COLUMBUS: When Cardale Jones is announced as Ohio State’s quarterback, it’s clear that something unusual is happening.
In this case, it was a 63-14 win over Penn State on Saturday night in Ohio Stadium. It is the most points given up by the Nittany Lions since 1889.
Jones is a 6-foot-5, 250-pound redshirt freshman from Cleveland, No. 3 on the depth chart. He made a cameo performance in the fourth quarter, after backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, who scored OSU’s final touchdown with 8:24 left in the game.
Few were expecting the Nittany Lions to pull off an upset, but fewer still figured the Buckeyes would treat Penn State like a third-class opponent, say Florida A&M, whom OSU defeated 76-0 in September.
The onslaught of points began on Ohio State’s initial series in the first quarter, when Carlos Hyde capped a 75-yard drive with a two-yard run into the end zone.
At the end of the first half, the game was effectively over, as the Buckeyes held a 42-7 lead. By that time, Ohio State had amassed 414 yards, almost equally divided between rushing and passing.
Quarterback Braxton Miller threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns before he gave way to Guiton with four minutes left in the third quarter. Miller also scored two touchdowns on the ground, rushing for a total of 84 yards, an average of 6.2 per carry.
“I love where Braxton is at right now,” coach Urban Meyer said. “He’s acting like a quarterback. He’s not an athlete acting like a quarterback but a quarterback acting like an athlete.”
The Penn State defense didn’t offer much of a challenge for Hyde, either. He scored twice and ran for 147 yards, averaging 9.2 yards on 16 carries.
Ohio State’s subs kept the scoring going, albeit at a slower rate. When all the yards were added up, the Buckeyes rushed for 408 and passed for 278, a total of 686.
Though it was hard to tell by the numbers, the Nittany Lions often were able to force Miller out of the pocket, but he scrambled out of trouble time after time, once scoring on a 39-yard run.
The past two weeks, Miller seems to have shaken the knee injury that sidelined him earlier in the season.
By intercepting two passes from promising freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the Buckeyes thwarted the Nittany Lions at the OSU 12 on one pick and began a scoring drive of their own with the other. Corey Brown made the first interception, C.J. Barnett the other.
“That was a game changer,” Meyer said of Brown’s pick.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Buckeyes blog at http://www.ohio.com/blogs/buckeye-blogging. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.