Ohio State-Penn State | Scarlet & Gray Matter

Ray Stein
Ohio State offensive lineman Branden Bowen is recognized during Senior Day festivities before the game. [Barbara J. Perenic/Dispatch]

Ray Stein's observations about Saturday's game:

The game at hand

Short-attention-span synopsis: Welcome back, Chase Young. Welcome to second-half football, Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins. Was Urban calling some of those plays? Penn State de-cleated, out-elited. Big Ten East: OSU's personal sandbox. Who's next? Michigan, man.

Pregame buzz: After the Buckeyes had delivered so many early knockouts this season, the biggest concern was how they would deal with finally getting hit on the chin. Penn State suffered a black eye a couple of weeks back on the road at Minnesota, but the Nittany Lions still packed a punch, mainly from their hard-hitting defense. In the end, though, the blows that knocked the Buckeyes sideways were self-inflicted.

The $198 question: Ohio Stadium was a cold and wet place for that kind of money to be considered a wise expenditure, but those who opened their wallets and clothed themselves in multiple layers probably found it a rewarding experience. The fans were crazy loud at times, especially when working to disrupt Penn State's comeback. But when Justin Fields went down and stayed there after a late sack, you might have believed that 100 people could be so silent, but not 100K.

Spread the wealth? The word on social media in the 11 o'clock hour Saturday was that the 18-point spread in favor of Ohio State had jumped to 20 points or more as a lot of late money came in on the Buckeyes. At 21-0 early in the third quarter, the bet looked good, but hardly safe. And it hardly was, as two turnovers slashed the tires on the Buckeyes' getaway vehicle and kept the game close.

This week in vanity plates: A HARD GO

The View

How the team sees it: The coaches told us they weren't all going to be walks in the park. But it would have been another lazy stroll if we hadn't gotten all butterfingers.

How the playoff committee will see it: For a while there, you looked like No. 1. Then you looked like No. 4. Now it looks like you stay at No. 2.

How Buckeye Nation sees it: Playoff position? Big Ten East champions? Dude, are we seriously talking about this? It's Michigan week.

Hey, what did Day say?

What he said: “The (song) we play in the locker room is “Ballin'.” I'm not sure who sings it, but that's our celebratory song in the locker room with the team.”

What it means: “Like I said, not sure who sings it. But moms and dads, make sure you find a 'clean' version if you're playing it for your kids in the car.”

They said it

Your turn/the channel: Fox announcers Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt have spent enough time in Ohio Stadium this year to qualify for dorm rooms in Lincoln Tower, and that familiarity seemingly has fostered an appreciation for the Buckeyes. So they were pretty much speaking the Nation's language when they lathered Chase Young in awesome sauce when things were going good. Later, when the screws tightened, Johnson took umbrage like a true fan, noting that coaches were not making game-winning calls. Hey, we know people who resemble that remark. One complaint: Lose the word “nil,” Gus. This isn't soccer.

This week in signage: Both ESPN and Fox broadcast their weekly pregame shows from outside and then inside the Horseshoe, which hopefully didn't make for any Sharks vs. Jets dustups. (I'll take the Fox crew, by the way, for viewing as well as if a brawl broke out.) The dueling shows meant plenty of creative handmade posters, some actually fit for print. Penn State coach James Franklin was an easy target — “Dr. Evil + Austin Powers = James Franklin” and “James Franklin is Bald” — but OSU fans also kept their eyes on next weekend's prize: “Impeach Harbaugh.”

Numbers for dummies

75.9: Yards rushing per game allowed by Penn State through 10 games

91: Yards rushing for Ohio State on its opening drive, capped by J.K. Dobbins' 4-yard scoring run

13: Consecutive wins for Ohio State over ranked teams

3: Sacks by Chase Young, who returned from a two-game absence to rejoin the Heisman Trophy chase

716: Media credentials issued for the game, which includes those working on pregame shows

On tap

For most of the past decade or so, Thanksgiving week has meant turkey and stuffing on Thursday and Ohio State carving up Michigan on Saturday. The Buckeyes will head to Ann Arbor with a seven-game winning streak over the Wolverines and a spot in the Big Ten title game in its pocket. Some say that OSU perhaps could lose to Michigan and still make the playoff, provided that it wins the Big Ten title. Some also say, wash your mouth out for saying that, young man.


Best responses to the game on Twitter:

@realSighBot: Ohio State is playing boring-ball today. Glad I'm not obsessed with football.

@Pray4Pax: A win is a win, a win is a win, that was ugly, a win is a win

@mmclaughlin626: Did Urban slip on some headphones and start calling QB runs?

@jleegill: Chase Young's major might be lion tamer

@Scarletjersey: Wish we were playing Western Carolina

@phoneguy24: Run out the clock my (butt), keep the foot on the gas pedal

@Bbo13: Really hoping that 1) we win this game and 2) this terrible offensive play calling turns out to be a case of saving things for an absolute blowout win next week

Horseshoe haiku

Buckeyes sweat for once;

Nothing wrong there, provided

They don't stink the joint

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