Penn State Preview

Date & Time: Saturday, October 25, 8:00 p.m. EST

Where: Beaver Stadium

TV: ABC regionally and ESPN2 outside the region.

Series Record: Buckeyes lead all-time 16-13. Ohio State has won 7 of the last 10 meetings and outscored Penn State 286-141

Thoughts About Things

1. Team statistical rankings are overrated. I know that we at the MotSaG post a statistical comparison each week, Not sold on the Buckeyes offensive numbers or Penn State’s rankings against the run with the schedules that both have played. Obviously, we’ll know more Saturday evening.

2. Not sure why Penn State’s punishment was cut short. If you were an upstanding prisoner after committing a crime of fraud or stealing something, I could see the reasoning. For an organizational cover-up of child molestation, seems like you would go to prison and be poleaxed during your entire stay with minimal likelihood of being released for “good behavior.” Hopefully, all of the kids that were molested under JoePa’s tenure by Sandusky will be able to released early from their daily recurring nightmares for Penn State’s good behavior…it’s only fair.

3. SEC Bias exists. Seriously, it does exist. When coaches (Pelini) and non-ESPN personalities (Dan Patrick) are willing to call out the worldwide leader, there is a bias. If you want to get worked up like this guy or even this guy, more power to you, but it wont matter.  The playoff selection committee is going to do what is best for college football and has no agenda towards conferences or teams (hahahahahahahahahah).

4. An uncomfortable spring in Columbus.  Hasn’t JT Barrett been the bee’s knees since the VT debacle?  He is putting up video game numbers and doesnt seem likely to slow down anytime soon (maybe he’ll slow down in East Lansing, but that will be a revenge game if we ever see one).  Spring football with Braxton (if healthy) and Barrett should be great media theater until the SEC starts its spring practices, because SEC.

5. Just enjoy the ride.  There is some possibility of making the playoff this year, but it is highly unlikely.  In all reality, after last year’s disappointment in the B1G Title Game and the Orange Bowl, OSU is about a year away from being contender in this humble man’s opinion.

 

About Penn State:

It is well-chronicled of my distaste for all things Penn State.  I did feel a bit prophetic in my previous year’s previews and mentioning how you can get away with things in a town that is basically built around the existence of the university (State College isnt Columbus for damn sure).  From a football standpoint, Anthony Morelli 2.0 is coming along nicely with an upgrade on self-awareness from the original model, which was prone to turnovers.  The team itself is on a bit of a slide losing its past two games (Northwestern,Michigan) after winning its first four games of the season.  This led to a Captain’s meeting with Franklin in attempts to right the ship prior to the OSU game, which could really turn its season upside down if Penn State isn’t at least competitive.  Much has been made of the #1 against the run ranking of the Penn State defense, but they haven’t really faced a team with the play-makers of Ohio State on offense (the same argument could be made in reciprocal, but this is an Ohio State site, so let me live in my shell of home team bias will you?).

Players to Watch:

The Offensive Line –  If these guys cant protect Hackenburg well enough, which has been the case the last couple of weeks, Penn State’s chances of pulling this off are slim and none.  Penn State has some talented skill players and at tight end, but Morelli 2.0 needs time to make it happen.

Adrian Amos/Ryan Keiser – The two starting safeties for Penn State will be on full alert as Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson will add a playmaker element at the H-Back position that Penn State has not seen so far this year.  Ohio State will do everything to get these guys into space and safety play will be imperative in keeping these guys from going crazy.

About Ohio State

From a fan standpoint, Ohio State’s roll since the VT game has been nothing short of miraculous.  The team is breaking offensive records and has really hit its groove offensively.  JT Barrett has been the lynchpin in this offensive explosion and really there cant be enough good things said about JT.  He is a true read-option QB and his accuracy and timing in the passing game has been sublime.  He will face a challenge in the Penn State defensive line on Saturday, but he shouldnt face the pressure that he did against VT (well..let’s hope he doesnt).  His ability to make the correct reads will be paramount in this contest.

On the defensive side of the ball, D-Line play will dictate whether Penn State is going to stick around in the game or not.  The Penn State offensive line has not been swiss cheese, but it isnt exactly the Cowboys offensive line this year, so there will be continue to be opportunities to see the Bosa Post-Sack Shoulder Shrug.

Players to Watch:

Taylor Decker/Darryl Baldwin – Deion Barnes (DE) for Penn State is the truth. and will look cause all sorts of havoc in this game.  Decker and Baldwin will tasked with keeping him as quiet as possible.

Jeff Heuerman – The tight end position is starting to be used with more regularity as JTB continues to become more and more comfortable in the pocket.  The Penn State safeties and outside linebackers will have their hands full trying to cover Heuerman and the stable of H-Backs that OSU will put on the field.

How is this going to play out?

Well. If there is a blowout it wont happen until the second half of the game.  Penn State has always played OSU tough in Happy Valley and even more so on nights of the dreaded “white outs.”  Unless there is a highly spirited performance from Penn State, I dont see how they stay within two touchdowns of Ohio State.  Hopefully, JT and the fellas can take care of business, so Penn State folks wont have to tear apart their stadium and commemorate a “rail” after beating Ohio State like they did in 2005, because really…come on.

