Kirk Herbstreit may have played for and loves his Ohio State Buckeyes, but he is also a straight shooter and not afraid to call things the way he sees them. And Herbstreit has been someone who has attempted to keep things in a bit of perspective in light of Penn State’s recent struggles with loss to Iowa and Illinois. While things look pretty gloomy as Penn State is on the road this weekend at Ohio State, Herbstreit had some refreshing thoughts to keep in mind when it comes to the current state of the Nittany Lions.
“You know, we try to make sense out of things that happened. For example, well, Penn State lost to Iowa and they got beat by Illinois, Ohio State’s going to kill them. Maybe they will, I don’t know,” Herbstreit openly pondered during a weekly conference call with the media. “I’ve just seen it too many times that when a team that has talent like Penn State has an off day – they were in a fog against Illinois… And Penn State was just in one of those funks. And to think that they’ve forgotten how to play football is ludicrous. Too much pride on that roster. Too much talent on that roster.”
Herbstreit then served up the idea that nobody should back Penn State into a corner.
“They have been backed into a corner. They have a chance to salvage their season by beating Ohio State in Columbus,” Herbstreit suggested. “I don’t know if they will, but I expect them to be the kind of team you would expect them to be, and not the team that played against Illinois last week.”
Among the biggest concerns Herbstreit noted for Penn State against the Buckeyes was the status of quarterback Sean Clifford. It was reported this week Clifford will be back to 100% against the Buckeyes after clearly being limited against Illinois last week in his first game back from injury. Herbstreit also noted Penn State’s inability to run the football being another serious concern in this weekend’s matchup.
“If he’s healthy, Penn State’s going to have to try to create explosive plays in the run and pass game to stay up with Ohio State,” Herbstreit suggested. “I think that’s the only way that they’re able to be competitive and win the game.”
Penn State is a big underdog Saturday night against Ohio State. But Herbstreit isn’t ready to write off the Nittany Lions just yet.