October 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Bill O'Brien said Penn State will stick to a running-back-by-committee system despite Bill Belton's stellar performance against Iowa.
But Saturday, the combined efforts of Belton and Zach Zwinak didn't even come close to matching Belton's output a week ago.
Together, the two only rushed for 68 yards. When you factor in Matt McGloin's sacks, Penn State only rushed for 32 yards as a team, in stark contrast to Ohio State's 234 rushing yards.
"When you look back after the game, it's 'if we did this' or 'if we did that' but it didn't happen," Zwinak said. "We already know, we're already looking to the film for this week. Coach is going to watch it. On Monday, we're going to start getting back into it and fix our mistakes."
Like last season, the Nittany Lions largely contained Braxton Miller's arm, but his legs were a different story. He ran for 105 yards against Penn State in 2011 and 134 yards Saturday against the No. 2 rushing defense in the Big Ten.
Running back Carlos Hyde was also a major factor on the ground. He and Miller employed a deceptive play action that often fooled Penn State's run defenders. On one play, defensive lineman Deion Barnes chased the Hyde for the entire play when it was Miller who actually had the ball. Often, even the crowd would cheer when the wrong players was tackled in the backfield.
On a day when Penn State's offensive line struggled in the trenches, Belton and Zwinak were hard pressed to find gaps. Neither averaged more than 3.5 yards per carry.
"You got to give a ton of credit to Ohio State," O'Brien said. "They did a great job. Luke Fickell [...] did a great job of getting their guys ready to go. You have to give them a lot of credit. Again, we have to go watch the tape and find ways to improve. No question about it."