Ohio State 42    Penn State 23

Ohio State versus Penn State Abbreviated Recap aka The Debt – “Paid in Full”

osuHelmet

Hey Guys…

Who saw that one coming?

When was the game actually over?

A. Coin Flip

B. First OSU Drive leading to TD

C. First PSU Drive leading to an INT and shaking up an, otherwise steady, freshman QB

D. The moment Mark May ran his talkhole about Penn State upsetting OSU

The troll in me says “coin flip” or Mark May talkie-talkathon of stupidly stupid things, but it was probably the first drive for Penn State. PSU pretty much took it down the field and Hackenberg threw an awful pick in the endzone killing any momentum and really shaking his confidence going forward.

“The Debt,” which was conceived in 1994 in Happy Valley, was finally repaid last night with OSU reciprocating one its worst losses in my lifetime. I know the cool SEC kids and that frosty tipped media mogul will talk about the loss to Florida as one of the worst, but 63-14 in Happy Valley was a tough one for most of to deal with…especially if you were enrolled at the time (*raises hand *realizes age *puts hand back down just as quickly).

Just let that score sink in for a moment…63-14…42-7 at the half. Almost as tasty as Scott Tenorman’s tear at the “Chili con Carvival.”

Offense & Defense

The Ohio State offense was lethal last night. Miller is playing on another level with his passing and actually looks to running with the same level of aggression that was on display his freshman year. Brax accounted for 320 yards of total offense and five touchdowns (3 pass 2 rush)last night. It was a night with a Heisman-type of performance, regardless of the opponent’s inability to play football. Hyde…well…Hyde is just a beast and seems to be hitting his stride at the right time. He is running like Marshawn Lynch and it just makes you wonder how much Heisman consideration he would be getting if he had played every game this season. El Guapo rushewd for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

The defense was solid last night, even with the lack of a pick-6. Outside of a couple of drives and unbelievable backyard football play by Allen Robinson, the defense was stout. “Stout” is a relative term for this defense this year, as they’ll never be confused with the 2002 or 2005 defenses. There are yards to be had against this defense. Hopefully, the occaisional lazy tackle issue (See Cal) has been put to rest, so the defense can actually make the opponents earn yardage and scores. The standouts on the defensive side of the ball for the game were Noah Spence, Curtis Grant, and CJ Barnett. Spence was basically unblockable and wreaked havoc on the Penn State offensive line and Christian Hackenberg. OSU still hasnt had a running back go over 100 yards them this year, but Bill Belton was really close last night showing some skills to make the first tackler miss “A LOT” last night and rolling up a modest 98 yards for the night.

What does all of this mean?

OSU is on a roll right now. They are looking like less and less of an underdog to the teams above them in the BCS standings each week. Like I said in the preview, just enjoy these victories and let the cards fall as they may. With OSU playing at this level, they really should decimate the remaining teams on their schedule until the B1G Championship Game against most likely MSU.

btw…Mucho Thanks to the HBC and the Mizzou kicker really showing the importance “LACES OUT!”

The Ohio State – Penn State Preview (Errday Errday Pick Six Errday)

osuHelmetOur long national nightmare has finally subsided.  The first BCS standings were released last Sunday, which is college football’s weekly gift of sports “informative murder porn.”  To no one’s surprise, our beloved Buckeyes were sitting outside of the top two. The cries of the carrots were coming from Eugene and premature congratulations were heard from Tallahassee.  There is a long way to go ladies and gentleman.  The meat of Orygun’s schedule is upcoming (UCLA, Stanford, and even Oregon State) and FSU still has North Carolina State (not kidding…FSU’s Bogey Team since like the Philip Rivers days)  and Florida on its docket of remaining games. In the default SHESH-SHEE-SHEE top spot, Alabama get’s its free pass for the year, when they have been an absolute hot mess on offense and a defense that doesnt really make you think Saban defense. I mean, come on now, the SEC has won the last 7 or 50 BCS Title Games, so Alabama has to be given a pass, when it has played a marginally better schedule than any of other contenders at this point.  (Btw…Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than watching vaunted SEC defenses get shredded by a pass-happy B12 team that just joined the conference last year.  Which team am I talking about?  The answer is “yes.”)

I have been writing/blogging off and on within the Buckeye sports world since 2005 starting a little site named “Death Cab For Woody.”  You might remember it and probably hated it.  The site is still up, but was effectively “mothballed” and it has the feel of a geocities page.  There are many peeps that have been around longer (Ramzy, folks at the BBC, and a few others) and are most likely better (Almost Everybody).  I am just simple-folk living in the Emerald City for the last 7 years, so I can admit with the utmost confidence that I am probably a little out of touch with the Buckeye Nation.  Hell, I regularly tailgate at UDub Husky games on plenty of OSU gamedays…and sometimes…I dont even watch the games until after I get home from Husky Stadium (THE HORROR!!!).  I understand that this confession is nothing short of heresy, but I am also willing to admit that this distance between myself and Columbus affords me the opportunity to gain perspective.  This perspective has allowed me to enjoy every win of this streak and not worry about style points.  These style points are nonsense.  They simply provide narrative for media types that cant get out of there own way to layout double-standards between similar teams/schedules and make no attempt to hide their own personal bias when talking about teams or conferences.  Most of us Buckeyes have a favorite national media type that we loathe.  Whether it be Matt Hayes and his “Living With a Buckeye Series on Twitter” or Clay Travis and his ability to dumb down any topic so that his SEC followers will eat it up like a Stucky’s roadside pastry and wash it down with eleventy-billion gallons of sweet tea, this is why we love college football.  The “hate.”  Nothing is better than a good clean hate towards a team or media clown…or even an entire conference.  It is sweet music for your eyes to see the SEC take one on the chin last weekend and there are finally whispers of overrating the conference…FINALLY.  Dont fret though.  Within a week, we’ll get to see an article from Barrett Sallee or Tony Barnhart lavishing over the qualities of Kentucky Football and how it could finish in the top 3 of any other major conference in America.  Appreciate the hate.

