For Penn State, (5-3, 3-1 Big Ten) its next game at Purdue on Saturday will be made easier if it avoids some of the mistakes it made against the No. 6 Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0).
For example, on Penn State's first drive against the Buckeyes, quarterback Matt McGloin couldn't hit an open Robinson on a deep pass that probably would have resulted in a touchdown. The pass wasn't perfect, but Robinson said he felt he should have made that play.
Then, on the ensuing Ohio State drive, safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong couldn't come up with what what would have been an easy pick-six.
"[The offense] left some points off the board, the defense left some points off the board, they had a few opportunities on some interceptions and couldn't convert those. I mean we'll correct it and hopefully come out a lot better next week," tight end Garry Gilliam said.
Yellow flags put a major dent in the Lions' sails as well. Most noticeably, in the second quarter, Penn State would be flagged for holding on a Buckeyes punt and Ohio State would capitalize for a touchdown. An illegal-procedure call would also turn a Penn State fourth-and-7 on the Ohio State 20 into a fourth-and-12 that the Lions would fail to convert.
Overall, Penn State lost 85 yards on nine penalties.
"It was pretty frustrating, especially when we had three-and-outs and we had to come back on the field," said defensive end Deion Barnes, who graduated from Northeast High. "It hurt us in field position, like we had them on the 10-yard line and they'd get the ball on the 30 after the penalty."
The game was a tale of two halves, or maybe a tale of the third quarter. Tied at seven at halftime, the Lions immediately gave the lead to the Buckeyes in the second half when McGloin threw a pick-six to linebacker Ryan Shazier on Penn State's third play of the second half. The Lions would score a field goal on the following drive, but Ohio State responded with a touchdown. In the third quarter, the Lions were outscored, 21-3.
Miller completed only seven passes for the game but still accounted for 143 yards and a touchdown through the air and 134 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, including an excellent 1-yard touchdown run.
"I just think he's an excellent player," PSU coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's one of the top five players in the country, and we stopped him at times and other times we didn't, so we have to go back and watch the tape and see what we can do better to stop a player like that."
Several players said this was the most disappointing loss of the season, considering the buildup. The biggest Nittanyville student encampment ever and 107,818 fans, by far the biggest crowd of the season, "whited out" Beaver Stadium, only to see a loss.
Now, for Penn State to win the Leaders Division, it will have to win out, if Ohio State goes 1-2 the rest of the way. That mission begins again at Ross-Ade Stadium against the Boilermakers (3-5, 0-4) this weekend.
"There were a lot of things that were frustrating," defensive end Pete Massaro said. "But there's nothing we can do about that now. We just have to move forward."