Penn State football is 6-0 going into a top-ten matchup against Ohio State in Columbus this week. This is a battle to see who remains unbeaten and continues towards the College Football Playoff.
James Franklin has struggled against ranked teams as he’s 3-15 against the top ten and 1-11 against the top five.
Not only has Franklin struggled against the top-ten but he’s also struggled with both Ohio State and Michigan as he’s 1-8 against Ohio State (his only win was in 2016) and 3-6 against Michigan.
On the road, Franklin is even worse against ranked teams.
Penn State has played Ohio State a total of 37 times dating back to 1912 when Penn State won the first battle with Ohio State 37-0.
Ohio State leads the series 23-14 and is currently on a six-game win streak, but I feel if Penn State can do these three things they will beat Ohio State.
Neutralize the crowd by scoring early
Penn State has outscored opponents by a combined 82 points in the first half and if you want to defeat the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes you have to score early.
Controlling the ball which Penn State’s offense ranks second in currently (behind Air Force.)
Run the clock down, go on a 10-plus play drive, and cap it off with a touchdown. If Penn State does this early, the crowd will be silent.
Force Ohio State to run
Ohio State’s offense ranks 15th in the country in passing offense with a total of 1,848 passing yards on the season while averaging 308.0 passing yards per game.
The Ohio State rushing offense ranks 92nd in the country which is between Ohio at 91 and Houston at 93.
If the Penn State defense can get to the Quarterback and force bad throws or the defensive backs shut down the receivers, this Ohio State offense shouldn’t be able to push this d-line back in the rushing game.
Ohio State averages 135.0 rushing yards per game
The Penn State defense ranks 1st in the country in total defense only allowing 193.7 total yards per game and 3.42 yards per play.
Penn State is tied for 14th in the country for turnovers gained with 13. Getting the offense a short field or scoring on defense will boost the Nittany Lions. The offense hasn’t produced explosive plays but they also haven’t needed the explosive play to win games.
But with this stout Ohio State defense the Lions must gain a short field as they may not be able to have those long, drawn-out drives that end in touchdowns.
If the Nittany Lions want to defeat a top-three team on the road, especially a team that they haven’t beaten since 2016, they must do these three things to have a good chance of getting the upset.
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