No. 16 Ohio State (7-2) travels to State College this week to take on the No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions (8-1) in Happy Valley. Kickoff is Saturday at 3:30PM in Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions are currently tied with Ohio State for second place in the Big Ten standings, both with one loss apiece.
PSU lost at home to undefeated Iowa, while the Buckeyes dropped a shocker on the road at Purdue.
Ohio State controls their own destiny and can with its' fifth consecutive Big Ten Championship by winning their final three games.
For Penn State to claim at least a share of the title, they have to win out and get help (in the form of a win over Iowa) from either Northwestern, Ohio State, or Minnesota.
Penn State—By The Numbers:
Quarterback Daryll Clark and running back Evan Royster are the top offensive players for PSU.
Clark has 2158 passing yards, 148 rushing yards, with five rushing touchdowns, 18 passing touchdowns to only seven interceptions, and a QB Rating of 149.
Royster has 145 carries for 859 yards and five scores. He also has 11 receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown.
The leading receivers for Penn State are Derek Moye (39 receptions, 648 yards, five touchdowns), Chaz Powell (26 receptions, 355 yards, three touchdowns), Graham Zug (30 receptions, 350 yards, five touchdowns), and Andrew Quarless (25 receptions, 340 yards, one touchdown).
Statistically, PSU has the top defense in the Big Ten but that 'D' will be tested this week as Ohio State might just be a little better than Akron, Temple, Syracuse, Eastern Illinois, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, or Northwestern.
Ohio State—By The Numbers:
Terrelle Pryor has 1543 passing yards, 554 rushing yards, with six rushing touchdowns, 13 passing touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a QB Rating of 129.
With injuries to Boom Herron and Brandon Saine, freshmen backs Jordan Hall and Jermil Martin have both earned playing time and may continue to see the field as a result of their play.
Pryor, Saine, Herron, Hall, and Martin have combined for 1612 yards on the ground and 15 rushing touchdowns. That's nearly 180 rush yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game.
Ohio State's top receivers are DeVier Posey (43 receptions, 595 yards, six touchdowns plus one passing touchdown), Dane Sanzenbacher (23 receptions, 460 yards, six touchdowns), Duron Carter (12 receptions, 164 yards, one touchdown), and Ray Small (12 receptions, 153 yards).
In shutting out the Aggies last week, the Buckeye defense held NMST to all of 62 total yards. On offense, the Buckeyes piled up 559 yards and had seven players amass more individual yards than the Aggies did as a team in 45 plays.
Ohio State—Penn State History and Tidbits:
• This will be the 25th meeting between Ohio State and Penn State.
• The all-time series is currently tied 12-12-0 (the first meeting was in 1912).
• Ohio State is 5-2 overall in the last seven meetings vs. Penn State.
• Ohio State's last loss in Happy Valley was a 17-10 defeat in 2005.
• Ohio State's last win in Happy Valley was a 37-17 victory in 2007.
• Jim Tressel is 5-3 overall (3-1 at home, 2-2 on the road) vs. Penn State.
• Penn State is 5-4 all-time vs. Ohio State at home.
• Penn State has never beaten Ohio State in consecutive seasons.
• Penn State was 6-2 vs. Ohio State before joining the Big Ten in 1993.
• Penn State has one outright and two shared Big Ten titles: 1994, 2005, and 2008.
• This is Joe Paterno's 44th season as Penn State head coach.
After a missed field goal and a punt in a scoreless first quarter of last weeks game against the Aggies of New Mexico State, Terrelle Pryor and crew exploded for 28 points in the second quarter and never looked back.
In fact, most of the starters, Pryor included, did not play at all in the second half. Many second, third, and fourth stringers on both sides of the ball saw considerable action as the Buckeyes cruised to the 45-0 blowout win and their third shutout of the year.
That will not be the case against Penn State. The Buckeyes will surely need every minute and every last ounce of 100% effort they can muster from all 22 of their starters if they are to earn a revenge-game victory over a very good Nittany Lions football team on their home turf.
A year ago, the teams met under somewhat similar circumstances at Ohio Stadium, with both perfect in league play. The Buckeyes led 6-3 in the fourth quarter when Pryor fumbled on a third-down play. The Nittany Lions, with Pat Devlin taking over for an injured Clark, drove 38 yards and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Ohio State had two more possessions, but had to punt after the first. Devlin then guided the Lions to a field goal for a 13-6 lead. Pryor's deep throw with 27 seconds left was picked off by Lydell Sargeant to seal the game.
I hope we see some of the wrinkles Tressel called against NMST, i.e. the onside kick, or double-reverse-pass by Posey, but I won't hold my breath.
After all, JT only goes for those kinds of plays against teams he still expects to thump even if the risks do not pay off.
This game could go either way, and it will probably be low-scoring and close.
But since it's a revenge game, and because I think the OSU defensive front can and will break through PSU's o-line and pressure Clark into mistakes, I'm going with the Scarlet and Gray.
No matter the outcome, I hope PSU fans will show some class and respect for the visiting Ohio State fans, and vice-versa.
Let's please not see another scene like this:
Final score prediction:
Ohio State 20, Penn State 16