Penn State vs. Ohio State Fearless Prediction & Game Preview
Check out the Penn State vs. Ohio State fearless prediction and game preview.
Penn State (7-0) vs. Ohio State (6-1) Game Preview
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Saturday, October 28th
Game Time: 3:30 pm ET
Venue: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
Blowing away Michigan mattered – sort of.
Penn State has to win two of the three games in this gauntlet of Big Ten showdowns – Michigan was first, and a trip to Michigan State is next – but this is the one it can’t lose.
Of course Michigan State is dangerous, but this is truly a one-game-at-a-time scenario. With the Spartans traveling to Columbus, if Penn State loses this, then Ohio State controls the Big Ten East narrative.
Just like Ohio State did last year when it lost to the Nittany Lions on a disastrous late special teams collapse.
But that was a Penn State team that kept having to invent ways to get the job done. It was good, and it’s not fair to say that there was any element of luck to their run to the Big Ten title, but the Michigan win might have changed things.
The Nittany Lions didn’t beat anyone who was all that great, and it needed a late gut-check drive to get by a mediocre Iowa team. But to rip through what was then the No. 1 defensive in the nation in a 42-13 domination of Michigan proved beyond any shadow of a doubt how real this year’s version is.
And now it has to prove it all over again – as does Ohio State.
Yeah, the Buckeyes have been killing teams since the 31-16 early loss to Oklahoma, but other than rolling by Army, there’s a chance none of those other blowouts in the five-game winning streak came against a team that’ll go bowling.
Ohio State has been either 1) bumslaying, and this is all a mirage, or 2) tuning up the machine like it did in 2014 after the Virginia Tech loss, and is now about jump right back into the national title picture with a win.
Wisconsin is okay, and it’ll certainly have its say in Indianapolis in early December, and again, Michigan State will be a factor, but if you want call this the Big Ten championship, and if you want to assume that the winner of this will take a spot in the College Football Playoff, you’re probably right.
One Reason Why Ohio State Will Win
Did the two weeks off really help? Sometimes when a team is on a roll, the last thing you want is to change up the routine. But it matters when Penn State is coming off such an emotional game over a physical team like Michigan, and the Buckeyes have had two weeks to rest up and get ready.
Factor that in with the revenge aspect after last year’s 24-21 loss, and the home crowd in Columbus, and all the nebulous X factor aspects are on Ohio State’s side.
On the field, the time off will matter to prepare for Saquon Barkley and company, but it’ll be the ultra-efficient offense that should shine.
Penn State, welcome to a team that can actually throw.
For all of the good things the Nittany Lions have done, they’ve faced almost no one who can complete a forward pass. And now, they have to deal with a veteran quarterback who’s as hot as anyone in the country.
J.T. Barrett threw an interception against Oklahoma, and that’s been it. On the year he’s thrown 21 touchdown passes with that one pick, and now he’s coming off a 325-yard, five touchdown performance against Nebraska completing 82% of his throws.
One Reason Why Penn State Will Win
Yeah, the Buckeyes are going to gang up to stop Barkley – if Northwestern can do it, for the most part, and if Indiana can stuff him, Ohio State’s defensive front can – but Trace McSorley has become the real killer.
Barkley might get his big home run hit at some point – and Michigan did that, at least somewhat, after the first big dash – but McSorley was able to keep things moving last week with key throw after key throw.
McSorley doesn’t have the receiver weapons he had to work with like he did last year, and Barkley is a big help, but he’s been unflappable with 200 yards or more in every game but the win over Pitt. The drive for the win over Iowa has been his signature moment, but last week, he did every bit as much to kill Michigan’s spirit as Barkley did.
And now he’s better than he was in the middle of last year, hitting 8-of-23 passes in the win over the Buckeyes.
On the other side, Penn State dominates in the backfield – they lead the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for loss – and should be able to get to Barrett before he can get comfortable.
With an ultra-efficient offense with elite stars in the backfield, a nasty defense that has an edge, and with almost no mistakes – Penn State is third in the nation in fewest penalties, and Ohio State is 13th in the Big Ten in sins – the Nittany Lions are air-tight.
What’s Going To Happen
The 2017 Buckeyes are looking and playing way, way too much like the 2014 version to ignore.
They’ve simplified things a bit offensively, the O line started playing better, and the team seems to be in the right groove at the right time.
So they question is this: was the Michigan win the peak for Penn State, or was that the moment that the team showed that it might just be this year’s Clemson?
If this was in Happy Valley, and if it was Penn State coming off a two-week break to rest up, this might be different.
The Buckeye D will have its problems, but the defensive front – with the rest and the time to prepare – is about to play with its hair on fire. Expect more of a defensive battle than a shootout.
Penn State vs. Ohio State Prediction
Ohio State 34, Penn State 20
Ohio State -6, o/u: 56.5
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