The 2009 version of Ohio State’s 2nd biggest rival is not as good as advertised. To date, they have played one quality opponent and lost. Their out-of-conference schedule was about as weak as Pee-Wee Herman before puberty.
The above gaggle of “teams” is an embarrassment to Penn State and the rest of the Big Ten. But with that said, the Nittany Lions dug deep and somehow powered through their OOC schedule in heroic form. The only teams missing from this stellar collection of world beaters were East Poughkeepsie Tech, Baghdad School for the Criminally Insane and Nationwide Insurance’s softball team.
The bottom line is that Penn State scheduling these teams only hurts them against teams like Iowa and Ohio State . Against Iowa, Penn State struggled to move the ball the entire game and Daryll Clark had his worst game of his career. On the other side of the ball Iowa was able to run the ball the entire night finishing with 163 yards on the ground.
If one takes a look at OSU’s/PSU’s common opponents, the results are similar: both teams handled their business on their way to easy wins.
For all the flak that Ohio State gets regarding their offense, they have outscored even mighty Penn State and their dynamic spread HD offense. Penn State does have the nation’s #1 defense, but I’d guess that if Penn State actually had to play good football teams that rank would be different. Even though Ohio State has clearly played the tougher schedule, Ohio State has the 6th best defense in the country. Very impressive.
Daryll Clark, the Penn State quarterback, has been inconsistent when the light has been the brightest on the Nittany Lions. Last year he played poorly against Ohio State [and he didn't even finish the game -ed], Iowa and USC. This year, against Iowa he was awful. Many people talk about Terrelle Pryor being a weakness for Ohio State, yet somehow Clark gets a free pass.
In big games, Clark has averaged 169 yards passing, less than a TD, almost 2 INT’s, and 48.65% of his passes completed per big game. Not good. With numbers like those I believe Clark should move to wide receiver, at least for big games. This Ohio State defense will be the best defense he has played all year.
Now make no mistake, this Penn State team is a talented one. They will be at home and they will be hungry. Their defense is one of the best in the country and will be facing a very young, inexperienced and inconsistent offense.
The fact is, no one knows how good this Penn State team really is. Year after year, they seem to schedule the weakest opponents under the sun and this year was one of the worst I’ve ever seen from them.
Keys For Each Team
Ohio State Offense:
- No turnovers — The Buckeyes cannot afford to put their defense in bad positions time after time. Please see Purdue game.
- At least two Earth shattering plays by Pryor will be needed. Either running or passing, Pryor needs to deliver a couple knockout blows.
- Get Jordan Hall carries… lots of them.
- Minimize drive killing penalties.
Penn State Offense:
- Make sure Joe Paterno’s milk is warm before pregame.
- Get Royster and Chaz Powell (TE) involved vs. Buckeye LBers in the passing game. Both players are deadly.
- Prepare Paterno’s “Everybody Poops” station at halftime. Make sure to stock Depends and baby wipes every 25 feet.
Ohio State Defense:
- PSU runs a pro style offense, very close to what USC does. Just not as good. Don’t change a thing from that game plan.
- Attack the edges. Ohio States strength comes from its defensive line. Gibson and Williams need huge games.
- Create turnovers. If Ohio State wins this battle, they win rather easily.
Penn State Defense:
- Blitz Pryor. Every team OSU has played has loaded up the box and come after Pryor. The OSU offensive line has been…bad at times picking up blitzes and blocking speed rushers.
- See above.
- See above.
Prediction time! This week, we’re giving away another copy of Busted: The Rise and Fall of Art Schlichterto the closest prediction of the final score of the OSU/Penn State game. (Vegas is currently favoring Penn State by 5)
In addition to the final score, let’s consider a few other things on which to prognosticate:
Who has the bigger offensive impact on the game (total yards and TDs): Pryor or Clark?
As an aside, does Clark even make it to the end of the game (unlike last year)?
Does JoePa make another 1st half 55-yard dash?
Which defense gives up more rushing yards?
el Kaiser’s predictions:
OSU: 24 PSU: 20
Pryor outgains Clark and Clark survives brutal beatings by Maximus and Nathan Williams.
We’re at Beaver Stadium, so I’m assuming they’ve installed facilities nearby for the feeble JoePa
OSU has regularly shut down previously unstoppable PSU RBs, so I say PSU gives up more yards after Pryor breaks off a couple big ones.