Ohio State was favored by 50-some points last week against Rutgers, but then only scored 50-some points themselves, so when you look back at our staff picks last week, just know that Vegas was way off too.
That being said, not everybody was way off.
In fact, only one person wasn’t a mile away from the actual score of 56-21.
With her 63-14 prediction last week, Caroline Rice won the staff picks pool for Rutgers. She was the only person who gave the Scarlet Knights more than seven points and her 63 points for the Buckeyes were the lowest among the pickers.
But now things get serious. Penn State comes to town and there is absolutely no way Ohio State beats the Nittany Lions by more than they beat Rutgers.
Before you answer, let’s see what everyone here has to say.
The week is finally here! I have not exactly hid my disdain for Penn State over the years. I think they are frauds and they should not even be used in the same sentence as Ohio State. I know it’s a noon game but I hope Ohio Stadium is loud and puts on a show on Saturday.
Offensively, we have a decent chance of seeing the Buckeye starting offense play quite a bit on Saturday. After seeing Minnesota (339 passing yards and 3 TDs) and Indiana (371 passing yards and 1 TD) feast on the PSU secondary, this may be Justin Fields’ week to shine in the passing game. He has been very accurate and looks good but he has not been needed to take over a game. Expect to see the trio of Olave/Hill/Victor take over early before turning the reins over to JK Dobbins and company.
On defense, the front seven will be key to this game. They have to be aggressive but disciplined to keep Sean Clifford from scrambling. If I’m the Buckeyes, I’m just letting Chase Young lose and see what happens. He’s going to have some pent up stuff going on. Expect to hear Malik Harrison and Shaun Wade’s name A LOT this week.
Ohio State 49, Penn State 17
The final part of Ohio State’s 2019 regular season schedule is back loaded and we’re entering that part this weekend with a visit from Penn State. The Nittany Lions have shown a good run defense in 2019 but the secondary has been picked on, especially in the past couple of games. I think the Nitts will raise their level on Saturday and give the Buckeyes their best shot but I still think Justin Fields and OSU’s group of wide receivers will be able to find success.
Fields will need to get the ball out more quickly this week and the game might be a bit tight until late but I think the Buckeyes will prevail at home on senior day, especially with Chase Young returning on a mission. The score line below is weird but I had an odd dream that Ryan Day went for a two-point conversion in this game. If KJ Hamler doesn’t play you might be able to remove one of Penn State’s touchdowns from the score below and I might be underestimating the OSU defense again anyway.
Ohio State 39, Penn State 28
This series has been incredibly close the last few seasons, but this year’s matchup sure doesn’t look like it will go down to the last minute.
The Penn State defense has been great against the run, but a disaster against the pass. The Buckeyes should be able to run it at least a little, which should open up the passing game even more. If OSU can get to 4 yards per carry on the ground, they’ll win. If it’s 5 YPC, they’ll win easily. If they’re at 6 YPC, it’s going to be a bloodbath.
On the other side of the ball, PSU’s offensive line has been shaky all season. That’s not a good thing for a team that’s going to face a rested and likely angry Chase Young.
Noah Cain is a game-time decision. K.J. Hamler may be less than 100 percent, and could miss the game as well. I just don’t see how PSU consistently stops the Buckeyes, or gets to 21 points on offense without some help from their defense or special teams.
Ohio State 34, Penn State 14
You’re going to hear two things about Penn State: 1) They are an extremely talented football team; 2) They are the best team Ohio State has faced this year.
While both are true, there’s a third you should hear: Penn State is not playing the same level of football now as they were in September.
The Lion D started the year as world beaters and recorded 10 sacks in a single game versus Purdue. Since then, their D-Line play has fallen off the map. They’re currently averaging less than 2 sacks a game since.
The PSU offense is also not the same offense we started getting used to when Barkley and McSorley were in Happy Valley. Their top 4 rushers would need to combine as one person to equal JK’s rushing output this year.
This will be a tough game and we shouldn’t expect a blowout of another Top-10 team. However, this Buckeyes team is rolling right now and gets its defensive leader back this week. Look for a tighter game than we’ve seen but not as close as the experts think.
Ohio State 35, Penn State 24
Maybe I am being an alarmist, but I am struggling to understand why Ohio State is so heavily favored. Do not get me wrong, as I have watched this team, like all of you, destroy team after team this season. Something about Penn State has me concerned. Maybe it’s because several of the players on Penn State’s team were heavily recruited by Ohio State, yet spurned the Buckeyes to become Nittany Lions. Or maybe it’s because Ohio State has had to rally the last two seasons, only winning by one point in both 2017 and 2018.
Ohio State has so much going for it with this one – last home game of the season (boy, did that go by fast this year), the return of Chase Young, and a group of seniors who are probably going to be playing with a lot of emotion. Penn State will make it interesting, but Ohio State has too much for the Nittany Lions to keep pace all through the game.
Ohio State 38, Penn State 24
Penn State is the most talented team Ohio State has faced so far this season, but I do not think this game will be a fourth-quarter dog fight and I do not think this game will be like the other Penn State games the past few years. This Ohio State team has been waiting for this game and by the way they have been playing, I don’t see anyone getting in their way. Penn State is just the next team on the list and the next team the Buckeyes will expose.
Penn State’s rush defense has been very strong this season but Ohio State has faced talented run defenses this season and it has been no problem for the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions’ pass defense has been struggling and I think Justin Fields will have another big day and will take advantage of that. With Chase Young being back this week and the pressure PSU quarterback Sean Clifford will feel from the Buckeye defensive front, I think making plays will be a challenge for him.
Ohio State 48, Penn State 21
Thus far, in November, Penn State’s pass defense has made Tanner Morgan and Peyton Ramsey look like Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. While both are solid QBs, neither possesses the supporting cast or natural abilities of Justin Fields.
I look for Ryan Day to have this offense prepared to immediately take advantage of a porous Nittany Lion secondary. Once softened up with some good chunks of pitch and catch yardage, J.K. Dobbins can eat up yards on the ground and keep the defense guessing.
PSU will get into the end zone more than we’d like, but not enough to put a scare into the Buckeyes. Chase Young attacks the tackles and Clifford mercilessly, picking up where he left off.
The Buckeyes roll in this one, making a statement against a top ten opponent.
Ohio State 52, Penn State 27
Ohio State holds the advantage in every positional area of this game, save for maybe “what to do with tight end Pat Freiermuth?” I don’t see that equating to 35 points for Penn State, however.
Penn State’s pass defense looks a lot like Ohio State’s last year, which isn’t good news for the Nittany Lions, rain or not. Expect some big plays in the Buckeye passing game. Running the ball has been an issue for each of Penn State’s opponents, but nobody has held Ohio State under 200 yards this season, and I’ll be surprised if it happens this weekend.
The Penn State offense is fine, but it is not dynamic. The offensive line hasn’t been great. The running game is okay, but they do have significant talent. The production just hasn’t been there. Quarterback Sean Clifford is good, but needs to be great. In fact, the entire Penn State roster needs to be great, as does the coaching staff. And then they’ll still need help.
Ohio State 45, Penn State 17