STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Justin Fields passed for 318 yards and four touchdowns, two to Chris Olave, and No. 3 Ohio State beat No. 18 Penn State 38-25 on an eerily quiet Saturday night at one what is usually one of the most raucous settings in college football.
Jeremy Ruckert also caught a pair of touchdowns, Master Teague II ran for another and the Buckeyes generated 526 yards of offense in their 15th straight Big Ten win and 10th straight on the road against a ranked opponent.
Ohio State (2-0) didn’t take long to break the game open and hand Penn State (0-2) its first 0-2 start since 2013.
Garrett Wilson took an opening sweep 62 yards to set up Teague III’s short touchdown run two plays later.
The Buckeyes only needed five plays on their next drive to take a 14-0 lead when Fields zipped a 26-yard pass over corner Joey Porter Jr.’s shoulder to Olave in the end zone.
A whiteout at Penn State is normally one of the great spectacles in college football and the recent ones involving the Buckeyes have been classic games. The last three have been decided by a total of 11 points, with Ohio State taking two.
But the Big Ten is playing in mostly empty stadiums because of the pandemic.
Instead of an almost glittering sea of more than 100,000 white-clad Nittany Lions fans singing along to “Shout” and shaking the stadium as they bounce to “Zombie Nation,” about 1,000 friends and family of players were scattered in the bleachers behind each bench. The student-section was filled with cardboard cutouts of fans and the only glow came from the lights bouncing off the empty metal bleachers.
Maybe it would have helped the Nittany Lions to have had the home-field advantage because they never really threatened the Buckeyes without it.
Penn State got on the board when Jake Pinegar capped an 11-play, 61-yard drive with a 31-yard field goal.
But Fields stayed hot.
The Buckeye quarterback, who completed 20 of 21 passes a week ago, started 7-for-7 and went 15-for-18 in the first half.
Ohio State: Fields looks even better than last year when he was a Heisman Trophy finalist. As long as his offensive line continues to protect him well, he will continue to torch defenses with his accuracy.
Penn State: The offense was out of sorts all night. Only four players caught passes, Sean Clifford had nowhere to run for much of the game and Penn State didn’t have a chance to work in running backs Keyvone Lee or Caziah Holmes playing from behind.
The Buckeyes will likely stay put. Penn State could potentially drop as No. 22 SMU, No. 23 Iowa State and No. 25 Boise State all turned in convincing wins.
Ohio State: Hosts Rutgers (1-1) next Saturday.
Penn State: Hosts Maryland (1-1) next Saturday.
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