Sunday, October 28, 2012

Penn State vs. Ohio State Game Review: Is Mark Emmert Breathing a Sigh of Relief After Penn State's Defeat?

                     NCAA President Mark Emmert Defends The Sanctions Against Penn State

     Before I get into the question marks surrounding the game I would like to say and give credit to Ohio State for being the better team in tonight's game.   I am not one to blame officials for the outcome of a game if you won because of being the better team or if you lose because you were simply outplayed. During the game however, there were plenty of calls against Penn State and blatant penalties against Ohio State that were not called.  During the course of the game even the commentators were saying that Ohio State's offensive line was getting away with a lot of holding.  My point is that I think it runs deeper than that.  I think that the NCAA wants to keep punishing Penn State for something that the current players had nothing to do with.I will delve into that after I complete the review.  That being said, even with everything that the Penn State football team has dealt with this year (from sanctions to players leaving) they have exceeded expectations.

     In the early part of the game Penn State and Ohio State traded punts numerous times. The first score of the game was from a blocked punt by Penn State that was recovered in the end zone.  Right before the end of the first half, Penn State had stopped Ohio State on downs. Forcing them the Buckeyes to punt and give the ball back to Penn State who would look to expand on their 7-0 lead.  However during the punt Penn State was called for holding.  This holding call kept Ohio State's drive alive. The holding call was replayed and the commentators stated that the holding call against Penn State was a bad call. This was a continuing trend through the remainder of the game, and ironically it was the same referee who kept calling these "penalties" against Penn State which would kill any momentum the Nittany Lions may have had.

    Ohio State opened up the second half with a nice play from Ryan Shazier, by intercepting a pass to give the Buckeyes a 14-7 lead. Penn State was able to drive down the field looking to match Ohio State's touchdown, by a holding call pushed the Nittany Lions back 10 yards which would force them to settle for a Field Goal.

    Adrian Amos intercepted the ball on the Buckeyes next possession, however Penn State failed to capitalize on this turnover after a questionable play call by coach Bill O'Brien ane tried a fake punt that ended up backfiring, giving the Buckeyes good field position. Ohio State, escaping disaster, drove the ball down the field, and Braxton Miller punched it in from 1 yard out. But again, there was blatant hold on the OSU offense that went unnoticed.

      Ohio State's next possession also consisted of Penn State committing another "penalty" though to be fair this was the correct call, but if they weren't going to call anything against Ohio State for their constant blatant holds, then that ref should let them play the game and not just penalize one team but not the other. Which was exactly what this specific referee kept doing. This Facemask would hurt the Penn State's Defense as Ohio State continued to tire them out and once again drove the ball down the field for another touchdown, giving the Buckeyes a now commanding 28-10 lead.

    After Penn State scored a touchdown, but failed to convert the 2 pt. conversion. Ohio State received the ball back up by 12. Braxton Miller was able to dismantle the weak secondary of Penn State and connected with Jake Stoneburner on a 72 yd. pass that would pretty much seal the deal for an Ohio State victory. Penn State would be able to score another touchdown, but it ended up being too little too late, as the Buckeyes held on for the win 35-23. I again, want to give credit for Ohio State's performance and Braxton Miller's play after coming off a vicious hit last week against Purdue and again were able to face adversity and come out on top.

   With all of that said, I have to question the many calls by that one referee that did change the complexity of the game multiple times. He called a holding penalty on Penn State when Ohio State was punting that would have given Penn State a shot at expanding on their lead heading into the half. But Instead of Penn State going into the locker room with the lead, Ohio State got an undeserved 2nd chance and took advantage of the poor call by this ref, tying the game up at 7 with the Nittany Lions heading into the half. If Penn State were to score again before the half, it would have potentially put the Buckeyes back against the wall and may have been forced to change their game plan. There was at least maybe 3 points taken away (granted with Ficken, nothing is guaranteed) never the less we will say Penn State may have gone into the locker room up 10-0 with momentum on their side and allowed them to stick to their game plan. Now I wont take the pick 6 away from Ohio State, thus the game would have been at least 10-7, still in favor of the Nittany Lions. Penn State drove the ball down the field, and were inside the three but got called for a holding penalty (ironically though Ohio State never got called for their obvious holding) Penn State would have had a 17-7 lead. Penn State more than likely would have not tried the fake punt and pin Ohio State again down deep in its own terrority.

