October 28, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Entering Saturday's game, there was a lot of attention paid to both Penn State and Ohio State's offenses.
Three of the game's biggest plays, however, came on punts.
The first points of the game were scored on a blocked punt by Mike Hull in the second quarter. Then on the next possession, Penn State was flagged for a holding call on an Ohio State punt, which kept the team's defense on the field. In the third quarter Penn State failed to convert a fake punt, which set the Buckeyes up with good field position and led to a touchdown.
Hull broke through the line and stuffed a kick off the foot of Ohio State punter Ben Buchanan. Michael Yancich fell on the ball in the endzone, sending the 107,818 fans in attendance at Beaver Stadium into a frenzy.
"I saw Mike ahead of me, [he] came through unscathed. He took the ball off the foot, just like we're taught in practice, textbook," Yancich said. "The ball rolled, Mike went to bounce on it, saw me in the endzone, moved it forward when he fell. I fell on it, and we scored."
On Ohio State's next possession, Penn State forced a three-and-out, and it appeared the team was getting the ball back with the lead. Jesse Della Valle fair caught a punt, but the Nittany Lions were flagged for holding on the play, giving the Buckeyes a fresh set of downs.
Ohio State went down the field and tied the game before halftime on a one-yard rush by Carlos Hyde after the penalty.
"It was obviously a big penalty, but that drive following, it killed our momentum," Hull said. "It kind of changed the game from that standpoint."
The Buckeyes eventually took the lead early in the second half, and the first time Penn State lined up to punt in the second half, Alex Butterworth used his arm rather than his leg.
Bill O'Brien called a fake punt, and Butterworth attempted to throw the ball on a 4th-and-9. The punter had the option to throw to either Hull or Derek Day on the play.
Hull said he was open, but Butterworth lobbed a pass, which fell incomplete, to Day. Ohio State took over on its own 43-yard line, and 57 yards later, the Buckeyes were in the endzone with an 11-point lead.
After the game, Hull stood by the play call, and coach Bill O'Brien said he liked the call in the moment.
"On the fake punt I just felt like at that point in time we wanted to get something going and we had it we just didn’t execute it as well as we could have at that point," O'Brien said. "So again we got to coach it better and I was just trying to make a play there."