Penn State’s Marcus Allen says he doesn’t often revisit the play he made that changed everything in last year’s Ohio State-Penn State game.
Well, maybe once or twice. But no more than that.
A year ago, Allen blocked Ohio State kicker Tyler Durbin’s 45-yard field goal attempt with 4:37 to play. Then his teammate Grant Haley picked it up and outran Durbin and holder Cameron Johnston, the only two Buckeyes in close pursuit of him, for the game-winning touchdown in a 24-21 Penn State win.
“I watched it for like a good two times on Twitter. But other than that when it shows its face, I see it. But I don’t’ really go out looking for it and look up ‘Marcus Allen blocked field goal kick.’ I don’t do that,” Allen said at the Big Ten Football Media Days in July.
“It happened and it’s over with, let’s try to make something else happen. I have to move on to something else,” he said.
Ohio State led 21-7 early in the fourth quarter before two big mistakes in the kicking game helped Penn State get back into the game.
Seven minutes before Allen and Haley’s heroics, the Nittany Lions blocked a punt by Cameron Johnston and turned that into a field goal.
But it is the blocked field goal that is remembered more. The victory it produced might have been a jumping off point for the run of success Penn State has had since that night. The Nittany Lions have won 14 of their last 15 games.
“That was incredible,” Penn State standout linebacker Jason Cabinda said. “I think it instilled the mentality we could play with anybody, that no matter what the circumstances we could always will ourselves to win and we did that time and time again last year. Our confidence just soared.
“I’m sure he (Allen) was absolutely excited. What I remember is everybody running to go meet Grant in the end zone. I just remember Grant running up the sideline. It was like it was in slow motion. Everybody was watching to see if he was going to make it. It was like it happened so slow. Once he got to the end zone it was a big uproar from the entire stadium, it was like the stadium exploded,” Cabinda said.
“Seeing everybody how happy everybody was, people rushing the field, singing the alma mater, everybody is happy, going on Twitter and watching people riot on Beaver Avenue, it was incredible. I think I stayed up until 2 or 3 a.m. just thinking and being appreciative of it all. It was a night to remember for sure.”
It was a night to remember for Ohio State, too, but for different reasons.
Allen and Haley are both back for Penn State as starters in the defensive backfield. Durbin, a graduate transfer last year, is gone. And Nuernberger has regained the starting kicker role he had as a freshman in 2014.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.