Speaking of hate.  This is Penn State week, which means…ALL OF THE HATE

If you were to look back over the last few years of game preview posts at MotSaG, I have provided most of the PSU Game Previews.  One of my simple pleasures in life is to pretty much hate everything revolving around Pennsylvania State University.  One of the most overrated college experiences ever.  I visited Penn State for the OSU game in Happy Valley in 1995.  Basically, Penn State is a college in the middle of a cornfield, which is protected by the small town that only exists because of the college.  We have a bunch of those in Ohio (Ohio Northern, Bluffton College, Denison, Kenyon College).  The only cultivated culture that exists (or existed) was the holier than thou attitude that JoePa could do no wrong, the child rapey culture (well documented elsewhere), and some good ice cream (it isn’t Jeni’s). From OSU fans/alumni to the OSU Marching Band, most of us have either heard or experienced some type of stupidity on full display at Penn State.  Not to say that us OSU peeps are above such shenanigans, but we never claimed to be angels.  This is the problem though, Penn State fans have always leaned on JoePa’s way of doing things as the right way and somehow was able to claim some sort of second-hand infallibility when things were going right.  When Uncle Jerry’s secret was unleashed, JoePa was no longer doing things right…now Penn State looks just like the rest of us…a big time college football factory.

Onto the game…

I dont get wrapped up in the X’s and O’s of this game, because it generally isnt a chess match.  It is normally a game of two teams trading haymakers until the final whistle.  There seems to only be one constant.  There will be a pick six.  It is really just a matter of who makes it and when does it occur in the game.

Currently, Penn State sits at 4-2 and is in sole possession of 3rd place in the Leaders Division.  Penn State is not eligible for post-season play this year, based on its recently reduced Sandusky Scandal penalties from the NCAA.  This year is really about the development of its young quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who was able to win the starting job and has been able to pick up the college game very quickly, as a true freshman.  He is no Anthony Morelli and am pretty sure Penn State fans are ok with that statement.  Penn State’s wins have come at the expense of Syracuse, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, and Michigan (snatching defeat from the jaws of victory).  Its two losses have come at the hands of Indiana, which almost “hung a half-hundred on ’em” and #23 UCF.

Looking at those wins and losses, Penn State has its work cut out for it this Saturday evening in Columbus.

What to expect when Penn State has the ball:

Penn State will leverage a balanced pro-style attack with Belton and Zwinak providing a nice 1-2 punch at the tailback position, which is intended to open up the play-action game for Hackenberg.  Zwinak is a bull at 6’1″ 240 (very similar build to El Guapo) and the leading rusher for the team by a little over 20 yards (393 @ 4.3 avg/carry).  He has rushing 8TDs (of Penn State’s 13 total rushing TDs for the year).  Hackenberg is going to be a good one (Cmp% 58.4; 11 TDs; 6 INTs), but he is still a youngster with a lot to learn.  That being said, one thing to prepare yourself for in this game will be the broadcast team gushing over this kid.  A lot of it is justified, but just like every other Primetime ABC game, you’ll want to jab a pencil in your ear before halftime or try to find the radio comforts of the announcing “white noise” that is Paul Keels.  If PSU has any success, the ABC crew will be about shoulder deep in Hackenberg’s anal orifice by halftime.

Hackenberg’s main target will be Allen Robinson.  This guy is a stud.  He has 43 catches for 705 yards and 5 TDs.  Hopefully, Bradley Roby is well-rested after last week’s ejection.  The receiver with the second most catches on the year for Penn State (Brandon Felder) has 22 catches.  Hackenberg will definitely try to challenge Roby.  You would like to think that Roby would be up to the challenge.  Boy, I hope he is up for it, because Robinson will eat his lunch otherwise.  This game should be a nice little challenge for the secondary, which has been more than leaky this season on multiple occasions.

From an Ohio State perspective, it will be the typical focus on stopping the run, which means that the DBs will most likely play deeper in coverage to ensure that the over the top passes are not an option if/when we drop a safety into the box.  This will probably lead to those 5-7 yards passes (with a sprinkle of deeper balls to Robinson) from the Iowa game that were driving everyone crazy.  Ohio State should be able to handle the Penn State rushing attack, which will likely lessen the effectiveness of the play-action.  We always want Fickell and Co. to set Shazier free to blitz like a wild man, but it wouldnt surprise me if OSU doesnt blitz very much and plays conservative to stop the run and make Hackenberg beat them.  I also keep hoping that we will get pressure from the front four without blitzing (yays).

