Penn State – Ohio State Predictions

Matchup: Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2) @ Ohio State Buckeyes

Where: Ohio Stadium

When: Saturday, October 30th @ 7:30pm EST

TV: ABC

Penn State is coming off yet another heartbreaking loss. In a major upset, Penn State lost a 9OT thriller against Illinois at Beaver Stadium. Since their BYE week occurred the week before the Illinois loss, the Nittany Lions don’t have much time clear their heads as they are headed out to the Horseshoe for a primetime matchup with the Buckeyes this Saturday. In one of their toughest matchups of the year, can the Nittany Lions turn it around? Find out what the For the Glory team thinks.

Brandon Musso (4-3)

Penn State is coming off one of their worst losses in a long time having capped off a rainy miserable afternoon with a 9 OT loss to a then 2-5 Illinois. It was a sloppy game almost every where you looked. From the stagnant offense with a clearly limited Sean Clifford, to a rushing defense that gave up more than 350 yards. There wasn’t really any positives to pull from that game which appeared to be team playing uninspired football, a common theme for Franklin coached teams following an emotional loss to a top ranked team. 

After a loss like that, Penn State is thrown right back into the thick of it with a road matchup in Columbus against Ohio State. The Buckeyes do have one loss this year, having dropped a game to Oregon early in the season. However, they have since worked their way back to their current No. 5 ranking. This is a tough game as it is every year but Penn States loss last week has kind of rendered it less important than it has been in previous years. 

As much as I want to do my normal preview/prediction where break down some numbers between the two teams, I don’t think this game is going to be close. Last week, Penn State was clearly uninspired and vastly under prepared. If the game taught me anything, it’s that you can run all the numbers and matchups you want, but if you have a team that played like Penn State did on Saturday, then you can throw all those numbers out the window. Illinois 350+ rushing yards is a clear indication of that. 

With Penn State’s playoff hopes now washed down the drain, I really don’t see them playing inspired against Ohio State. Against an elite team like theirs, you need to not only play inspired but you need to be perfect. Is Penn State up for that challenge? …. I say no.

Penn State 10
Ohio State 41

Kraigen Rasalla (4-3)

It’s hard to go into an Ohio State matchup without any excitement but that’s exactly how I am feeling after Penn State lost one of the most embarrassing games in program history to Illinois last week. It wasn’t necessarily the result, teams get upset all the time in college football. But, watching two teams trade failed attempts from the 3 yard line, the ineptitude from the Penn State offense for the entire afternoon, and the inability to stop the run when you know it’s coming made last Saturday much more painful.

 
Now, this week presents the annual biggest challenge of the year, Ohio State. The Buckeyes looked like they were going to take a step back in 2021 after losing QB Justin Fields and struggling with Minnesota, losing to Oregon at home, and having some more struggles with weaker non-conference opponents. But, the Buckeyes are hitting their stride heading into November after beating up on the weaker teams in the Big Ten. 


The Buckeyes lead the country in points per game (49.3) and total yards per game (559.3). CJ Stroud is proving he is having no problems replacing Justin Fields, boasting a 22:3 TD to INT ratio. The receivers are still ridiculously good as Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are perhaps the best WR duo in the country, yet again. But, the best part of the Buckeyes offense is what could be the banged up Penn State defense’s worst nightmare, TreVeyon Henderson. The true freshman running back is averaging 8.8 yards per rush, which is the best in the country, and is putting himself in the conversation of other great Ohio State running backs already. 


If Ohio State isn’t foolish, they will watch the Illinois game tape and see PJ Mustipher’s injury is leaving a huge hole in the Penn State line and just attack that part of the defense all day long. I think Ryan Day is smart enough to do just that and Ohio State takes care of Penn State at home for their 5th straight victory against the Nittany Lions. 

Penn State 14
Ohio State 37

Cory Lestochi (4-3)

As if these past couple weeks couldn’t get any worse, the Penn State Nittany Lions travel to Columbus, Ohio to play arguably the best team in the conference, the Ohio State Buckeyes. It’s been a tough and dramatic month for Penn State on and off the field. There are questions regarding HC James Franklin potentially leaving (I don’t think it’s gonna happen), the health of QB Sean Clifford, among other distractions.


Yet, we still have a football game on Saturday and Ryan Day & Co. will not be feeling bad for our beloved Nittany Lions. It’s hard to imagine Penn State sleepwalking more than they did in the Illinois game. The effort this Saturday has to be better than the one they displayed last weekend. Right?


Still, effort can only get you so far in a hostile environment against a powerhouse team. The Buckeyes bolster one of the best offenses in the country led by true freshman running back TreyVeone Henderson and a plethora of five star receivers. Although Penn State’s bend but don’t break defense has continued to bail out this team, it’s hard to imagine the wear and tear of a physical season hasn’t finally caught up to them. They almost have to force a couple mistakes from redshirt freshman quarterback, CJ Stroud.


On the other side of the ball, Franklin claims that Clifford is close to 100%, but it’s hard to imagine that’s true when the three-year starter looked closer to 50% last week. If Clifford isn’t able to threaten a mediocre OSU defense with his feet, then I don’t see this off-beat offense keeping pace with their well-oiled machine counterpart.
Penn State is one of the better teams that Ohio State will have played in the past month, as the two teams’ last month couldn’t be more of a juxtaposition. The Buckeyes have been on a tear while the Nittany Lions feel held together by duct tape. I think offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich will find ways to score on this Buckeye defense, but I don’t see a way Penn State wins this game.

Penn State 20
Ohio State 34

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