This is the best defense Ohio State has faced to date. The other top end defense was Michigan State, who held Braxton Miller and Co. to just 17 points. Where Sparty couldn’t take advantage, Penn State will. PSU’s offense is well built to expose OSU’s weakness at linebacker with the 4 big tight ends. Not only is LB a weakness for the Buckeyes, but they have really struggled in pass coverage. Expect Gilliam, Carter, Lehman and James to find openings for McGloin. Keep an eye on Bill Belton as a receiver out of the backfield as well. It will be close, but All Everything (except Lombardi and Lott candidate) Michael Mauti channels his inner Tamba Hali, and sacks Miller late, forcing a fumble that seals the game.
The Buckeyes enter this game on an eight game winning streak while the Nittany Lions have reeled off their last five in a row. Something has to give in the madhouse that is Beaver Stadium. In order for Penn State to win, they have to hold the Buckeyes rushing attack below their season average of about 250 ypg. Also, Penn State has to control the clock and time of possession just like they did against Northwestern. Penn State can take advantage of Ohio State’s 109th rated pass defense with short throws over the middle to the tight ends and the slot receivers.
Look for McGloin to have another good day (or night) if his offensive line gives him time to throw. The multi-dimensional Penn State rushing attack led by Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak will be a needed change of pace as Penn State tries to hold onto the ball.
In the end, I really, really want to go with Penn State. My heart says one things while my brain says something different. Oh, what the heck, since Bill O’Brien doesn’t punt…neither am I! Penn State will use the crowd noise to their advantage as they force Braxton Miller into a couple errant decisions. Matt McGloin will throw for over 250 yards and 2 scores as Michael Zordich adds another. Penn State holds on late as the Penn State Whiteout brings the boys luck yet again.
My guess is that it’s a close game and comes down to a special teams play. Advantage: Buckeyes.
Throughout the first few games I expected this matchup to get ugly, at the expense of PSU. Bill O’Brien and his staff have done a tremendous job of staying focus and bouncing back. My feeling is OSU has limited success — mostly on the ground — while the OSU D leaves much to be desired. The Lions methodically put together 10-12 play scoring drives and deliver a win for what should be a raucous Beaver Stadium.