Penn State vs. Ohio State: Some of the Rivalry’s Most Memorable Moments
When No. 2 Penn State visits Columbus Saturday afternoon to take on Ohio State, it will be the 33rd meeting between the two programs. The Buckeyes lead the series 17-14, and had to vacate one other victory in 2010.
Since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993, Ohio State holds a 15-8 advantage in the series. The Buckeyes had won four straight meetings until last year, when Penn State sprung a 24-21 upset.
No. 6 Ohio State will be looking to avenge that loss and throw a wrench into Penn State’s plans to defend its conference title and earn a berth in the College Football Playoff.
We’ll find out if they’ll be successful when the game kicks off Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on FOX43.
To whet your appetite for the huge matchup, here’s a look back at some of the rivalry’s most memorable moments:
1994: Carter, Collins lead offensive explosion
During Penn State’s last undefeated season, Ohio State came calling to Happy Valley for a Homecoming Game. The Nittany Lions were seeking to bolster their credentials as the nation’s top team, and they made a compelling argument. Fueled by Ki-Jana Carter and Kerry Collins, Penn State humbled Ohio State 63-14.
Carter rushed for 137 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries for the Nittany Lions, while Collins shredded Ohio State’s secondary for 265 yards and two scores on 19-for-23 passing.
It was the largest margin of victory in the history of the series for Penn State, which went on to win the Big Ten title, hammered Oregon 38-20 in the Rose Bowl and finished 11-0.
The Nittany Lions’ dream of a national championship was denied, however, as Nebraska wound up finishing atop the Associated Press poll and claimed the crown.
Ohio State got a measure of revenge 19 years later, when the Buckeyes blasted Bill O’Brien’s Lions by an identical 63-14 margin.
2005: The White Out Game goes prime-time
While Penn State’s White Out tradition officially began in 2004, when everyone in the student section wore white for the Nittany Lions’ clash with Purdue, it wasn’t until a year later, when No. 6 Ohio State came into Happy Valley for a prime-time clash on ESPN, that it really became a thing.
In that game, the favored Buckeyes fell 17-10, as Michael Robinson’s 2-yard TD run in the second quarter put the Lions ahead for good. Linebacker Paul Posluszny racked up 14 tackles, and Tamba Hali’s strip-sack of Ohio State’s Troy Smith late in the game turned away the Buckeyes’ last gasp at a game-tying touchdown.
The boisterous atmosphere in front of a prime-time audience garnered national attention and allowed the White Out tradition to take off, though it applied only to the student section until 2007, when it spread to all of Beaver Stadium.
2002: Mills shouldn’t have taken that Gamble
Ohio State’s national championship season in 2002 saw the Buckeyes survive a series of close calls. One of them came in Happy Valley, when No. 4 Ohio State scored a 13-7 victory over the No. 18 Lions.
Chris Gamble’s 40-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter proved to be the difference. It was the third time Gamble picked off Penn State quarterback Zack Mills.
Ohio State went on to finish 14-0 and won a national title for coach Jim Tressel.
2014: Penn State falls short in a thriller
Playing in their first season under James Franklin and crippled by the NCAA sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State nearly staged an upset for the ages in front of a White Out crowd in prime time.
Christian Hackenberg rallied the Lions from a 17-point deficit to tie the game and force overtime, but J.T. Barrett scored on a pair of touchdown runs in Ohio State’s two overtime possessions. When Joey Bosa sacked Hackenberg to turn Penn State away empty in the second OT, the Buckeyes managed to escape with a hard-fought victory.
Penn State finished 7-6 and defeated Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Ohio State went on to finish 14-1, stunned top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals and defeated Oregon to capture a national championship for coach Urban Meyer.
2016: Block that kick! Block that kick!
The second-ranked Buckeyes appeared primed to continue their recent dominance of the Nittany Lions when they jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead in another prime-time White Out game.
But this one wasn’t going to end like the others.
