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It’s Penn State week! While this is a marquee matchup, some of the shine came off after the Nittany Lions bumbled their way to a nine overtime loss to lowly Illinois. And to think … James Franklin’s name keeps coming up for jobs at USC and LSU.
Ohio State upheld its end of the bargain, continuing its winning ways in dominating fashion. The Buckeyes obliterated Indiana over the weekend to keep their stock high and continue to climb.
These two proud programs get ready to lock horns on Saturday night in Columbus as the Buckeyes look to continue their winning ways.
NEXT … Records and broadcast information
Ohio State (6-1), Penn State (5-2)
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Saturday, Oct. 30
Game Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT
Venue: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, Ohio ) Capacity: 104,944
All-Time Series: Ohio State leads 21-14
Last Meeting: Ohio State defeated Penn State 38-25 in 2020
Next … The game plan
Ohio State game plan for victory
Ohio State will get its first true test since a loss to Oregon in Week 2 and since shuffling defensive coaches. The Buckeyes have looked totally different since. However, it could be said the competition hasn’t been all that imposing. But the Buckeyes have gotten better each week and done exactly what they should have.
Now a Penn State team comes to town that seems battered and bruised. Sean Clifford did not look fully healthy against Illinois on Saturday. We know Clifford is a capable quarterback and has a big-time weapon, Jahon Dotson, but the Nittany Lions running game has not established an identity.
Illinois was able to sack Clifford four times Saturday. The Ohio State defensive line has to be licking its chops after seeing that stat. Clifford can scramble when needed, but the Buckeyes defense has been much more disciplined this year and I don’t see them letting him free often. Pressure the QB, negate the playmaking ability of Dotson.
Offensively, CJ Stroud keeps moving up the Heisman charts, as he should. His stats over the past several weeks have been eye-popping. However, Penn State had trouble stopping the run against the Illini, giving up 357 yards on the ground. Yikes! TreVeyon Henderson, as well as the backups, could be in for a big day.
Ohio State’s ability to score quickly has shocked opponents into submission early. The Buckeyes scored 30 points in the second quarter before Indiana knew what hit it. If Penn State allows the Buckeyes to score at will, it could be a scary night for the Nittany Lions in the Horseshoe.
Next … The key players for Ohio State
Two Key Players For Ohio State
Jaxon Smith-Njigba: Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson get all the publicity, and rightfully so as two possible first-round NFL draft picks. But did you know Jaxon Smith-Njigba has a better yards per reception average than both Olave and Wilson. He also is second on the team in average yards receiving per game? There’s just too much talent in Zone 6 to contain them all, and Smith-Njigba continues to shine in Olave and Wilson’s shadows.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba got the crack block on No. 4 and the box out on No. 1 to take two defenders out on TreVeyon Henderson’s First touchdown run pic.twitter.com/ThSuAFXh9Y
— Bill Landis (@BillLandis25) October 25, 2021
Zach Harrison – Defensive End: When following the Bosa brothers and Chase Young, sometimes it’s hard to find your own way. Zach Harrison is starting to live up to the five-star billing he had coming into Ohio State. While the stats may not look impressive on paper, Harrison is doing many of the things that sometimes go unnoticed. Harrison could have a big day in the Nittany Lions backfield.
Zach Harrison earns Ohio State's defensive player of the game award for the second time this season for his performance against Indiana, which included two tackles for loss. https://t.co/a48c54y5jI
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 25, 2021
Next … How it’ll all go down
So, which Penn State team shows up this weekend? The one that beat a top 25 Auburn team or the one that got manhandled by Illinois? And after two straight losses, will the Nittany Lions limp into Columbus or come with a chip on their shoulder?
Sean Clifford doesn’t appear to be at full strength and losing defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher hurts more than most might realize. Penn State has itself backed into a corner, and I expect it to come out swinging.
However, there will not be much fight left. The Buckeyes are figuring things out at the right time, while the Nittany Lions peaked early in the season. They may be able to land punch here and there, but it will not be enough to stagger the defending champs.
The Buckeyes put Penn State out of its misery early and cruise to another impressive victory.
Ohio State 49, Penn State 14
Ohio State favored by 18.5
All Betting Lines are Courtesy of Tipico Sportsbook