Bobcats knock off Nittany Lions in opener, 24-14
Ohio outscores Penn State, 21-0, in 2nd half to erase 14-3 deficit
By Lonnie McMillan / Contributor
Saturday, September 01, 2012
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Ohio dominated the second half with 21 unanswered points to rally past Penn State, 24-14, in the Nittany Lions' first game in the post-Joe Paterno era Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
“It was a great win for our football team, our university, our program and our fans," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "Our fans have waited for a long time for that consistency.”
Tyler Tettleton completed a 5-yard third-down fade pass to Donte Foster for Ohio's third touchdown of the second half, putting away the Nittany Lions with 2:55 remaining.
It capped off a 17 play, 93-yard drive and punctuated a second half that saw the Bobcats outgain the Nittany Lions, 301-115.
“The line was able to take control as the game went on," Solich said. "I think we wore them down a little bit. You never quite know what condition your team is in or the other team is in, but I think our pace did help us take control.”
Tettleton finished 31 of 41 for 324 yards and a pair of scores. He ran nine times for 47 yards and a touchdown.
“It means so much," Tettleton said. "This is the reason all for us came here, to win these types of games.”
He plunged in from a yard out to put Ohio on top of Penn State for the first time in the game, 17-14, with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter.
The score, set up by a 33-yard third-down pass to Ryan Clark, helped the Bobcats rally from a 14-3 halftime deficit. The Bobcats held the Nittany Lions on a fourth-down-and-5, leading to the 70-yard drive.
Landon Smith came up with a deflected third-down pass and turned it in to a 43-yard touchdown catch to give Ohio a much-needed score that cut Penn State's lead to four, 14-10, on the opening possession of the second half.
It was the fourth third-down conversion of the drive.
Smith also caught a 31-yard pass to the 5-yard line on a third-down play that set up the Bobcats' clinching score.
Nyeem Wartman blocked a punt that led to a 14-yard touchdown pass from Matt McGloin to tight end Matt Lehman that pushed Penn State's lead to 14-3 at halftime.
Lehman broke one tackle to get to the pylon, giving McGloin his second touchdown pass of the game.
Trailing 7-3, the Bobcats had a chance to trim their deficit, but Matt Weller missed a 44-yard field goal following the Bobcats' best drive of the game.
Alphonso Lewis recovered a muffed punt that set up Ohio's first score of the season, a 22-yard Weller field goal that cut Penn State's lead to 7-3 with 10:22 left in the second quarter.
McGloin threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to running back Bill Belton with 3.1 seconds left in the first quarter to put Penn State on the board first.
Both Ohio and Penn State had one promising drive stall during their first two possessions.
The Nittany Lions moved inside the Bobcats 25-yard line on their first possession, but Gerald Moore forced a Belton fumble that was recored by Keith Moore.
“I was trying to make a play to get us off the field and get our offense on the field," Gerlad Moore said.
Ohio's first chance to score was set up by a 28-yard screen pass to Beau Blankenship to Penn State's 32-yard line, but the Bobcats elected to punt after losing four yards on the next three plays.
Penn State then followed with the 80-yard drive for the game's first points.
Blankenship had 181 yards of offense, carrying 31 times for 109 yards and making seven receptions for 72 yards.
“I’m so thankful for that line we have," Blankenship said. "I’m just blessed to have them. I love every single one of them. They open up holes for me and they make us look good.”
The Nittany Lions held a distinct advantage early, gaining 173 yards in the first quarter. But the Bobcats did not panic and stuck with their game plan.
“We tried to turn this into just a football game and we’re pretty good at playing football," Solich said.
McGloin was 27 of 48 for 260 yards, but half of those came in the first quarter. Allen Robinson had nine receptions for 97 yards.
Ohio hosts New Mexico State at 7 p.m. Saturday.