HERSHEY – Ohio's defensive dominance resulted in three straight possessions inside Pennsylvania territory to start Saturday night's 54th annual Big 33 Football Classic and another before the first half was over.
When that was not enough to break the game open, the Ohio defense took things one step further.
Doran Grant went from end zone to end zone on a 101-yard interception return in the final two minutes of the first half for the game-breaking touchdown that helped Ohio hand Pennsylvania its worst loss in the game's history with a 50-14 rout.
Julian Campenni of Wyoming Area, who is headed to the University of Connecticut, started at left tackle for a Pennsylvania defense that kept the team in the game early by forcing Ohio into missed field goals to end the first two possessions.
Ohio soon started picking the Pennsylvania defense apart and, after scoring on its first possession of the second half, opened a 35-7 lead just 3:31 into the third quarter on its fourth touchdown of at least 40 yards.
"I had a great week with 33 great players," Campenni said. "I'll never forget it.
"The game didn't go the way we wanted, but we had fun and made some great memories."
The win, its third straight, gave Ohio a 10-9 lead in the series since the game for graduating high school football all-stars returned to this format in 1993. Counting a series of games in the 1970s, the states are even at 12-12.
The teams appeared anything but evenly matched Saturday.
By the time Cincinnati recruit Akise Teague scored his third touchdown on a 40-yard pass from Cardale Jones for the 35-7 advantage, Ohio had a 317-106 advantage in total offense.
Ohio's defense produced two interceptions in the first half and had five of its seven sacks by the midway point in the third quarter.
That defense may have had a little extra help.
On the possession after Teague's third touchdown, Ohio had two straight sacks, the second by linebacker Steven Daniels. When Daniels came up with yet another sack on third down, Ohio was penalized for an illegal defense for the second of three times in the game where blitzes are prohibited.
"We made too many mistakes and they took advantage," Pennsylvania coach Tim Rimpfel said. "A good team will do that and, oh boy, did they have some speed."
In a game that featured 20 future Big Ten players, Ohio benefitted from the availability of five Ohio State recruits. Jones threw three touchdown passes, including a 54-yarder in the second quarter and a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter to future teammate Devin Smith.
Pennsylvania had just two Penn State players – all-purpose athlete Shawn Oakman from Penn Wood and defensive lineman Jordan Kerner from Fairview. Teague started the scoring with touchdown runs of 52 and 20 yards in the final 4:30 of the first quarter for a 14-0 Ohio lead.
Delaware Valley's Brandon Clemons hit Jones in the backfield, setting up an interception by Desimon Green, leading to Pennsylvania's only score of the first half. Smith and Grant answered before halftime for a 28-7 lead.