Buck­eyes’ D-line stout

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Sports - By Mitch Stacy The As­so­ci­ated Press

COLUM­BUS » With his team trail­ing by five points late in the fourth quar­ter, Ohio State de­fen­sive end Sam Hub­bard tore into the Penn State back­field and tack­led Trace McSor­ley and Saquon Barkley at the same time in one big group hug.

The daz­zling play for a 7-yard loss was sym­bolic of how the Buck­eyes’ de­fen­sive front had its way most of Satur­day night in the rau­cous 39-38 Ohio State vic­tory and dom­i­nated in the fourth quar­ter when it needed stops the most.

Hub­bard thun­dered in nearly un­touched from the left end just as McSor­ley was tuck­ing the ball into Barkley’s gut on a run-pass op­tion play. Hub­bard wrapped up both, with some fin­ish­ing help from de­fen­sive end Ja­lyn Holmes.

“We needed a big play to get our of­fense back on the field, so I just went for it and took them both out,” said Hub­bard, one of a dozen Ohio State de­fend­ers who recorded a tackle-for-loss.

Later in the fourth quar­ter, af­ter the Buck­eyes had taken the lead, the Dline took over again, sack­ing McSor­ley and pres­sur­ing him into three er­rant passes to seal the im­prob­a­ble win.

“Their de­fen­sive line, as the game wore on, we had a hard time with those guys,” Penn State coach James Franklin said.

The win moved Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) from No. 6 to No. 3 in the AP Top 25 , and dropped Penn State (7-1, 4-1) from No. 2 to No. 7. The first Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off rank­ings are to be re­leased Tues­day.

The stand­out per­for­mance by Ohio State’s de­fense was over­shad­owed by quar­ter­back J.T. Bar­rett’s heroic ef­fort. The fifth-year se­nior threw for three fourth-quar­ter touch­downs in lead­ing the Buck­eyes to their big­gest win of the sea­son. He fin­ished with 328 yards and four TDs.

But Ohio State’s de­fense held Barkley — who en­tered the game as the Heis­man Tro­phy front-run­ner — to just 44 rush­ing yards on 21 car­ries, 36 of the yards on one touch­down run in the sec­ond quar­ter. Nine of his 21 car­ries re­sulted in lost yards.

“They were blitz­ing, bring­ing more hats (to stop) the run game,” Barkley said. “Their D-line made plays. It’s a tal­ented group.”

McSor­ley was sacked twice and chased all night by de­fen­sive end Nick Bosa, who was cred­ited with eight quar­ter­back pres­sures. The Nit­tany Lions’ of­fen­sive line had trou­ble keep­ing Bosa and his bud­dies at bay, es­pe­cially af­ter start­ing tackle Ryan Bates ex­ited the game with an an­kle in­jury in the third quar­ter.

“My gosh, they were all over the place,” Ohio State coach Ur­ban Meyer said.

The Buck­eyes made plenty of their own mis­takes, though. They were ham­pered by penal­ties — 10 of them for 79 yards. Spe­cial teams prob­lems that have plagued Ohio State lately sur­faced again when Barkley was al­lowed to rum­ble 97 yards for a touch­down on the game’s open­ing kick­off.

Down by 18 points two dif­fer­ent times dur­ing the game, Ohio State took the lead for the first time with 1:29 left.

That’s when the Buck­eyes’ de­fen­sive line put on the em­phatic fin­ish­ing touches.

“We even said that if the of­fense is play­ing that good, we can’t let us be the ones that let them down,” Hub­bard said. “We’ve been wait­ing for a while for them to play like that in big games. And they fi­nally clicked. We did our part, too. We had to.”


Ohio State de­fen­sive end Sam Hub­bard plays against Penn State on Oct. 28 in Colum­bus.

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