No. 3 Ohio State handily beats No. 18 Penn State, 38-25

Sports

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields rolls out to pass against Michigan in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP/WJW) — The Ohio State University football team is now 2-0.

They were quickly up against the Penn State football team Halloween night in Pennsylvania, getting two quick touch downs right off.

And while Ohio State dominated for much of the first part of the game, a bizarre end to the half left Ohio State up only 21-6.

Continuing into the second half, the team continued to dominate, especially at the line of scrimmage. They won the game 38-25.

Prior to the game, Justin Fields looked eager to make up for lost time during Ohio State’s season-opening blowout of Nebraska, operating the Buckeyes’ offense with such efficiency pollsters vaulted his team to No. 3 in the polls after four quarters of nearly flawless football.

Throwing 20 completions and a pair of touchdown passes in 21 attempts will do that. So will running for a team-high 54 yards and another score. Leading the Buckeyes (1-0) to the end zone six times in 10 drives was helpful, too.

It was a heady start for a program that spent the first six weeks of the season watching from home and a quarterback that looks like a possible Heisman favorite now that Clemson star Trevor Lawrence is dealing with COVID-19.

Still, Fields has been around long enough to know how it works in 2020. Given the truncated schedule, there is no wiggle room. All the swagger Ohio State showed last week can vanish in an instant on Saturday at No. 18 Penn State (0-1).

The Nittany Lions were supposed to challenge the Buckeyes for Big Ten supremacy. That was before Penn State was stunned in overtime by Indiana last Saturday, meaning any shot it has at staying in the race depends on it knocking off Ohio State for the first time since 2016.

Fields understands the stakes. A win and the Buckeyes may be able to cruise all the way to the regular-season finale against rival Michigan. A loss? Fields would rather not go there.

“Being at Ohio State, we expect to win every day but to manage those expectations, I think we just have to take it one game at a time, one week at a time,” Fields said. “You can’t really look in the future.”

The Nittany Lions would prefer not to look into the past. Their stumble on the road against the Hoosiers was mostly the result of self-inflicted wounds. Ohio State offers a chance at a reprieve, though Penn State knows it needs to do more than give the Buckeyes a game. The last four meetings have been decided by a total of 16 points, but Ohio State won the last three.

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