What to expect when OSU has the ball:

I’d expect a lot of the same as the other seven games this year.  Read-Option Penn State to death with a steady dose of Hyde and the occasional Braxton run or play-action pass.  Braxton looks completely healthy and is eluding people to buy more time with greater ease now then at the beginning of the season.  He was a machine in the against Iowa and the passing game looked quite solid.  I expect this continue in the friendly confines of the Horsehoe and will hopefully see more of Dontre Wilson out of the backfield on screens and swing passes.

Penn State is currently 17th in Total Defense in the NCAA giving 486 and 507 yards in its losses to Indiana and UCF respectively.  I just dont see OSU being stopped by the Penn State defense.  They may slow it down during parts of the game, but OSU should be able to leverage all of its weapons in the Shoe on Saturday night.

Prediction:

OSU 52
Penn State 24

Pick Six Prediction:

CJ Barnett (2nd Qtr)

 

Preview: Illinois

Everybody outside of Columbus thinks that they know how this will go down.  However, the Fightin’ Zook’s…errr…Beckman’s will undoubtedly rise to the occasion and play its best game of the season against Ohio State.  This is how it works when Illinois and Ohio State play.  It is like a college football bizarro world.   Like Danny Hope snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and still clapping like a boss.

I think most of us Buckeye fans know how this one is going to turn out.  It will be gut-wrenching.  It will be ugly (It would be uglier if it were in Memorial Stadium), but OSU will find a way to pull this out and maybe get an insurance touchdown mid-way through the fourth quarter.

Anyone that tells you this will be an easy game…they just don’t know B1G football.

Previewin’

I would give all kinds of grief to the Illini fanbase, but they have enough problems.  Its football team is horrible, and they don’t even have a good basketball team to look forward to in the wintertime.  I’d think that there is a contingent of Illini fans that would like get Zook back at this rate, which is basically say that a kick in the balls (Zook) is better than an “honest to goodness” punch in the face (Beckman).

Beckman will get the Illini back on track.  It will take some time.  Illini fans…look at Toledo this year…that will be you in about 2 years.  Godspeed.

 

When Illinois has the ball

Scheelhaase.  He is the Illinois offense, which isn’t saying much for 2012.  The Illinois offense is terrible this year for whatever reason (UFM says it is the young wide receiver corps, so I’ll believe him.).  It ranks 103rd in yard passing per game (184.9 y/g) and isn’t much better at running the ball gaining only 132.5 y/g, which is 91st in the FBS.  Scheelhaase was more productive the last two years and has more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4).  For as good as Scheelhaase has been the last two years, this has to be a disappointment to Illinois fans.  More of a disappointment than living in Illinois (and don’t tell me you live Chicago…Bloomington-Normal isn’t a freakin’ Chicago suburb).  The running game is non-existent.  I don’t see how Illinois is going to be able to move the ball on the OSU Defense, but this game is for the Illi-Buck so expect the unexpected.  Hankins and Co. on the D-line should have a field day if they decide to try and run, since the there is no way that OSU would play 10-yards off the Illini WRs right?

When OSU has the ball

Illinois is giving up 30 points per game.  In the last five games, the minimum amount of points given up was 31 points to offensively-challenged Wisconsin.  That defense made Michigan and Derpnard look like Oregon.  Lots of Shoelaces spoon-feeding on offense…and a lot of ole’ defense.  The Illinois defense has a couple of decent players that can cause problems like Akeem Spence and rush end Michael Buchanan, but this wont be enough to keep OSU from scoring points.

Prediction
Barring any terrible B1G reffing (I’m looking at you Illinois 2007),  OSU starts slow (AGAIN) and falls behind early giving Illinois that glimmer of hope that will last until the 3rd quarter.  Miller and Hyde get their rushing yards and the Buckeyes grind out another win.

OSU 37-13

How you feel?

 

OSU v Penn State – Recap

Braxton Miller seemed to finally get that zone read thingy right…and there was much rejoicing.

It was your typical OSU game this season.  Offense starts out slow and you consider throwing yourself into traffic, but just like clockwork Braxton Miller comes to life and puts the offense into a gear that most Buckeye fans still havent been able to completely comprehend.

There were a few things atypical about the game.  The OSU defense looks like it has turned the corner and has started to tackle much better, and is also getting regular pressure on quarterback.  Yays!

Btw…Who would ever think that a school of Penn State’s size couldnt produce a semi-competent kicker from the student population?  They need to take the UM approach and find the most unathletic person at the school to be the kicker…it lowers expectations, but hey, “brunettes” and probably donuts…lots and lots of donuts.

As much as I think it will still be unlikely, 12-0 looks like a real possibility now.