The Nittany Lions staged a magnificent comeback, capped by one of the most memorable plays in program history — Grant Haley’s 60-yard touchdown return of a blocked field goal that put Penn State ahead for good with 4:27 left in the game. Marcus Allen got his hand on Tyler Durbin’s 45-yard attempt, and Haley did the rest, eluding a pair of Buckeye pursuers and tumbling into the end zone as the white-clad Beaver Stadium crowd went berzerk.
The win, coming one week after Penn State was completely dominated by Michigan, turned the season — and possibly the entire program — around. Penn State went on to capture the Big Ten championship before falling to USC in the Rose Bowl.
GAME RESULTS: PENN STATE VS. OHIO STATE
1912, Columbus, Ohio: Penn State 37, Ohio State 0 (Penn State 1-0)
1956, Columbus, Ohio: Penn State 7, Ohio State 6 (Penn State 2-0)
1963, Columbus, Ohio: Penn State 10, No. 10 Ohio State 7 (Penn State 3-0)
1964, Columbus, Ohio: Penn State 27, No. 2 Ohio State 0 (Penn State 4-0)
1975, Columbus, Ohio: No. 3 Ohio State 17, No. 7 Penn State 9 (Penn State 4-1)
1976, State College: No. 2 Ohio State 12, No. 7 Penn State 7 (Penn State 4-2)
1978, Columbus, Ohio: No. 5 Penn State 19, No. 6 Ohio State 0 (Penn State 5-2)
1980, Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, AZ: No. 10 Penn State 31, No. 11 Ohio State 19 (Penn State 6-2)
1993, Columbus, Ohio: No 3 Ohio State 24, No. 12 Penn State 6 (Penn State 6-3)
1994, State College: No. 1 Penn State 63, No. 21 Ohio State 14 (Penn State 7-3)
1995, State College: No. 5 Ohio State 28, No. 12 Penn State 25 (Penn State 7-4)
1996, Columbus, Ohio: No. 3 Ohio State 38, No. 4 Penn State 7 (Penn State 7-5)
1997, State College: No. 2 Penn State 31, No. 7 Ohio State 27 (Penn State 8-5)
1998, Columbus, Ohio: No. 1 Ohio State 28, No. 7 Penn State 9 (Penn State 8-6)
1999, State College: No. 2 Penn State 23, No. 18 Ohio State 10 (Penn State 9-6)
2000, Columbus, Ohio: No. 14 Ohio State 45, Penn State 6 (Penn State 9-7)
2001, State College: Penn State 29, Ohio State 27 (Penn State 10-7)
2002, Columbus, Ohio: No. 4 Ohio State 13, No. 18 Penn State 7 (Penn State 10-8)
2003, State College: No. 8 Ohio State 21, Penn State 20 (Penn State 10-9)
2004, Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State 21, Penn State 10 (Series tied 10-10)
2005, State College: No. 16 Penn State 17, No. 6 Ohio State 10 (Penn State 11-10)
2006, Columbus, Ohio: No. 1 Ohio State 28, No. 24 Penn State 6 (Series tied 11-11)
2007, State College: No. 1 Ohio State 37, No. 24 Penn State 17 (Ohio State 12-11)
2008, Columbus, Ohio: No. 3 Penn State 13, No. 10 Ohio State 6 (Series tied 12-12)
2009, State College: No. 12 Ohio State 24, No. 11 Penn State 7 (Ohio State 13-12)
2010, Columbus, Ohio: No. 7 Ohio State 38, Penn State 14 (Ohio State victory later vacated by NCAA sanction)
2011, Columbus, Ohio: No. 21 Penn State 20, Ohio State 14 (Series tied 13-13)
2012, State College: No. 9 Ohio State 35, Penn State 23 (Ohio State 14-13)
2013, Columbus, Ohio: No. 4 Ohio State 63, Penn State 14 (Ohio State 15-13)
2014, State College: No. 12 Ohio State 31, Penn State 24 in 2OT (Ohio State 16-13)
2015, Columbus, Ohio: No. 1 Ohio State 38, Penn State 10 (Ohio State 17-13)
2016, Penn State 24, No. 2 Ohio State 21 (Ohio State 17-14)