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