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"Eight, with variations."
"It came together this week," says Paterno. "It'll take a good football team to beat us now. Penn State has that kind of history, getting better as we go along. Rip [Engle] never lost a team as the season wore on. In 1964 we were one and four after five games, and then won our last five in a row."
The team checks into a motel outside Columbus. Paterno sees that they are given a nine o'clock snack and get into their rooms, then he joins a group of newsmen in a hospitality room to watch the Ali-Spinks fight.
When the fight is over, one of the newsmen asks Paterno how he scored it.
"Not until he sees the films," someone else says.
Paterno smiles a bit. "How do I know? The last fight I saw was Louis-Nova."
As he leaves, he is told, "If you think up an offense, Coach, call us." Paterno says he "enjoys being around newsmen."
Game day brings bloated skies and a steady rain and one last rumor. Over a 10 a.m. team breakfast of pancakes, steak, home fries and fruit cup comes the news that neither Gerald nor Schlichter will start. That it will be a converted linebacker. Paterno says a guy who hates Woody had called him with this information. He laughs as he retells the story on the bus to the stadium.
But it is Schlichter, the freshman, who starts at quarterback. The usual huge Ohio State crowd—this one 88,202—cheers the announcement and his entrance. The rain has stopped. Schlichter passes on the very first play of the game, and then on the third, completing both. Ohio State works down-field. Then on Schlichter's fourth pass he is suddenly nose up in the jaws of a bewildering scaffold of double coverages. Pete Harris, the deepest Lion defender, steps in front of the intended receiver and intercepts. He returns the ball to the Ohio State 46.
It is the first of a nightmare series of eight turnovers for Ohio State. Though Schlichter is clearly a talented youngster, he is given unremitting pressure by Clark, Millen and Petruccio and, in the Penn State secondary, a suffocating array of coverages confronts the 18-year-old. Linebacker Lance Mehl seems to be in six places at once, cluttering up Schlichter's view or sitting on Schlichter's shoulderblades.