Ohio State VS Penn State: Dark Night at The Shoe Preview/Recap

Ohio State VS Penn State Preview:

There is always one game that is like no other.  This week the Buckeyes will face a Nittany Lions team that has won 5 straight games after dropping their season opener to Temple this season.  The loss was unexpected but like Ohio State last season, the Virginia Tech loss helped turn the tide.  While history has shown that the this game can never be taken for granted or overlooked, the Buckeyes look to add to their current three game win streak and to their all-time 16-13 record over Penn State.  Although, Ohio State has struggled, the defense stood strong and forced the necessary turnovers to keep the outcome in the Buckeyes favor.

This will always be a tough game no matter what the venue is.  It is more difficult at Happy Valley where the White Out lives and thrives.  This season will be special and the Buckeye heads and big wigs have finally answered the Buckeye Nations cries to have all black Buckeye gear.  This season and hopefully for more seasons to come, the Buckeyes will don the all black gear at The Shoe against the pesky Nittany Lions.  The Buckeyes will enter the game coming off of a dominant performance against the Maryland Terrapins.  The Buckeyes came out of the gates a bit slow, but after halftime they pulled away for good.  The Nittany Lions are coming off a near shutout of the Hoosiers, who the Buckeyes had their struggles with.  Can the Buckeyes stop the bleeding?  Will they step up?  Will they burst out of their funk?  Can they exceed the expectations?

The Dark Night at The Shoe will be electric and the atmosphere will be breathtaking.  While there are Ohio State traditionalists that have voiced their concerns about becoming more like “Oregon” with their abundance of jersey combinations, AD Gene Smith explained it perfectly and fanned the flames by proclaiming that yes we have this new jersey, but it will only occur once a year, at a designated game, once per season.  That isn’t that bad of an idea seeing how the kids being recruited in this day and age tend to be more materialistic.  Most kids now like the flash and tend to relate football teams to their fashion needs.  This isn’t a thing, but I get the one’s that say that we are straying away from the tradition.  I get it, but you all need to relax, if it takes that little nudge to garner the attention of the right recruits, I am all for it.

What To Expect:

Like I said earlier, this won’t be another “easy” game.  This is not THE GAME, but it is a distant third.  This is no slight to them, it is just a matter of precedence seeing that we have two other foes that are from a different State.  As long as I have been a fan, Penn State is the one team that I am always uneasy about outside of TTUN and the Spartans come to play.  This will be another tough and hard hitting game.  I look for Ohio State to win another close one at home.

Know Your Enemy:

The Nittany Lions have incumbent starter, Christian Hackenberg who has been the starter for the last two seasons.  Hackenbrg has 1086 passing yards and has 7 touchdowns against 2 interceptions.  Hackenberg has been flawless when taking the helm and I look for him to exploit the Buckeyes lack of contain for the QB and the RB.

Speaking of RB’s, the Nittany Lions have a Freshman who is averaging 8.9 yards per carry, which will help their offense move the chains.  The Nittany Lions are utilizing a variety of Running Backs and no matter who they have in the backfield, their Offensive Linemen need to step up in a big way.

On the outside, the Nittany Lions have a ton of former Buckeye targets in Chris Godwin and Saeed Blacknall.  I was hoping that they would flip but they stuck with their commitment.  They will go up against Eli Apple and Gareon Conley throughout the duration of the game which is no easy task.

How The Buckeyes Will Win:

Although the Nittany Lions are a formidable opponent, they cannot mask their inability to protect Hackenberg long enough to allow him to see the whole field.  Hackenberg has been playing and attempting to avoid sacks and that is definitely not going in their favor.  In this current season the Penn State O-Line has allowed a whopping 19 sacks so far.  Hackenberg has to constantly get back up off the turf again and again and in just 6 games that is a pretty mind blowing statistic.  This is how the Buckeyes will get the win.  With the new “Rush Men” package on defense, the O-Line will have fits trying to protect a potentially helpless Hackenberg.  Pair that with the fact that the Buckeyes have two formidable Cornerbacks in Eli Apple and Gareon Conley and two top-tier safeties in Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell, it will make it a difficult task for Hackenberg to sustain drives and it will prevent them from gaining momentum in the long run.  That isn’t the only problem that he faces.  He also faces a lot of talent up front beyond the stellar defensive line.  With Raekwon McMillan, Joshua Perry and Darron Lee patrolling between the D-Line and the DB’s, they can and will wreak havoc on Penn State.

On offense, I feel like Penn State will get a huge helping of Zeke.  They will find a way to feed this beast and put points on the board.  King Dolo Dale will also sling the ball a ton.  The Penn State defense, like always will be up for the challenge of trying to stop  Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall and Braxton Miller.  The Penn State defense has only managed to snag 4 total interceptions this season, but I can see them coming away with a few.  The Penn State defense will continue to get to the quarterback, but I can see Coach Johnson stashing a few new packages to fluster the Penn State offense.

All in all, the Buckeyes will win this game in the second half to continue the trend of this season.  They will feel out the offense in the first half and then turn the heat on during the second half.  If everything falls into place and if the Buckeyes play to the level of their opponent they will win with a final score of 35-21.  If they play to their full potential and if they respond to the criticism, the defense and offense will both put points on the board and they will get ALL THE SACKS!  They will win it easily with a final score of 41-17.  You never know in College Football.

Recruiting Tidbits:

There is a lot of chatter about the Ohio State Running Back class and yes while it is the icing on the cake, it will work out with or without Kareem Walker and George Hill.  I think that we will be just fine.  Yes we may potentially lose them to our hated rivals in TSUN, but with the upcoming game, the Buckeyes will host a ton of talent from around the nation to fill one or both of their spots.  It is really a win win for the Buckeyes.  This weekend will be really eventful for Ohio State and with a statement win on the Dark Night at The Shoe, I can see the potential for multiple commitments.  There are way too many recruits to mention, but they will all be talented individuals.  Couple that with the addition of committed recruits from the 2016 and 2017 classes, I see no drop off in the class rankings.  Do not jump ship just yet.  Just let it ride and wait it out because the next couple of classes will most certainly be special and it will help Ohio State for many years to come.  For now let us focus on the current task at hand and let’s hope that the Buckeyes take care of business and dominate.  Go Bucks!!!

The Recap:

As expected the Buckeyes and Urban Meyer used the first quarter and a half to feel out their opponent.  The Buckeyes then trounced Penn State and turned up the heat during the second half of the game.  The Buckeyes won by four scores, 38-10.  The high point for Penn State was the fact that their frosh Running Back shredded the Buckeyes vaunted defense for nearly 200 rushing yards, which the Buckeyes haven’t allowed in what feels like forever.  This week the Buckeyes did not allow an opposing Quarterback to run all over them, which I am relieved about.  The Buckeyes sacked the hapless Hackenburg numerous times and Tommy Schutt had the biggest one on 4th and short to all but seal the game and to keep the momentum.  The Buckeyes also utilized J.T. Barrett and he had an amazing day with 4 total touchowns, 2 in the air and 2 on the ground.  Although Cardale Jones was benched after struggling once more, he will look to remain the starter.  Zeke was his normal self again with 150+ rushing yards and a touchdown.  Now on to the next one at Rutgers.  Nice team win.  Go Bucks!!!

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