Written by: Big 33 Staff on June 16, 2012.
Six costly Pennsylvania turnovers ultimately undid an outstanding defensive performance from the Keystone side, setting the stage for Ohio kicker Tyler Grassman’s 39-yard field goal that lifted Ohio to a stunning 24-21 overtime victory. The outcome was especially painful for Pennsylvania because of a 14-point fourth quarter lead that vanished in 17 seconds.
Lima Central Catholic quarterback Tyler O’Connor’s 1-yard sneak brought Ohio to within 21-14 with 6:27 to play. On the ensuing kickoff, Pennsylvania’s Desmon Peoples was hit near the goal line and fumbled, with E.J. Junior recovering in the end zone to make it 21-21. The Buckeye defense picked off five passes, two each by Nana Kyeremeh of Thomas Worthington High School and Andre Jones of Cincinnati Colerain. Kyeremeh’s second interception was the decisive play of the game. After Grassman’s field goal in OT, Pennsylvania’s offense had an opportunity to answer, but Skyler Mornhinweg threw just behind his target Rushel Shell with Kyeremeh snatching the tipped pass for a game-ending pick.
This marked the fourth consecutive victory for Ohio, which trailed 14-0 at halftime. O’Connor, bound for Michigan State, threw for 161 yards, including an 85-yard score to Najee Murray, and was named Ohio’s Most Valuable Player. Bloomsburg quarterback Blake Rankin completed 9-of-14 for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns to earn the Pennsylvania MVP honors.
Early on, it looked like the Pennsylvania defense was going to rule the night, led by a ferocious group of linebackers that held Ohio to a mere 100 total yards in the opening half. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that Ohio broke through, with O’Connor and Murray’s connection making it 14-7. Rankin answered with a 4-yard pass to J.P. Holtz to push the Pennsylvania lead back to 21-7 but the Ohio defense continued to generate turnovers and that was decisive.