Ohio State at Penn State
The No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes travel to face the Penn State Nittany Lions in Big Ten action on Saturday, October 27th. Ohio State has won seven of the last 10 meetings in this series, but Penn State won last year’s showdown 20-14 on the road as a 6.5-point underdog. The defense limited the Buckeyes to just 289 total yards and forced two turnovers. The Nittany Lions held them scoreless in the second half as well.
Taking a look at the odds for Week 9 college football, I find that this game is a Pick ‘Em with a total set of 50 points.
The Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0) would certainly be in the national title discussion right now if they were eligible for the postseason. This team has done a tremendous job of staying focused under first-year head coach Urban Meyer, who has certainly earned the respect of his players.
Ohio State is coming off yet another hard-fought victory with a 29-22 triumph over Purdue in overtime. With star quarterback Braxton Miller on the way to the hospital for evaluation, Kenny Guiton guided the Buckeyes to the tying touchdown and two-point conversion with only three seconds remaining. Carlos Hyde scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in overtime, and the defense held from there to secure the victory.
Miller went 9 of 20 for 113 yards with an interception, while also rushing for 47 yards and a score before leaving with a head injury. Guiton came in and completed 6 of 11 for 77 yards with a touchdown and a pick. Hyde rushed for 91 yards and two scores to lead the way on the ground for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes ranked 41st in the country in total offense (438.6 yards/game), including 10th in rushing (249.6 yards/game). They are a sub-par 63rd in total defense (393.4 yards/game), including a putrid 106th against the pass (271.8 yards/game). Miller is expected to play Saturday as he has been cleared to return to practice.
The Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-0 Big Ten) have shown a ton of pride in fighting back from a 0-2 start. They have reeled off five straight victories all by double-digits, including three in a row in Big Ten play. They are coming off a 38-14 road victory over Iowa this past weekend.
Penn State controlled this game from start to finish, getting ahead 38-0 early in the fourth quarter before allowing the Hawkeyes to score two garbage touchdowns in the final period. It outgained Iowa 504-209 for the game.
Matt McGloin had another solid day throwing the football. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns. Bill Belton rushed for 103 yards and three scores on just 16 carries. Kyle Carter caught six balls for a game-high 85 yards, while Jess James and Allen Robinson each caught touchdown passes from McGloin.
The Nittany Lions rank 59th in the country in total offense (406.4 yards/game) and 21st in total defense (317.7 yards/game), including 18th against the run (110.1 yards/game). McGloin is completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,788 yards with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Prediction: Penn State 27 – Ohio State 24
With five straight wins by double-digits, the Nittany Lions are clearly a force right now. They come into this game with a ton of momentum and should be favored against an Ohio State team that has three Big Ten wins by a combined 11 points, including that overtime victory at home against Purdue last week. Ohio State’s ranks 106th against the pass and will struggle to slow down McGloin. Penn State ranks 18th against the run, and it will be able to keep Miller and the Buckeyes’ rushing attack in check. This is simply a match-up that favors the home team.