Positives:

  • Zone Read Decisions for Braxton #allgame
  • D-Line put pressure on McGloin all game
  • Boren could have been an All-American LB if he played there all of his years at OSU.  Guy is amazing and he is starting to pick up pass coverage now, as well.
  • Nice game by Bennett and Hankins shutting down the middle
  • Limited amount of missed tackles in the secondary
  • Braxton going Nebraska-mode on Penn State Defense
  • Shazier sack and pick six in the same series.
  • Carlos Hyde is a stud.  Feels like we are watching the second-coming of Raymont Harris. #ultraback
  • Defense did not give a touchdown until 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

Negatives:

  • Passing game is turribull.  Not Michigan passing game turribull, but pretty bad.
  • Found out who will be the most held d-line player after John Simon graduates…Noah Spence.
  • John Simon is hurt?  Sure seemed like he was hobbling a little bit.  Illinois and a bye week would seem to be the best tonic for that ailment.
  • “Out and Up” – We know that a couple of the players in the secondary will be playing on Sundays, but it would be nice if they didn’t fall for the double-move EVERY TIME.
  • Last touchdown for Penn State everyone knew what was coming including Shazier and he still left the TE open.  *Sigh* Assignment football…Well, at least the defense will have more to work on this week.

Turning Point of the Game:

  • Some people will say that it was the questionable holding call on the punt late in the 1st half, but Griffin’s pass break-up on the fake punt was immense.  Gave the Buckeyes their best starting field position of the game.  Huge momentum swing.

 

One More Thing:

The only reason that Penn State lost?  WELL, THE REFS OF COURSE!!!

 

Preview: Penn State

Well. Last Saturday was interesting, but the Buckeyes are still unbeaten.

Before I get into my yearly rant/preview on the Ohio State – Penn State matchup, I’d like to discuss a topic of note that occurred in the last week or so:

Sports Radio, ESPN Gameday, and Behavior Unbecoming a Gentleman

I have lived in Seattle for almost 7 years now.  I used to listen to 1460TheFan for drive time most days when I lived in Columbus between 1993 and 2005.  I have even listened to Scott Torgerson on his show a few times, when I have returned home for visits.  For those mouthbreathers complaining that his show is terrible, it seems similar to complaining about reality television.  It is what it is…a Shock Jock sports show.  The show (no matter who is hosting it) has always talked about the same topic: Ohio State Athletics.  If the show happens to focus some time on the CBJ and (heaven forbid) pop culture, there should be no backlash for that reasonable list of radio topics.  It is an entertainment program…not a news program.

Do I think that Scott Torgerson got a raw deal?  Yes.  It was the same raw deal that Damon Bruce received when he challenged the validity of ESPN’s Tom Friend witch hunt/article laying out the wrongdoings within OSU Football program in 2003, during an interview on the same timeslot.

Do I think that Kirk Herbstreit’s rant had something to do with this firing?  Sure.  It is a sad state of affairs when someone with Herbstreit’s history in radio will take his current position and abuse the power and influence to leave a radio disc jockey jobless, because of a joke.  Regardless of your feelings on the tweet being in poor taste, I feel bad for Torg for a couple of reasons.  One, he is on wrong end of an ESPN double-standard, which is personified by Jemele Hill tweeting about Hitler and seemingly being promoted within a year.  This was a much more volatile and publically sensitive topic, which created a small stir compared to joking about someone’s utter demise and how the College Gameday program would be a better show because of it.  We all know that this is true.  Remember that time Desmond and Nick Lachey sung Hail to the Victors on the top of Ohio Stadium,  that is just “adding value” folks.  I will say this for Herbstreit.  He earned his spot on Gameday.  Desmond talks like he hasn’t graduated from high school yet and he is supposed to be a “grown ass man.”  Secondly, I wont get into the whole “pot meet kettle” discussion, but Kirk’s conduct in Columbus and on the road wouldn’t win any “Man of the Year” Awards, as most of us have heard the rumors countless times, yet, he still works for ESPN…weird, right?  I understand the Herbstreit’s value compared to Torg’s in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn’t make it right.

 

Previewin’

Oh yeah…there is a game this weekend in Happy Valley.  Apparently, there is a moxie-advisory in the State College area for Saturday.

I am the resident Penn State Hater amongst the MotSaG writers.  I had pretty much decided years ago that the school was going to mess up at some point and wrote about the tight-knit community that protected everything that was most likely going wrong.  From players beating up students at parties, as well as the lack of scrutiny on weakass disciplinary actions being given to that lovable old cooterbag JoePa, something was bound to go wrong for Penn State.  Really though, it couldn’t happen to a more insufferable fanbase.  I know that OSU fans are given a rap of being idiots.  Yes, we are idiots, but we do acknowledge and even embrace our level of stupidity.  Penn State fans went ahead and raised the “Michigan Difference” bar with a “We have never had a major NCAA Infraction” on recruiting pamphlets. Both schools and its fanbase are pontificating idiots (have you been to MGoBlog lately…or ever…is that even a site anymore), the only difference is that UM fans know that its school isn’t perfect (and they are on probation to prove it).

Anywho, I don’t need to recap how the athletic department buildings were basically stationary panel vans with “free candy” written on the side of them.  There is still a contingent of Penn State fans that believe that nothing happened.  If they were as concerned with the contents of the Freeh Report as they were the subsequent NCAA sanctions, it would be a lot easier for most of us to feel anything but disgust towards the school, its administrators, and delusional fanbase.

