The good and the bad from Penn State's 35-23 loss to Ohio State on Saturday night:
1. Mike Hull has a bright future: The No. 4 linebacker, who's a lock to become a starter next season, again came away with two big plays Saturday. On the same drive, he sacked Braxton Miller for a six-yard loss and then blocked a punt that Michael Yancich recovered for a touchdown. Had PSU won, that would've been the deciding point to the game. Hull definitely gives this defense some hope for the next season.
2. Kickers had their best game of the season: Alex Butterworth shanked one punt, but he was perfect after that. His four subsequent punts all pinned Ohio State within the 20-yard line, and he booted a 58-yarder. Take away that shank, and Butterworth averaged 45.5 net yards a punt. Sam Ficken trotted out on the field just once for a field goal, but he made the 27-yarder -- and didn't miss an extra point. He was just fine on kickoffs, too.
3. First-half defense: Ohio State controlled the clock for 19:34, but the defense held strong. Miller was just 4 of 12 passing and the Buckeyes averaged less than four yards a carry. Had the punt-return unit not committed a unique penalty -- for a lack of a better term -- this defense likely would have marched in at halftime with a shutout. Gerald Hodges boasted 10 tackles and a sack at the halfway point. Penn State couldn't maintain that success, but the offense didn't exactly help matters.
1. Penalties: Every time PSU seemed to have any sort of momentum, the yellow flags came out. Penn State had five penalties on offense -- and every single foul came inside Ohio State territory. A false start on 4th-and-7 led to an 8-yard gain on the next play ... which ended up being four yards short after the flag. On second-and-goal from the OSU 3, Penn State was called for holding and ended up settling for a field goal. Two other penalties kept the Buckeyes' drives alive. PSU just couldn't overcome the mental mistakes here.
2. Picking up the blitz: Urban Meyer acknowledged he brought more pressure than usual, normally sending five players after Matt McGloin, and PSU had no answer. The redheaded quarterback was sacked four times and hurried seemingly every other play. He started throwing off his back foot and the rushing game couldn't get started because the offensive line couldn't handle the additional rusher. Ohio State's blitz plagued Penn State all night and appeared to be the difference maker.
3. Third-down defense in the second half: The common thread of those first two losses continued here. The Buckeyes went 5-of-6 on third down in the final two quarters and converted their final five attempts. Ohio State controlled the clock, and Penn State's defense was tired in the second half -- but five straight conversions didn't do this unit any favors.