   Even if Ohio State were to put on a good drive, Miller's one yard TD run again was a gift for Ohio State as another Buckeye Lineman got away with a blatant holding call. What's funny is that even the announcers kept commenting on how many holding penalties the Buckeyes were getting away with, and one of the announcers was Chris Spielman, who played football at Ohio State! The holding penalty definitely was there, but I would still say Ohio State would come away with some points by connecting on a FG to trim Penn State's (hypothetical) lead to 17-10

    Penn State's next drive saw them go three and out on three straight passing attempts. But even if Penn State was winning (hypothetically) 17-10, I will still say Ohio State comes up with a good defense stop and force the Nittany Lions to punt. Ohio State recieved the ball back, once again deep in their own terrority on their own 15. Their first play was a run for 6, but Penn State also got called for a Facemask (which was the right call) So I will say Ohio State takes the ball down the field still and ties the game back up at 17

   On Penn State's next drive, they drove the ball down the field and scored a TD. And in this circumstance, they would have only gone for the extra point instead of 2, giving Penn State the lead again 24-17. Ohio State would however respond once again, with that 72 yd TD. pass tying the game up at 24 all with Penn State getting the ball back. Penn State, like they did, drove the ball down the field and scored a TD, which, again hypothetically, given them a 31-24 lead. Had this been the case, Ohio State's gameplan near the end would not have consisted of them just running the clock out, but rather an attempt to tie the game back up and hopefully send it to OT.

    Now I know it appears that I'm coming off as having sour grapes, but their were many non-calls that Ohio State had gotten away with(which I don't hold Ohio State at fault, except for the fact for committing the penalty, but the ref who continued to allow Ohio State get away with holding. The only time that specific referee called the Buckeyes for hold, was when it was in an irrevlant situation as Penn State had tackled Ohio State for a loss.) Other than that Ohio State constantly got away with quite a bit of holding calls. My reason for this long rant and diatribe is simply this. Mark Emmert!

     I honestly feel that Mark Emmert, President of the NCAA, felt like his back may have been against the wall and was worried if Penn State were to win he would feel embarassed that even after the uncalled for sanctions, Penn State would end up giving him a dose of humility. Instead, I can't help but feel Emmert would tell an official to stick it to PSU and make sure they would not come away as the victor, at whatever cost. Now I know this seems farfecthed as I have no "proof" however what "proof" did Emmert have that what happened with Jerry Sandusky was a lack of "Institutional Control" even though it wasn't something that fell under NCAA Violations as it was a criminal matter that should have been dealt with by law enforcement and give Penn State due process. Speaking of due process, it's funny how North Carolina, who is accused of multiple academic scandals and the multiple times the University of Miami were accused of NCAA violations, both of these schools were given due process? Kind of hypocritical if you ask me. And I still question the "handling" (or lack there of) of thoroughly looking into the Bernie Fine accusations of him sexually molesting young boys while he was at Syracuse.(Which is also ironically Emmert's alma mater)

    But I want to end this again by saying I don't mean to come off as having sour grapes. I congrulate Ohio State on their performance and give them credit for coming into a hostile environment at Beaver Stadium and come away with a victory. I also want to say objectively that the amount of penalties the Buckeyes committed, I know Penn State probably committed around the same, and my hypothetical scenairos are just that, hypothetical. Anything can have, even one play can change the complexity of the game, no matter what team it is. So Congratulations to Urban Meyers and the Buckeyes, and to be honest, if Penn State can't win their division, I wouldn't mind seeing Ohio State winning it since it would still be a team that couldn't go to the Big Ten Championship, thus kind of defeating the purpose of having the top two teams facing each other in the conference championship.

    As for Mark Emmert, I seriously would not put it past me if you're still trying to continue punishing Penn State in many ways as you still possibly can.

Source(s): Picture Courtesy of Philadelphia Inquirer

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