The “Buck” Stops Here: Rematch in The Shoe
Four Things to Look for: Penn State vs. Ohio State
1. College GameDay in Columbus
College GameDay will be following Penn State to Columbus to witness a rematch in The Shoe. This is the second time this season that College GameDay enters Columbus and the third time Ohio State will be featured. The crew was present when the Buckeyes hosted Oklahoma in the beginning of September. Ohio State lost that matchup 31-16, for their only loss on the season. Furthermore, it is the second time the Nittany Lions are featured this season, the first being a week ago against Michigan.
2. Penn State offensive line against Nick Bosa and company
The Penn State offensive line has been a conversation point for the last three seasons. The unit has gone from abysmal to decent to steady over the last three years and is currently running steady through the first seven games of the season. The bye week two weeks ago was just what the offensive line needed to get back on track against arguably the toughest defensive front seven they would face in Michigan. The o-line rose to the challenge, allowing the Nittany Lions to rack up 506 yards of total offense.
The Nittany Lion offensive front will face another tough test for a rematch in The Shoe on Saturday. The Buckeye defense is playing great, especially defensive ends Nick Bosa and Sam Hubbard. Bosa is leading the team with 12 solo tackles on the season and four sacks. It should be noted, however, that Bosa did not have a single tackle against a lackluster Nebraska offense two weeks ago. He did have two quarterback hurries, but going into Nebraska he had at least one sack per game. Containing Bosa is important, but will not be enough. The other end of the Buckeye defensive front has Sam Hubbard. Hubbard is coming into the game Saturday with five tackles for loss and two sacks this season.
Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead needs to continue being creative on Saturday. When asked about Saquon Barkley, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer stated, “No question, he’s the best all-purpose guy we’ve probably faced in probably, maybe my career…” Trace McSorley must force the Buckeye secondary to make big plays against a dominant Penn State offense that has many receiving weapons, including Heisman hopeful Saquon Barkley.
3. Revenge as a factor on both sides of the “v”
Penn State will travel to Columbus for a rematch in The Shoe on Saturday. Last season Penn State upset heavily favored, then No. 2, Ohio State during a White Out in Beaver Stadium. When asked about getting revenge for last season’s overtime loss, Urban Meyer, stated “Sure. Is revenge a motivator? Yeah, it is.”
This does not make sense though, The Buckeyes made the College Football Playoff and lost to Clemson 31-0 despite having the loss on their record. If anyone is out for revenge it is the Nittany Lions. Penn State won the Big Ten Championship after beating Ohio State and winning the rest of the regular season. Ohio State made the College Football Playoff despite losing to Penn State in a head-to-head match up and without winning the Big Ten Championship. The Nittany Lions have something to prove and they are not going to let Ohio State get in their way.
4. J.T. Barrett against Penn State linebackers
Last week the Penn State linebackers left holes in the middle and coaxed John O’Korn to run through them. The Nittany Lions will have to use a different strategy against Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett on Saturday. Barrett enters Saturday with 359 rushing yards on the season, in addition to 1,838 passing yards. He is the Buckeyes second leading rusher with five rushing touchdowns.
Barrett is also a very experienced college quarterback, it feels like he has been the Buckeye signal caller for ten years, in reality it has been four. He only has one interception on the season, but he will be facing the No. 1 defense in the country in fewest points allowed on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are currently allowing just 9.6 points per game and have not allowed a score in the first quarter. Penn State linebacker Jason Cabinda is coming off of a big game where he was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. If the linebackers coupled with the defensive line can force Barrett to throw the ball on Saturday, the Nittany Lions should be in good shape.
Last season Penn State upset, then No. 2, Ohio State in Beaver Stadium under the lights. This Saturday, October 28th, the No. 2 Nittany Lions take on No. 6 Ohio State for a rematch in The Shoe. This will be the toughest test for No. 2 Penn State as they travel to a hostile environment. The only saving grace for the Nittany Lions is that Ohio State is not boasting a great win-loss resume this season. Ohio State has only played two teams with a winning record and lost to one of them.