Penn State football: Jahan Dotson shines in loss

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Penn State football was playing catch up from the start on Saturday night when Garrett Wilson took the game’s opening play 62 yards around the left end. Two plays later Master Teague took it in for the game’s first touchdown and the Buckeyes never looked back in a 38-25 victory.

It was utter domination in the first half leaving Penn State in too big of a hole to mount any kind of comeback. Justin Fields was too much to handle looking like a surefire top-three pick for next year’s NFL Draft making every throw look easy. Fields completed 82% of his passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns. Video game numbers. Ohio State built its lead to 18 before Jordan Stout connected from 50 yards to cut it to a two possession game going into halftime.

If you didn’t know the name Jahan Dotson before Saturday night, you should now. The junior was the sole bright spot for Penn State having his career best game with eight catches for 144 yards and three touchdowns, including possibly the catch of the year when he went up and snagged Sean Clifford’s pass with one hand over a defender then took it to the end zone. He showed he is a legitimate No. 1 option for Clifford, and he’s bound to be a star.

Dotson’s first touchdown grab made it a 21-13 game early in the third quarter, but that’s as close as it got. Give credit to Penn State for winning the second half, but it was too little too late. Ohio State didn’t let it get too entertaining as it won by double digits.

Other than Dotson, the offense’s performance was embarrassing. Clifford looked scared, the offensive line was invisible and the play calling was questionable once again. It’s hard to establish a run game when there is no protection and you’re playing from behind the entire game, but it was disappointing to not see Lee or Holmes get any carries. There’s too much talent on this roster for three guys to take all of the reps. Clifford ran 18 times for…wait for it… five (5) yards. That takes into account him getting sacked five times, but that is not going to cut it against the third ranked team in the country.

At the end of the day, Ohio State has better talent, better coaching and better execution, and it showed early and often. James Franklin needs to figure something out and find an identity for this Penn State football team. An 0-2 start to your season hurts, but you have to look past that now. It’s time for a reality check, and a convincing win against Maryland this week is a must.

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