Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An obligatory look at Ohio State

Overall (7-1)
Youngstown State - W (43-0)
Ohio - W (26-14)
No. 1 USC - L (35-3)
Troy - W (28-10)
Minnesota - W (34-21)
No. 18 Wisconsin - W (20-17)
Purdue - W (16-3)
No. 20 Michigan State - W (45-7)

Team Overview

Ohio State has won 12 out of its last 13 conference home games against ranked opponents and Penn State has not won in Columbus since 1978. The Lions have also lost 10 straight on the road to AP Top 25 opponents two of those were to Ohio State. After getting throttled by USC on the road without Beanie Wells the Buckeyes have won five straight and are coming off an impressive 45-7 killing of Michigan State, a game in which they forced five turnovers.


This team is built to run the ball. With a strong defense to hold teams at bay they can pound you into submission. Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor have combined for over 1,000 yards rushing and Wells is just getting back to midseason form after the injury early in the season. Want further evidence OSU relies on the ground game: Pryor has yet to throw for more than 144 yards in a game. Terrelle is completing 65% of his passes and has only thrown 2 interceptions compared to 6 touchdowns which is very impressive for a true freshman. The Buckeyes best wide receiver is Brian Robiskie who leads the team with 5 of the team's 9 touchdowns but with the low number of passes not one wide receiver has more than 300 yards for the year.


Ohio State is the league's second best defense against the pass and best against the run. In total yardage they rank second and they are third in scoring D. In a word they are good. They are led by universally overhyped linebacker James Laurinaitis who has 75 tackles on the season… no wait make that 78 he just got credited with 3 more assists from Saturday. Actually, outside linebacker and 5th-year senior (hasn't he been there like 10 years now?) Marcus Freeman is much more explosive. Doctor Freeman has more sacks and more TFL (he leads the team in both categories) than Laurinaitis as does outside linebacker Ross Homan the guy opposite Doc Freeman. Corner Malcolm Jenkins is one of the best in the Big Ten and is forth on the team in tackles.

Special Teams

As expected from a top ten team Ohio State is very solid in the special teams department. Punter A.J. Trapasso is 3rd in the Big Ten averaging almost 43 yards per punt and WR Ray Small leads the Big Ten in punt returns averaging 14 yards per. Kicker Ryan Pretorius is solid if not spectacular connecting on 76 percent of his attempts and hasn't missed from inside the 30. The one glaring hole for the Buckeyes is kickoff returns where they rank dead last in the Big Ten.

Game Outlook

With all the history going against Penn State it's hard to pick them in this game. It's an 8:00 PM kickoff and Ohio State is coming off the best game of their season. For Penn State to win they will have to sell out against the run and make Pryor beat them with his arm. It won't be easy, if you focus too much on Wells up the middle Pryor will beat you to the outside. If you focus too much on stopping Pryor they'll pound you with Beanie. If Penn State comes out and plays like they did against Michigan they will get crushed. Having said all that I'm sticking with the hopeless optimist in me and predicting a win.

TNL's Prediction
PSU 24
Ohio State 21

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