for this game

Boeckman, Ohio State cruise past Penn State

Oct 28, 2007 - 5:29 AM STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- An efficient performance from Todd Boeckman and a stout defense allowed No. 1 Ohio State to cruise past what was supposed to be its toughest test of the season so far.

Boeckman threw for a career-high 253 yards and three touchdowns and the Buckeyes' defense allowed just 124 yards through the air as top-ranked Ohio State dismantled No. 24 Penn State, 37-17, in a Big Ten showdown on Saturday night.

Chris Wells added 25 carries for 137 yards for the Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten), who extended their regular-season winning streak to 27 games.

"He ran hard and ran well," Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. "Beanie (Wells) is good and I thought our offensive line did a good job. I thought they did a good job communicating despite the noise. It's tough to play in here.

"When his pad level is low, he is tough to handle. People have a tough time dealing with him but that means we must have pushed somebody off the ball."

Prior to Saturday's contest, Ohio State's only ranked opponent was then-No. 23 Purdue, which dropped a 23-7 decision to the Buckeyes at home three weeks ago. Penn State was also the last team to defeat Ohio State during the regular season, edging the Buckeyes, 17-10, at Happy Valley in 2005.

After allowing a touchdown drive of 78 yards on the Nittany Lions' first possession, Ohio State's defense allowed only 73 yards for the rest of the first half.

"They came out of the gate and made it tough on us," Tressel said. "Our kids hung in there. We did a good job of controlling the tempo of the game with our offense. I think we had 38 minutes of possession. We did a good job on third down."

Penn State never got any more offense going, managing just a third-quarter field goal the rest of the way against the top-ranked defense in the country.

"I thought our defense showed good poise," Tressel said. "Penn State moved it on that early drive and not a whole bunch after that except for that one field-goal drive."

Ohio State came into the game giving up just 7.8 points per game, and the first-quarter touchdown run allowed to Rodney Kinlaw was only the fifth defensive score the Buckeyes have surrendered all season.

A.J. Wallace capped the scoring for the Nittany Lions with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 3:16 left to play.

The loss snapped Penn State's (6-3, 2-3) three-game winning streak.

Boeckman threw first-half touchdown passes to Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline to turn a four-point deficit into a 17-7 lead after the first two quarters.

"We didn't get any pressure on him," Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno said. "And then when we did go after him, he did a good job of dumping it off. That's a good football team, and they played very well.

"They caught the ball well, he (Boeckman) threw it well and they protected him well. I thought we did a pretty good job against a tough running game but we obviously didn't do well against their passing."

Ohio State added to its lead when Boeckman threw his third TD pass of the game - this one to Jake Ballard for a 15-yard score - to give the Buckeyes a 24-7 lead with 6:10 left in the third quarter.

"I think he (Boeckman) threw with a lot of confidence tonight and that starts with not having a whole lot of people in your face," Tressel said.

Buckeyes cornerback Malcolm Jenkins returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown with 9:36 remaining to give Ohio State a 34-10 lead.