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Penn State Football: Previewing The Opponent: Ohio State

by on October 21, 2016 2:00 PM

Penn State is facing Goliath this weekend as the Nittany Lions are prepped to take on the No. 2 ranked Buckeyes trying to pick up win No. 5 on the year after opening the season at 4-2. Ohio State is 52-23 all-time in night games so a White Out crowd will have its hands full just as much as the Nittany Lion defense.

Here is what you need to know about Ohio State.

Last Week:

The Buckeyes might be undefeated but that doesn't mean that Ohio State is going through the motions without a scare or two. This past week Ohio State avoided the upset by No. 8 Wisconsin in overtime to the tune of a 30-23 victory. The win is Ohio State's sixth of the year and yet another with the Buckeyes scoring 30 or more points. Ohio State topped out with 77 against Bowling Green in its season opener with last week's 30 points the lowest output on the year.

After Penn State it will be Northwestern and No. 8 Nebraska for the Buckeyes.

The Offense:

Ohio State is fourth in FBS and second in the Big Ten with 49.3 points per game which makes this Buckeyes offense as potent as they come. JT Barrett makes his return trip to State College after quarterbacking the Buckeyes to a victory in 2013. Barrett is Ohio State's all-time lead with 89 touchdowns. Behind him it's Mike Weber who has 612 yards on 94 carries and four scores to go with it, his 102 yards a game is second best in the Big Ten. Curtis Samuel leads the receiving corps with 24 catches for 403 yards and three scores to his name. Ohio State's offensive front hasn't changed yet this year and has been a key to Ohio State's rushing attack.

The Defense:

A +8 turnover margin is fourth best in the nation and Ohio State's 12.8 ppg allowed is third best in scoring defense nationally. Linebacker Jerome Bake leads Ohio State with 39 tackles and has five tackles for also this season. Malik Hooker leads the way with four interceptions for a secondary that has recorded 10 interceptions so far this season. In total nine different players have 10 or more tackles on the Buckeyes defense, Tyquan Lewis has four sacks to his name while Nick Bosa added three more to Ohio State's total on the year. 

The Player To Watch:

Mike Weber is a straightforward choice here but as JT Barrett goes, Penn State's chances go. If the Nittany Lions can stop the run it will come down to the pass and Penn State's strength going up against the Buckeye offense. That's easier said than done and Ohio State's Top 10 third down conversion rate means getting off the field will be nearly as important as scoring points. Barrett's threat to run coupled with all of Ohio State's weapons means keeping him under control is key. Easier said than done, but that's the mission. Penn State will also have to control the offensive front, which is also easier said than done.

The Prediction:

Penn State will give the Buckeyes a challenge but how long that challenge lasts remains to be seen. If the Nittany Lions can score some first quarter points that will go a very long way towards hanging around in this one. All told though it's probably too tall of a task to pull this one out and a second half surge will end the upset bid. 35-17.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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