When Penn State has the ball

McGloin has moxie.  He is also completing 62.5% of his passes this year with an affinity for getting the ball to Kyle Carter (FR. TE) and Allen Robinson (SO. WR).  They have 76 receptions between the two of them, which is a little less than half of the completions for McGloin this season.  McGloin is a seasoned veteran within the B1G and can actually go through progressions, so he is tough guy to scheme against.  OSU will need decent LB play in covering Carter at TE, as he seems to be McGloin’s safety valve when things breakdown.

If there was ever a game that the D-Line needed to create pressure and wreak havoc, this is it.  The defense is still being held together with bubblegum and toothpicks, as Sabino and a number of other defensive players are currently out of action or playing hurt.  The D-Line’s ability to create pressure without the blitz will be paramount. If McGloin has time, he will probably pick OSU apart all day long.  It doesn’t matter how well the secondary plays, there will need to be pressure on the QB.  I don’t care really care about the running backs, as I don’t feel like PSU’s O-Line is built for running the ball, so any play that is taking the ball out of McGloin’s hands is favorable to the OSU defense.

When OSU has the ball

When you turn the ball over four times (one of those was a terribull call by the B1G officials), starting all-world QB gets knocked out, and the back-up is given 47 seconds to make up 8 points, you really don’t think about winning as a real possibility.

This is what has made this season very interesting.  No matter what seems to get thrown at this team, there always seems to be a proper answer or response.  Whether it is the defense stepping up in crunch time against MSU and Purdue or the offense scoring at-will against Nebraska or even Indiana, OSU has always answered the call.

Even with the dumpster-fire performance of the OSU offense last week, it is still #10 in the country in rushing yards per game.  The offense should be able to put up points, whether Miller or “Smooth Jazz” Guiton are running the show.  The Penn State defense has played absolutely NOBODY with an offense outside of Northwestern, which scored 28 points.  We’ll see if the OSU offense starts slow, which is its modus operandi as of late.  If so, expect a long game.  Otherwise, I like the OSU offense to take the overplayed “white-out” crowd out of the game.

Prediction
Miller comes back and plays the entire game.  OSU defense gets enough pressure on McGloin to cause a couple of road turnovers, which are a must.  It is that simple people.

OSU 35-21

How you feel?

 

Penn Shtate Recap – Questions Answered…Painfully

Weekly questions……

1.) Will OSU slow down Silas Redd and hold him under 100 yards?

Yes, but apparently the OSU defense had never seen the wildcat before this game.

2.) Will OSU score any TDs? 

Yes, but could have really used one more.

3.) Over/Under passing attempts for Braxton set at 8. What do you got?

Over (17).  Completed 7, but that 8th completion should have been a touchdown…looking at you traiterous catching abilities of Corey Brown

4.) Who has more rushing yards Boom or Braxton?

Braxton…created many opportunities for PSU defenders to pick up jockstraps on option plays.

5.) How many times will Braxton be sacked in this game?

I only counted two, but I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong

6.) Greater number of media mentions? OSU NCAA Issues or Penn State Issues.

Really didnt seem to mention either too much.

7.)What is the final score?

meh

This team cannot afford to start in the hole again this week against UM.  UM will be fired up and they will be ready (Well..they better be ready).  Regardless, I am still not sold on UM, as they really dont have a good win under their belt this year in my opinion.     Dont say Nebraska that team has been awful since it lost to Northwestern, regardless of its results against Penn State in State College.  Sorry, I am sure that will draw some ire of the readers, but this feels like a role reversal in the making from the 1993 game where OSU came in at 9-0-1 (with a lone tie at Wisconsin).  UM looks like a paper tiger right now.  Granted, OSU is losing to paper tigers and any other type of oragami-type of animal right now, so I guess we’ll just have to see how this week goes.  Just remember…last regular season game of Walrus-Ball.

btw…Any coaching staff that could keep Shazier on the bench for this long should be fired, rehired, and fired again just for principle.

 

YNBA

Penn Shtate Preview

(This was post was supposed to be posted tomorrow, but thanks to the site’s EIC fat fingering, it went live early. Either way, enjoy. – ed)

The season is almost over and it can’t end any faster for our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes.  Off the field issues, poor performances by the coaching staff and players, and inconsistent play on the field by the “rotating” team leaders have left us where we are today.  Where are we?  Sitting pretty with a smooth 6-4 record and a more than realistic chance of losing the final two games of the season to finish 6-6.  Thanks poor decision-making of college students (tattoos…smh) and adults (covering up tattoo bartering exercise with lame excuses).

Speaking of poor decision-making…get a load of Penn State.  Someone should put together a case study on how to “not” run a school or athletic department in times of legal duress.  This should be written up after someone puts together a case study on how to “not” run a school or athletic department in times of NCAA duress.

I have a special place in my heart for a few schools.  They exist in this special place for various reasons.  Michigan is a no-brainer and this isn’t a Michigan preview, so we will just save that vitriol for another time thank you very much.  You would think that Wisconsin would be here, but really Wisconsin…they are the semi-attractive girl in high school that you know could look really good if she would just stop chewing on tree bark, smoking marlboro reds like a chimney, and eating the cafeteria pizza everyday (like a boss) in her spare time.  I’ve got no time for her right now and it really doesnt matter.  You already know how her story is going to end.  She will remain ugly (ie be Wisconsin) and pop out a bunch of large ugly kids (ie. Wisconsin recruiting) before the marvels of modern dentistry, exercise, and nicorette are bestowed upon her.

