Ohio beats Pennsylvania 18-15 to win second straight Big 33


OSU recruit and Glenville grad Christian Bryant made multiple big plays Saturday. (Photo by Gary Housteau)

Ohio went to Pennsylvania and came back with a hard fought 18-15 win
in the 53rd annual Big 33 Football Classic Saturday night at Hershey,

And there were Ohio State fingerprints all over the win.

Ohio went to Pennsylvania and came back with a hard fought 18-15 win in the 53rd annual Big 33 Football Classic Saturday night at Hershey, Pa.

And there were Ohio State fingerprints all over the win.

Four OSU signees were on the winning side. That group included Columbus Marion-Franklin quarterback Verlon Reed, who was named the game’s MVP after delivering a 74-yard touchdown run for the Ohio side.

But Ohio won this game in come-from-behind fashion. Cleveland Glenville’s Christian Bryant, also an OSU verbal, caught the game-winning 17-yard touchdown pass from Mark Myers with 1:04 left to deliver the win. Bryant also had an interception negated by a pass interference penalty.

The two other OSU verbals in the game also factored as Youngstown Boardman defensive end J.T. Moore had a tipped pass interception on the game’s first play from scrimmage, while Solon defensive end Darryl Baldwin had a sack.

“This was basically a dream come true,” Reed said of the win and the MVP award.  “I didn’t expect to get the MVP.  Honestly, I’m not trying to be modest or anything, but I thought Christian Bryant actually won the MVP because he had a great game.  But the unexpected…you got to expect it.  It was exciting.  My teammates are happy for me, I’m happy for them.  It’s just a great moment.”

Pennsylvania led 2-0 at halftime after an errant Ohio punt snap for a safety. Pennsylvania then went up 9-0 on Tyler Smith’s 47-yard touchdown pass to Alex Kenney in the third quarter.

But Bryant returned the ensuing kickoff 26 yards. And on first down from the 26, Reed took a shotgun snap and took off on a quarterback draw. He sprinted through a big hole and was gone on his 74-yard touchdown run that trimmed the gap to 9-7 with 1:23 left in the third quarter.

“Coach called the quarterback draw,” Reed said. “Before I went in, Coach said, ‘You know what time it is? It’s showtime, baby.’ I was just being patient, reading my blocks and getting into the open field.

“I couldn’t have done it without the other 10 players.  They did their jobs and I cut back and I seen my receiver (Chase Hammond) make a great block when he pushed his guy inside and I cut outside.  Right then I knew I was going off to the races.”

Ohio then took a 10-9 lead on Casey Spear’s 33-yard field goal with 3:41 left in the game.

This is where the game got a bit crazy. Ohio’s Mike Dorsey had an interception, but Ohio lost possession on a fumble. Bryant then had an apparent interception, but was flagged for pass interference.

Given new life, Pennsylvania capitalized as Smith dialed up Andrew Carswell for a 65-yard touchdown and a 15-10 lead with 1:30 left. Bryant was the nearest defender on the play.

“We’re in Pa. so that’s what you expect,” he said. “But he (receiver) beat me fair and square, I’m not going to make any excuses even though the pick came.  But I made up for it, that’s all I got to say.  It’s an illegal play but the refs see it or call it.  I think they saw it but they just didn’t call it. But it is what it is.”

Ohio quickly got into scoring position as Myers hit Prince Tyson Gulley for a 40-yard gain on a swing route, allowing Bryant to have a chance to make up for the previous gaffe.

On first-and-5 from the PA 17, Bryant caught a pass from Myers in the right flat and turned upfield to get the touchdown and a 16-15 lead with 1:04 left.

“They was supposed to be in man and the safety was covering me but he stayed in zone and I knew wasn’t going to catch me in a foot race so I just scored and tried to show off a little bit (by jumping in the air at the goal line),” Bryant said.

“I knew I was the primary guy (on the play) and I knew I had to make up for the touchdown that they had.  Even though he picked me and the refs didn’t call it.  But I knew I was going to make up for it in the end any way.”

Myers then ran it in for the two-point conversion and Ohio got away with the 18-15 win.

The four OSU verbals will travel to Columbus on Sunday and will be enrolled in summer quarter classes with the rest of the incoming freshmen on Monday.

The win was Ohio’s second in a row in the Big 33 and allowed Ohio to draw even at 9-9 since the series with Pennsylvania resumed in 1993.

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