps and bruises cleaned up. Next week on the next stage we're going to look better."

Every time the Bobcats (1-1) seemed made a play to seemingly stay in the game, the Nittany Lions (2-0) responded with an even bigger moment and eventually ran away in a game that featured backups in the game on both sides in the fourth quarter and even sooner in some cases.

Ohio capped its only touchdown drive of the day with a Sieh Bangura 1-yard touchdown just 1:34 before halftime to make it 19-7, but Penn State came back with a successful two-minute drive to go back up by three scores. Two more touchdowns in the third quarter put the game out of reach.

There were a few chances for the Bobcats to stay in the game. They forced the Nittany Lions into a fourth-and-2 at Ohio’s 32-yard line on their opening drive. Sean Clifford completed a 16-yard pass to Tyler Warren to convert, then scrambled for 15 yards on the next play and put his team in front with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Kurtis Rourke completed third-down passes for first downs on the ensuing drive to move near midfield, but the drive stalled there, and after a punt, Singleton broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run two plays later to make it 14-0.

The Bobcats’ defense finally rose to the occasion early in the second quarter, stopping a Nittany Lions drive across midfield to force a punt. Penn State turned it into points anyway. After a Barney Amor punt was downed at the 1, a fumbled handoff resulted in a safety for a 16-0 score.

Ohio’s defense continued to show well in the second quarter, forcing a turnover on downs after the free kick from the 20 gave Penn State good field position and then limiting the Nittany Lions to a 25-yard Jake Pinegar field goal on the next drive.

Finally, Ohio’s offense came through. A hook-and-lateral play from Sam Wiglusz to Bangura picked up 22 yards and converted a third down. Another trick play saw Jacoby Jones throw back to Rourke for 17 yards to the 1-yard line, setting up Bangura’s touchdown that made it 19-7.

"I think we played really hard as a team; there were stretches where we looked really good both offensively and defensively," Rourkes aid. "I'm really proud of the guys because they worked really hard."

It was just enough time for Penn State to answer, though. Parker Washington walked a tightrope down the right sideline into the end zone on a pass from Clifford, but upon review, it was determined he went out of bounds at the 7 with 18 seconds to play. Clifford hit Mitchell Tinsley on a slant for a touchdown on the next play to extend the margin for real this time.

The Nittany Lions quickly put the game away in the second half. Singleton broke a 48-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, though in the end, his team came away empty on a missed field goal by Pinegar from 42 yards away.

After getting the ball back, however, Penn State struck quickly with a 32-yard touchdown pass from backup Drew Allar to Omari Evans. Singleton added a 44-yard touchdown run with 4:33 left in the third quarter to extend the advantage to 33 points. Barely a minute into the fourth quarter, Allar connected with Khalil Dinkins for a 28-yard scoring strike a 46-7 lead for the Nittany Lions.

Ohio’s final points came on a 21-yard Nathanial Vakos field goal on a drive led by backup Parker Navarro, who converted a fourth down with a 14-yard pass to James Bostic to the 7-yard line. He could not get the Bobcats into the end zone, however.

A week after setting career highs and being named Mid-American Conference East Division player of the week for his performance against Florida Atlantic, Rourke was just 14-of-30 passing for 119 yards against a Big Ten opponent. He also wound up as the team’s leading rusher with 29 yards on five carries. Ohio managed just 100 yards on the ground.

Clifford was an efficient 19-of-27 passing for 213 yards, while Allard came in and went 6 of 8 for 88 yards. Third stringer Christian Vellieux saw late action and completed 6 of 7 passes for 37 yards. They spread the ball around with 17 different pass catchers making 31 receptions, led by Washington with four catches for 60 yards.

One bright spot for Ohio was five sacks on defense, including 1.5 from Bryce Houston, who tied for the team lead with six tackles.

Neither team committed a turnover.

With both programs in different positions than they were then, the game was vastly different than the 24-14 victory by Ohio the last time they met 10 years ago.

The Bobcats face another big road challenge when they take on Iowa State at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium on ESPN Plus.

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