COLUMBUS – Fortunately for The Ohio State University followers there are two halves of a football game.
The Buckeyes scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to pull away from Penn State 38-14 Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
OSU, 9-1, 5-1, stayed in contention for a share of the Big Ten title and kept its BCS Bowl game aspirations still going.
It wasn't easy, though.
Penn State dominated the first half; OSU the second. The Buckeyes followed the lead of running back Dan Herron and quarterback and returned to two interceptions for Tds.
OSU will make the trek to Iowa Saturday. That will be a challenge, since the Hawkeyes likely dropped out of the conference chase with a 21-17 loss to Northwestern.
And now to the positives and negatives.
OSU defensive backs Devon Torrence and Travis Howard each took interceptions back for scores. Torrence's 34 yarder with 4:29 remaining in the third quarter gave OSU a 17-14 lead. Howard went 30 yards in the fourth quarter and extended OSU's lead to 31-14.
The consensus in the postgame was that a fourth-and-1 stop on Penn State right before halftime turned the tied. Instead of trying a field goal that could have given the Nittany Lions a 17-3 lead, Penn State went for the first down and running back Silas Redd was stopped for no gain.
Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin torched the Buckeyes at 13-of-18 for 141 yards in the first half and two touchdowns. He ended at 15-of-30 for 159 yards with two touchdowns and two picks.
OSU running back Dan Herron had a career high 190 yards, including 120 in the second half. He's becoming the Buckeyes' go-to runner.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor went 8-of-13 for 139 yards, but kept the Nittany Lions off balance with 49 on the ground.
McGloin was able to exploit OSU's defense in that first half, just like Minnesota's Adam Weber did two weeks ago, with short routes and curls.
Pryor didn't have his best passing game. This is November and running the ball wins in November, but he missed some opportunities and threw an interception.
OSU wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, who entered the game as the team's leading receiver with 42 grabs, had just one catch, but it was a big one – a 58-yard score.
The Buckeyes were penalized eight times for 62 yards to Penn State's three for 21.