Buckeyes look to send PSU to 0-2 this Saturday
OSU vs PSU Preview and Pick
The biggest matchup of this weekend by far will take place on Saturday night when #18 Penn State welcomes #3 Ohio State to Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley. This matchup could have been even bigger if Penn State had not completely collapsed at the end of their game against Indiana last weekend, but still the Nittany Lions present one of the biggest challenges Ohio State will face in the conference season. Ohio State will have to get a win over Penn State on the road this weekend if they want to cement themselves as the third favorite to make the college football playoff behind Clemson and Alabama.
OSU looked like the dominant team everyone expected them to be last week in their 52-17 win over Nebraska. In particular OSU Quarterback Justin Fields looked like he is every bit as worthy of the number one pick as Trevor Lawrence. He spread the ball around the field well. Two Buckeye wide receivers had over 100 yard and Garrett Wilson looks like he could also be a first round pick when he decides to come out. My only concern comes with running the football. The two lead running backs at OSU did not have over 100 yards combined against Nebraska’s weak defense. Field’s does not have a partner in the backfield like Trevor Lawrence does with Travis Etienne down in Clemson and this could hurt Ohio State against their better opponents unless someone steps up soon. Their def
ense looked good as well holding Nebraska to 17 points and scoring on a fumble returned for a touchdown. Their special teams looked good also. Kicker Blake Haubeil was 8 for 8 with his kicks making one field goal and all seven extra points. The Buckeye’s looked like the most complete team in the Big Ten with the best Quarterback in the Big Ten and Penn State will need to play their absolute best game if they want to have any shot of pulling the upset on Saturday night.
Last week’s loss to Indiana was an absolute disaster. So many things had to go wrong for Penn State to lose that game and every single one of them did go wrong. With 1:47 to go in the game ESPN’s football power index gave Penn State a 99.9% chance to beat Indiana. If Devin Ford had taken a knee on the goal line PSU wins. If Penn State stops Indiana from scoring a touchdown with a minute to go they win. And if Penn State keeps Indiana from getting the two point conversion they win. Oh, and if Penn State holds Indiana in overtime they win then too. You get the point. Everything that could go wrong went wrong for the Nittany Lions to lose 36-35 to Indiana.
To make things worse, Penn State lost another running back for the season last week and now have their 3rd string tailback getting a majority of the carries.
Journey Brown was a stand out for the Nittany Lions in the backfield last season. He announced before this season started that he would not be playing. Then last week in the first series of the game their second string running back Noah Cain suffered a leg injury. Now done for the season as well. This puts a majority of the pressure to run the offense on the shoulders of Sean Clifford and Jahan Dotson. Ohio State’s defense is simply too good to be beaten by a team that is this beaten up and one dimensional. And It could be a long game and maybe even a long season for the Nittany Lions if Clifford can’t carry the load.
One very weird stat from last week is that both Quarterbacks, Justin Fields and Sean Clifford, lead their respective teams in rushing yards.
Fields had 276 yards in the air and 54 yards on the ground to lead OSU. Clifford had 238 yards in the air and 119 on the ground to lead PSU.
The Ohio State defense presents an even tougher challenge to Clifford than last week’s Indiana defense and I expect them to hold Penn State and possibly even keep them under 20 like they did to Nebraska. Last week OSU’s defense held the Nebraska’s offense to only 160 passing yards. If they can do that, they win the game and win it by two touchdowns, because a Penn State defense that gave up 36 points to the Indiana Hosiers will be no match for the Buckeyes offense.
The Pick: This might be the smallest spread the Buckeyes have all season so why not jump on it while you can? I am betting the Buckeye’s -12 and I feel great about it.
Number to know: Zero is the number of interceptions Justin Fields threw last week Sean Clifford threw 2 picks vs Indiana.
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