The Penn State Nittany Lions secured a signature win for head coach James Franklin in thrilling fashion with a 24-21 upset over No. 2 Ohio State and earned the College Football Game of the Week honor from the United States Sports Academy.
The Nittany Lions (5-2) sealed the win when Marcus Allen broke through the Ohio State offensive line to block a Buckeye field goal attempt with less than 5 minutes left in the game. Allen’s teammate Grant Haley picked up the loose ball and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown to give Penn State a 24-21 lead and the victory.
Penn State fought back from a 14-point deficit in the second half, outscoring Ohio State 17-0 in the fourth quarter.
Ohio State jumped out to a 12-0 lead before Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin made the score 12-7 at the half. In the third quarter, the Buckeyes extended the lead to 19-7 with a 74-yard touchdown run from Curtis Samuel and increased it to 21-7 after Penn State mishandled a punt snap that sailed into the end zone for a safety.
In the fourth quarter, McSorley had a 2-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 21-14, then Tyler Davis’ 34-yard field goal made it 21-17. Haley’s scoop-and-score gave Penn State a 24-21 lead with 4:27 left in the game.
The win propelled Penn State into the Associated Press top 25 poll for the first time since 2011 at No. 24. Ohio State (6-1), winners of the Academy’s Game of the Week honors the previous week, dropped four spots to No. 6.
Penn State had not defeated a team ranked in the top five since 1999 and had not beaten a team ranked in the top two since 1990. The victory was Penn State’s first against Ohio State since 2011 and Franklin’s first as the Nittany Lion coach against a ranked team.
A blue ribbon panel of 17 members consisting of former college football coaches and athletic directors and including Academy faculty selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Week Award by ballot. The committee is chaired by former U.S. Naval Academy athletic director Jack Lengyel. At the conclusion of the college football season, the panel selects the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year.
The College Football Game of the Year Award is part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport series, a function of the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), which was established as “a tribute to the artist and the athlete.”
Each year at the conclusion of the college football season painter Daniel Moore, the ASAMA 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy to render a painting depicting a memorable and pivotal moment to commemorate the selected College Football Game of the Year. In addition, the Academy contributes $5,000 to the winning university’s scholarship fund.
Fans are encouraged to follow the Academy’s Game of the Year process and compare their selected games of the week to the committee’s selection.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu .
Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.
By Eric Mann
Eric Mann is the Communications Assistant at the United States Sports Academy.