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History lesson: The top 10 best PSU-OSU games
UNIVERSITY PARK – If you thought there was bad blood between Penn State and Michigan, just wait.
This week, it gets dialed up a notch when No. 2 Penn State (7-0) visits No. 6 Ohio State (6-1) at 3:30 p.m. in Columbus on Thursday. The game is being televised by FOX. The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes have played some classic games over the years. As we countdown to the “Game of the Year” in the Big Ten, let’s look back at the best games in the series.
10. 1976: Ohio State 12, Penn State 7 – This was a real slugfest and Penn State came out on the short end of the stick as the Buckeyes got a win on their first trip to Beaver Stadium. A then-record crowd of 62,503 watched as OSU QB Rod Gerald and seldom-used RB Bob Hyatt scored touchdowns for the Buckeyes.
9. 1994: Penn State 63, Ohio State 14 – In the most lopsided game in the series, the high-flying Penn State offense could not be stopped in a demolition of the Buckeyes. Ki-Jana Carter, who grew up not all that far from Columbus, rushed for 137 yards and four TDs. QB Kerry Collins threw for a couple of touchdowns as the Lions jumped out to a 35-0 lead and never looked back.
8. 1980: Penn State 31, Ohio State 19 – The 1980 Fiesta Bowl is the lone meeting between the schools on a neutral field. Penn State trailed, 19-10, but rallied to score three second-half TDs behind outstanding performances by QB Todd Blackledge and RB Curt Warner. Penn State finished the season 10-2.
7. 2011: Penn State 20, Ohio State 14 – Penn State won again at the Horseshoe, though this one was overshadowed by the fact that it was the Nittany Lions’ first win since the firing of Joe Paterno. Interim coach Tom Bradley helped guide PSU to the win, even though QB Matt McGloin had a tough game, completing just 10 of 18 passes for 88 yards and a pick.
6. 2002: Ohio State 13, Penn State 7 – The Nittany Lions gave the eventual National Champions all they could handle, but it simply was not meant to be. The deciding points came on a Chris Gamble 40-yard interception return for touchdown. PSU QB Zack Mills was intercepted three times in the contest.
5. 2001: Penn State 29, Ohio State 27 – In a down year for the Nittany Lions (they finished 5-6), this was one of the highlights. Penn State trailed 27-9, but rallied for a thrilling win in Beaver Stadium, giving head coach Joe Paterno win No. 324. Zack Mills threw three interceptions, but he helped the Lions score 20 unanswered points to win on an emotional Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.
4. 1997: Penn State 31, Ohio State 27 – One of the most underrated games in the series. Penn State trailed, 27-17, but rallied for a four-point win behind running backs Curtis Enis and Aaron Harris. Enis had a monster day, rushing 23 times for 211 yards and one TD.
3. 2008: Penn State 13, Ohio State 6 – Penn State picked up its first Big Ten win at the Horsehoe with an exciting 13-6 win. Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor had a couple of costly turnovers late in the game that put the win away for Penn State. Pat Devlin subbed in for an injured Darryl Clark to lead the Lions to the big win.
2. 2005: Penn State 17, Ohio State 10 – Penn State came into the game ranked No. 16 and Ohio State was No. 6, but that didn’t matter. A raucous White Out crowd gave the Lions a true home field advantage in front of the ESPN cameras. Tamba Hali’s sack of Troy Smith with 1:21 snuffed out an Ohio State comeback and propelled the Lions to an 11-1 season capped by a thrilling Orange Bowl victory.
1. 2016: Penn State 24, Ohio State 21 – Arguably one of the best games in the history of Beaver Stadium. Of course, you know the story: Penn State was trailing, 21-17, when Ohio State lined up for a field goal that would have given the Buckeyes a touchdown lead. However, Marcus Allen blocked the kick and Grant Haley scooped it up for a 60-yard TD. The win propelled the Lions into the Big Ten Championship Game and eventually, the Rose Bowl. It’s hard to imagine a game topping this one anytime soon.
Have a differing opinion? Hit us up on social media (@happyvalleypsu) and let us know what we missed!
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