STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Ohio State’s J.T. Tuimoloau had a great game for a defensive end.
What he did also would be a great game for any linebacker, any defensive back or any football player.
The 6-4, 270-pound sophomore’s stat line in Ohio State’s 44-31 win over Penn State on Saturday was two sacks, three tackles for losses, two interceptions, one of which he scored on, a forced fumble that he recovered and was credited with a pass break-up on a deflected pass that became an interception by Zach Harrison.
“J.T.T. has put in so much hard work. He is an unbelievable player and a better person. You can see his talent,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.
Day said Tuimoloau’s progress in practice has been steady and Tuimoloau agreed.
“Everything starts in practice. That’s where it started,” he said. “There’s a lot more that I can do. There’s a lot of little stuff I have to clean up.
“I’ve also got to shout out to Coach Knowles (defensive coordinator Jim Knowles). He’s allowed us to show versatility,” he said. “Him trusting me in doing those things, I’ve gotta thank him.”
• No Smith-Njigba, Brown: Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba missed a fifth game on Saturday. He has played only parts of three games.
OSU’s leading receiver last year has been trying to come back from what reportedly is a hamstring injury. He left the Iowa game after running a deep route and appeared to be limping.
Cornerback Cam Brown also did not play against Penn State. It was the fourth game he has missed this season because of an injury. Running back Miyan Williams left the game in the first quarter after a hard tackle on the sideline.
Day said he didn’t want to speculate on when Smith-Njigba might return or what Williams’ injury might be.
• Paving a path: Tight end Cade Stover and right tackle Dawand Jones had big blocks on TreVeyon Henderson’s 41-yard touchdown run that started OSU’s offensive outburst in the fourth quarter on Saturday. Stover also had a 24-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
Asked which he liked better, Stover said, “As long as we score, I don’t care.”
• Career bests for Harrison: Marvin Harrison Jr. had 10 catches for 185 yards, which were both career highs.
“I wanted to make a statement today,” he said. “And obviously we needed the win. It was a big game in the Big Ten Conference. We needed the win today.”
• Six in a row: Ohio State has beaten Penn State six times in a row and has won 10 of its last 11 games against the Nittany Lions.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.