Ohio State vs. Penn State prediction and game preview, as the Buckeyes try to win a fifth straight meeting with the Nittany Lions on Saturday night.
Ohio State vs. Penn State Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 22 – 8 p.m. ET
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Penn.
TV Broadcast: ABC
Ohio State passed its first true sign of adversity with flying colors. Not only did the Buckeyes go on the road to Wisconsin and beat the Badgers, they did so overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit, not scoring their first touchdown until less than three minutes remained in the third quarter and making a huge stop in overtime to secure the victory. Ohio State now gets a chance to improve to 21-0 in true road games under coach Urban Meyer this coming Saturday night.
Penn State likely won’t be able to stop that from happening. It’s had an extra week to prepare for the Buckeyes and will have the home crowd behind it under the lights, but how the Big Ten’s 12th-ranked rushing defense is going to stop an Ohio State running game that averages 300 yards per game is a mystery.
What To Know About Ohio State
The Buckeyes’ offense looked rather average until well into the third quarter, when J.T. Barrett cut Wisconsin’s lead to three with a 1-yard touchdown run. Barrett ran in another score then hit Noah Brown with a 7-yard TD in overtime, as Ohio State wound up finishing with 411 yards of total offense. It was held to 185 yards on the ground, with Barrett accounting for 92 of them. That’s far below the 300.5 rushing yards per game it’s averaging that ranks fourth in the nation, but running the ball this weekend will be much easier than against a very stingy Wisconsin defense.
The Buckeyes are going to need to stop Penn State from running the ball, too. The Badgers finished with 236 yards on the ground after Ohio State held four of its first five opponents to fewer than 100.
What To Know About Penn State
The Nittany Lions ran for 372 yards in a 38-14 win over Maryland on Oct. 8, finally busting out after not having more than 136 yards rushing in any of their first five games. Saquon Barkley had nine more carries than he had in any previous contest and rushed 31 times for 202 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Trace McSorley has gotten in to the rushing act the last two games, going for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Penn State likely will try to expose the flaws in the Buckeyes’ rush defense early, especially considering the strength of Ohio State’s secondary.
The biggest issue for the Nittany Lions will be stopping Barrett, Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel. They did hold Maryland to only 270 total yards in their best defensive effort of the season, but still allow 208.8 yards per game on the ground and will be facing the best running team they’ve seen all year.
Offense: Ohio State – The Buckeyes have one of the best-rounded units in the country.
Defense: Ohio State – The 450 yards the Buckeyes allowed last week were their most of the season, but expect the Big Ten’s second-ranked defense to bounce back.
Special Teams: Even – Ohio State and Penn State have gone a combined 18-for-18 on field goals.
Coaching: Ohio State – Not only is Meyer one of the nations top coaches, he has a staff of coordinators guiding units that are among the best in the country.
Intangibles: Ohio State – The Buckeyes have won each of the last four meetings.
Matchup To Watch
Barkley vs. Ohio State’s run defense
Barkley had a career day against Maryland, then watched during Penn State’s bye week as Wisconsin’s Corey Clement went for 164 yards against the same Buckeyes defense he’ll be facing Saturday. This game will be a lot closer than most expect if Barkley can break a couple long runs.
Spread: Ohio State -20
Over/Under: No line (as of post)
Ohio State vs. Penn State Prediction
J.T. Barrett runs for two touchdowns and throws for two more, all while Ohio State’s defense gets back on track and holds Barkley to fewer than 100 yards. The Buckeyes win running away.
Ohio State vs. Penn State final score prediction: Ohio State 42, Penn State 17