Penn State Preview

It is finally here. Ohio State vs. Penn State. Normally, this game is played mid to late October, but this year this potential College Football Playoff match up is coming already in September.  The Big Ten this year, so far, has seemingly been down this year. This makes this game even bigger than what it has been in years past. And in the last few years, this game has been huge.  This game seems like it will decide the winner of the Big Ten East with Michigan State and Michigan looking subpar, so far.  Ohio State the #2 scoring offense.  Penn State the #1 scoring offense. Ohio State has had the better schedule so far with traveling to Jerry’s World and playing a very good TCU defense.  Penn State has been tested at home to Appalachian State, and tested in the first half of the Pitt and Illinois games before pulling away in the second half of each game. Lets compare these two offenses.

QB:

Haskins: 87/115, 1194 yards, 16 tds, and 1 int.

McSorley: 57/106, 763 yards, 8 tds, and 2 int.

RB:

Dobbins: 56 attempts, 323 yards, 2 tds. Long of 21 yards

Weber: 52 attempts, 299 yards, 3 tds, Long of 49 yards

Sanders: 71 attempts 495 yards, 5 tds, Long of 48 yards

Ohio State has a clear advantage at quarterback. Dwayne has been absolutely incredible this year. Making every single type of throw with ease.  Even in the TCU game he was stellar, especially on the blitz.  Trace’s numbers don’t tell the complete story.  His wide receivers have had some drops.  But he also misses open people.  Trace is a gamer though. He makes plays when it counts, and really its all about wins and loses at the end of the day. The Penn State run game is what concerns me.  They run the qb read option very well.  McSorely is making the correct read time and time again rushing 41 times this year for 5.7 yards a carry.

Penn State will be without backup Mark Allen at the running back position.  But Miles Sanders seems to be picking up where Saquon Barkley has left off.  He has been  very good this year. Especially, in the Illinois game where he had 200 yards, and 3 touchdowns.  Ohio State has split carries the whole year, and will continue to do so. Mike Weber has been practicing this week, after leaving the game early against Tulane.  Ohio State has been missing the big runs this year, so far.  With the passing game being so great to begin the year, I am surprised to see that Dobbins hasn’t broke one yet.  Ohio State will need the running game to be excellent in Beaver Stadium.

With both offenses performing so well this year, both teams will have to rely on their defenses to step up, and limit the big plays.

Defense:

Opponent yards per game: Ohio State is ranked 22 vs Penn State is ranked 36

Rushing Yards per game: Ohio State is ranked 52 vs Penn State is ranked 78

Passing Yards per game: Ohio State is ranked 30 vs Penn State is ranked 24

Third Down Conversions: Ohio State and Penn State are tied for 54th giving up 5.2 3rd downs per game

To me this is where the game will be decided.  With both offenses dominating early on in the season limiting 3rd down conversions will be the key.  It will keep both defenses fresh, and will allow these potent offenses to stay on the field.  Ohio State linebackers will have to play fantastic if Ohio State wants to earn this W.  They CAN NOT crash down on the running back as soon as the play starts out.  McSorley is very good in open space, and will destroy the Ohio State defense if the linebackers do not keep containment of him.  McSorley also can take a hit, and seemingly likes to get hit, as it is rare for him to slide.  He will fight for every yard he can get.

The defensive line is going to miss Nick Bosa for this game.  I for one, and deeply saddened we wont get another Bosa double sack in Happy Valley. But this defensive line is going to play just fine, even without the BEST player in college football.

This game on Saturday night, 7:30 on ABC, will be exciting, and well agonizing.  With both offenses playing so well, and both defenses playing okay, not great not bad, the big plays will come, and honestly they might come often. This game might give Tressel fans heart attacks, but this is who Ohio State is this year.  I feel Ohio State has an advantage over Penn State, since we had to play a good team away from home. (Yes, I know it was mostly Ohio State fans). Penn State’s schedule so far, has been well terrible.  Penn State has also struggled in 3 out of 4 games so far, and just had to use their depth to help them win because none of the teams they played so far have no where near the depth Penn State would have.  But Penn State has shown up in the second half, and have shown why they are the #9 ranked team in the country.

I feel Ohio State is prepared for this game.  I feel the defense will be ready for the #1 offense in the country.  I feel Dwayne will continue to have the Heisman type year in this game.  However, Happy Valley is an animal. It scares the crap out of me every other year.  I hate going their. Those fans are loud.  Weird things happen. Blocked punts. Blocked kicks. However, Ohio State is 2-2 in whiteout games, and after Saturday I believe it will be 3-2.  The game wont be easy, and I for one will be glad when it is over. I’m feeling a score of 56-45.

Comments

  1. Great preview, Trevor. Trace McSorley scares me, but this defense faced a smart, mobile quarterback against TCU, so hopefully that will serve them well tomorrow night. I think we win but it’s going to give me heartburn until the final whistle blows.

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