It is finally here: judgement day for the Nittany Lions.
With the Big Ten East on the line, the Penn State Nittany Lions will be welcomed in to Ohio Stadium to face one of the most complete teams in the nation. The Buckeyes are superior in talent, statistics, and what some consider the “eye test”. Ohio State is heavily favored by 18.5 points. Still, Penn State has reason to be hopeful as a young pride finds themselves 9-1 for the first time in a long time. Let’s jump into the predictions.
Brandon Musso (9-1) & (5-5) vs. The Spread
After a week a prep for Indiana, Penn State again struggled with the same secondary issues that ailed them in their loss to Minnesota. Despite a relatively strong start to the season, the Nittany Lion secondary has now had two consecutive weeks of serious struggles. They now face the best offense they will see all season long, Ohio State.
The secondary is very clearly the key to the game. If Penn State wants to come out on top this weekend in Columbus, they need to limit the high powered Buckeye offense. The game will be over very quickly if the secondary continues to have the same breakdowns we have seen over the last two weeks.
I think this game will be a lot closer than people expect but I don’t believe Penn State will come out on top. The secondary will continue to struggle and the Buckeyes will be booking their trip to Indy for another opportunity at a B1G Championship.
Penn State: 31 Ohio State: 38
Kraigen Rasalla (9-1) & (3-7) vs. The Spread
In the biggest game of the year, the Penn State defense will have to find the magic that made them one of the best units in the nation through their first 8 games. It will not be easy as they go against the dynamic Ohio State offense led by QB Justin Fields. On the season, Fields has a touchdown to interception ratio of 31 to 1. That is pretty, pretty good.
In order to bounce back defensively, the Lions will need to generate more of a pass rush than they have in their last two games. They have 3 sacks in those two games, which is far from the expectations of Sean Spencer’s Wild Dogs.
One thing that should help slow down the Buckeyes’ offense is that rain is in the forecast. In rainy conditions against Wisconsin, the Buckeyes played sloppy and were shut out in the first quarter. However, they did rally to win 38-7. Meanwhile, Sean Clifford proved he can throw in rainy conditions, as he threw 4 touchdown passes in the rain against Michigan State.
Unfortunately, I do not think Penn State comes out of Columbus with a victory, although I do believe they cover the pretty ridiculous spread of 18 or 19 points, depending where you look.
Penn State: 17 Ohio State: 24
Cory Lestochi (8-2) & (4-6) vs. The Spread
I have dove deep into Justin Fields this week to understand the quarterback better. I think he is really good when his team is really good, but this week he was asked the last time he had to lead his team down the field to win a game. His answer? Junior year of high school.
The Buckeyes haven’t had to play anyone close and that’s a credit to how dominant they have been all season. This team is better than the Nittany Lions. I don’t think they are 18 points better so if you wanna win some money, you should jump all over that spread.
And look, on my podcast I took Ohio State to win a close-one, but thinking it over more and more today, just like the Michigan State pick (which I was entirely right on), I am going to change it up today…
Thanks Herb…Great moments are born from great opportunity. Penn State plays this Ohio State team 10 times, they may only win one, but maybe that’s Saturday.
Penn State: 34 Ohio State: 31