CINCINNATI (FOX19) - No. 2 Ohio State withstood its first test of the season to beat No. 8 Penn State 28-17 and clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game a third straight season.
J.K. Dobbins ran 36 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns as the Buckeyes overcame two second half fumbles to improve to 11-0 on the season.
Justin Fields threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns, but mostly handed off to Dobbins in the second half. Fields gave the crowd a scare when he appeared to hurt his left leg and ankle on his final pass attempt. He was able to jog off the field after staying on the ground for a brief amount of time.
“He’s good," said head coach Ryan Day. "He’s a warrior. The heart of a lion.”
Ohio State built a 21-0 lead in the third quarter, but Penn State capitalized on fumbles by Fields and Dobbins to score 17 unanswered points. Fields answered with a touchdown pass to Chris Olave for the game’s final score.
“You have to be able to take punches," added Day. "And it was unbelievable to see the response. We were reeling and we had to respond. Showed toughness.”
Chase Young, returning from a two-game suspension, finished with three sacks. Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard, a St. Xavier High School graduate, had a huge interception in the fourth quarter to end Penn State’s last good chance to score.
The Buckeyes finish the regular season next weekend against No. 13 Michigan.