Penn State is the school that encounters most of my disdain.  Why Penn State?  Talk to any living alumni or current student and they will all tell you the same thing.  “Penn State does it the right way.”  Ya know…with honor and stuff.  We have all heard this for years no matter which team you supported.  Even the media has jumped on it in the past that JoePa and mighty Penn State can do no wrong.  While high profile schools like OSU and even Michigan have been in the crosshairs of the media and the NCAA for misdeeds (extra practice yielding no better on-field results for Michigan and tattoos yielding no better on-field results for Ohio State),  Penn State and everyone that associates with the school has been “white-towering” all of us.  They have been for years.  I have always held the belief that State College has protected the Penn State name from a lot of things that we will never hear about.  The only reason we have recently heard about the increasing number of incidents is because of Al Gore’s fantastic invention of the internet.  Players can’t escape the scrutiny of social media with message boards and twitter.  State College is the Ohio college geographical equivalent of Ada (Home base for Ohio Northern).  If Ohio Northern packed up its bags and left Ada, there would be no more Ada (Yes, the Hardees would close down fo realz).  Plain and simple, the lifeblood of State College (just like Ada on a larger scale) is Penn State University.  We have the same thing out here with Washington State in Pullman.  All of these schools are geographically located in areas of their respective states that no one wants to visit unless they are required (or maybe if you are on the run from the law).  I know that this may be a reach to someone that supports Penn State, but bear with me and hear me out.  Maybe, just maybe, it benefits State College to never place the school or its athletic department (aka the football team) in harm’s way if the town can avoid it.  I am not saying that everyone that lives there is a liar and wouldn’t do the honorable thing (that distinction goes to the coaching staff for the PSU football team), but let’s just say that it is not out of the realm of possibility that the people in authority turned their heads upon seeing some poor player behavior.  I know…it is a foreign concept that would never happen in Ann Arbor or Columbus.  I may be kidding a little bit only for the simple reason that it does happen in these places, but the sheer population does not allow for these things to swept under the rug as easily as it is in a place like State College.  I have often had (scary, scary) visions of Joe Paterno going all Coach Kilmer (Try and tell me you didn’t just pull a “I don’t want your life” and have visions of Vandermemes past.) on the State College PD for late night extra-curricular activities starring the players of the PSU football team.   The fight club mantra of “On a long enough timeline. The survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”  can also be fairly equated to major football programs.  There is absolutely no way that Penn State could be that clean.  It isn’t possible.  It is like saying that graduates of SEC schools outside of Vandy and Florida can read beyond an 8th grade level.  Sorry, it isn’t believable…not to me and not to anyone.  I actually hope that Mike McQueary is telling the truth, because if he did go to the police…well…it will make this cover-up (Another Penn State dirty little secret) look even worse.

*rant fin

Now onto the game?

Oh yeah…I guess there is a game this week between the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions.  I guess there was also some type of email that was sent out telling OSU fans and students to keep it on the level this weekend and not be John Q. Wisconsin fan, John Q. Penn State fan, or even John Q. Michigan fan tailgating on the golf course.  I appreciate the sentiment, but if the roles were reversed and OSU was playing at any of these schools (maybe an exception of UM), we would not get the type of “quarter” that is being asked of us by our own university.  From urine bags to beer cans, Penn State fans have earned every bit of the upcoming vitriol this weekend and every weekend going forward.

One of the biggest surprises of the year (outside Denard’s annual post-September Heisman collapse), has been Penn State’s ability to put together a solid season rolling off to an 8-1 start prior to an almost expected loss to Nebraska.  Granted, this has been thanks to the B1G scheduling gods for putting Minnesota on the schedule 6 times before having to play anyone with a pulse until Nebraska rolled into town.

On offense, PSU has a solid ground game with Silas Redd who is averaging over 100 yards per game and basically is the PSU offense.  Penn State has been winning in spite of the terrible QB play (imo) of the walk-on Matt “Moxie” McGloin.  He is more of a blue-collar QB that will make plays through sheer will where a lack of talent may be exposed.  McGloin has at least eliminated the amount of interceptions this season with only three for the season.  It is going to be a lunchpail game for Penn State.  They are going to run the ball…A LOT.  This should help OSU’s defense, if they are ready to start tackling people on Senior day.  If Silas has 60+ yards in the 1st half, I would just start punching yourself in the balls over and over again instead of watching the second half.  This would be a perfect game to get Christian Bryant into the star position and have him run around and try to make something happen against the run game, because that guy is feast or famine against the pass (mostly famine).

Penn State has never had any issues with playing defense in the past and it wont be the case in this meeting either.  They are currently 3rd in the FBS in scoring defense, which is around the area where we normally find the OSU defense in this statistic…but not this year my friend.  OSU is 16th in this category, so the expectation will probably have this game in the low 20’s on either side.  As is always the case, there will be a defensive lineman that plays the game of his life against OSU and that one will most likely be Devon Still.  Still has had a very good season and should show favorably in this game if Shugarts isn’t available.  This terrifies all OSU fans…or at least it should, as OSU is craptastic at protecting the QB this season (dead last in the B1G in sacks allowed).  Did you know that Ohio State is 27th in the country in rushing offense without a single player in the top 14 rushers in the B1G?  I am not sure if they will hit their 200 yard rushing average in this game, but let’s hope for everyone’s sanity in Columbus that they get close.

