Saturday afternoon features a matchup of the top two Big Ten East Division teams as the No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-1) travel to Ohio Stadium to take on the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0). This matchup has significant ramifications on multiple facets. First, this matchup will essentially determine the winner of the Big Ten East and will go a long way in determining the Big Ten Conference champion. Furthermore, if the Buckeyes win, it is another signature win that will hold them firmly in the rankings for a berth into the college football playoffs. For Penn State, a win over Ohio State could propel them back into the mix for that same playoff berth. Needless to say, this is a must-win for both sides. Kickoff for this one is scheduled for 12:00 pm ET.
For Penn State, it has been a rough couple of weeks. After beating teams like Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State, the last two games have been clunkers. They lost to Minnesota 31-26. While Minnesota has shown that they are a talented team currently ranked 11thin the nation, it was still a game Penn State needed to find a way to win. Last week, despite finishing with a win, it was a very unimpressive 34-27 win over unranked Indiana. If they play like that against OSU, it could be a long day for the Nittany Lions.
For the Ohio State Buckeyes, it has been nothing but smooth sailing as of late. You know things are going well when, in your last four contests, your closest game was a win by 31 points (over No. 14 ranked Wisconsin). Needless to say, the Buckeyes have been rolling and are in good position to not only win the conference but compete for a national championship.
Despite this one being a matchup of top-10 teams in the nation, the Ohio State Buckeyes are overwhelming 18.5-point favorites playing at home. The over/under for total points scored sits at 57.5.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, this one is all Ohio State. The Buckeyes currently sit atop of college football averaging a whopping 51.5 points per game (51.3 at home). For Penn State, they come in 35th in the nation averaging 32.1 points per game (32.5 on the road).
On the defensive side, both of these teams have been pretty elite. Ohio State ranks 2nd overall in opponents points per game allowing just 9.8 (9.5 at home). For Penn State, they rank 7th in the nation allowing 14.2 points per game to opponents (12.5 on the road).
Penn State Looks For Massive Upset
If Penn State is going to upset Ohio State, they certainly need to get out of the funk that they have been in. Regardless, while their defense will need to step up, it may be their offense that has the unenviable task of trying to keep up with Ohio State. Quarterback Sean Clifford will have his work cut out for him. On the season, he currently has passed for 2,450 yards, 22 touchdowns and has been intercepted just 6 times. He also has rushed for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns on the season.
On the ground, the leading rusher for the Nittany Lions is Journey Brown. Thus far, Brown has rushed for 521 yards and 6 touchdowns. Through the air, Clifford’s best target this season has been KJ Hamler. Hamler currently has 46 receptions for 791 yards and 8 touchdowns. Pat Freiermuth has 34 catches for 424 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Ohio State Looks To Steamroll Another Ranked Opponent
The Ohio State Buckeyes have made a lot of good teams look bad this season and they are hoping to do the same to Penn State on Saturday. To do so, they will look to Justin Fields to lead them. On the season, Fields has thrown for 2,164 yards, 31 touchdowns and just 1 interception thus far. His leading receiver is KJ Hill, who has 38 receptions for 423 yards and 6 touchdowns. Chris Olave (37 catches, 593 yards, 9 touchdowns) and Binjimin Victor (27 catches, 459 yards, 6 touchdowns) have also had nice season.
If the passing game wasn’t good enough, the ground game is equally as dangerous for Ohio State. On the ground, the Buckeyes are led by J.K. Dobbins. Dobbins currently has rushed for 1,289 yards and 13 touchdowns. Master Teague III has also had a solid season rushing for 744 yards and another 4 touchdowns.
Ohio State Keeps On Rolling
When given two top-10 teams and an 18.5 point spread, I almost always take the 18.5 points, but this one is different for me. These are two teams going in completely different directions. For Ohio State, they are rolling, seemingly getting geared up for a crack at the national championship. For Penn State, ever since their loss to Minnesota, they seem to be reeling. Needless to say, I wouldn’t blame you if you took Penn State and the points, but I think for my money, I feel more comfortable thinking Ohio State is going to keep rolling and put up a crooked number against Penn State. Take Ohio State -18.5.