Game Prediction:  PAIN and lots of ugliness.  This game will be won on the ground unless Moxie has another first half like he had  last season in Columbus.  Most of us on the OSU side would prefer the second half Moxie show up in Columbus again where he was a walking “pick 6” machine. Obviously, the game will be won on the ground, which is the way Old Testament God intended in the B1G.

So that leaves us with the weekly questions……

1.) Will OSU slow down Silas Redd and hold him under 100 yards?
2.) Will OSU score any TDs?
3.) Over/Under passing attempts for Braxton set at 8.  What do you got?
4.) Who has more rushing yards Boom or Braxton?
5.) How many times will Braxton be sacked in this game?
6.) Greater number of media mentions?  OSU NCAA Issues or Penn State Issues
7.)What is the final score?

YNBA Score Prediction: 20-17 Ohio State

If I Was Coach Fickell [Wide Receiver Edition]

Continuing in our series of who we would start if we were Coach Fickell, we now take a look at the Wide Receiver corps.

Where to start…

Well, this probably the youngest and most inexperienced group of wide receivers that I can remember in my time watching the Buckeyes.  This doesn’t mean that there isnt talent available, but the proven commodity of DeVier Posey wont be eligible (Thanks Tats!!!) until Game 6 of the season.   Let’s take a look at who we think should be starting in the wideout positions, as well as the slot receiver position where Buckeye legends are made.

Let’s get this party started!

After most of the autumn practices, there are really one 3-4 wide receiver candidates that seem to be likely contributors until Posey gets back in the fold.  These players are listed in no particular order, as they will all likely play until there are a few guys that step up into the full-time starter role, but the guys in bold are most likely to be the starters for Akron.  It should be pretty exciting and scary for Buckeye fans, as we haven’t seen an open competition like this at the WR position in many years.

 

Corey “Philly” Brown (Flanker)- After a “peaks and valleys” freshman year, Philly should be ready to have a breakout year.  Him and Chris Fields are the only returning wide receiver candidates with any real experience under their belts.  Brown had a nice freshman year catching eight passes for 105 yards with a single touchdown.  The disappointing side of Philly’s freshman year were some of the drops on long passes that could have been huge plays for the freshman and the team.  A little on the small side for a wide receiver (5-11; 182lb), he will continue to depend on his speed and athleticism to break down defenses for the big play.  If the team can get him the ball on the fly or in space, he should be able to bring mucho attention to his side of the field and open up the rest of the field.  Two true freshman are also waiting in the wings for their chance to make a mark in this position.  Devin Smith (6-3, 190, Fr.) and Evan Spencer (6-1, 190, Fr.) will definitely see the field for the Buckeyes this season at any of the three WR positions.

 

Verlon Reed (Split-End)- Probably the biggest surprise of the spring and fall has been the emergence of the redshirt freshman.  With Posey sitting on the sideline, the Buckeyes were looking for someone to step up and stake a claim at the split-end spot on the field.  Verlon has not disappointed in practices and the coaching staff are expecting big things from him in the fall.  It will be interesting to see if he translate the great practice play into an similar game performance or if he will turn into the greatest practice players evah (ala Barn Childress & Taurian Washington).  At 6-0 and 195lb, he should be able to to handle the physical nature of the Big Tweleven.  Nipping at his heels, if the performances aren’t up to par, should be Ty Williams (got to fix those drops son).  There is definitely a lack of quality depth at this position between suspension (Dammit DeVier!), transfers (Fred Jackson), and overall dumb people (Hello Carter!  Alabama JC awaits your education patronage).  Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, here and the OL position is where the lack of depth rears its ugly head.

 

Chris Fields (Slot)- Another player with experience from last season, Chris gets the opportunity to become another in the long line of exceptional Buckeye slot receivers.   It has been a pretty quiet fall camp for Chris, which is a good thing.  He will need to be a consistent performer in the slot position to provide a necessary safety outlet for the inexperienced quarterbacks that will start the season for the Buckeyes.  We expect a big year from Chris and he will definitely be a playmaker in the slot for the Buckeyes if Philly Brown cant open up his side of the field with his speed and quickness.  We will probably also see Jordan Hall in this position, as he is becoming a jack-of-all-trades for the Buckeyes taking snaps at running back and wide receiver.  Hell, he would probably punt, if the Buckeyes needed him.  Jake Stoneburner and the two freshman (Spencer/Smith) will also see time in the slot on certain packages/formations.

 

At the end of the day, the Wide Receiver position will most likely not be settled until this young corps has a few games under its belt.  You could probably put all of the names of these guys into a hat and draw a starting WR lineup that would rival a good amount of the teams in the conference.  Now they have to prove it…game on boys…game on.

Sad Ginger Panda…New and Improved with a side dish of MOXIE!!!

We promise we wont make a t-shirt of this...unlike some fans...ahem..I'm looking at you PSU fans (HT@BBC).