#15/12 Ohio State at #11/10 Penn State
Beaver Stadium, State College, PA
The Buckeyes need to win the next three games to both capture a least a share of their fifth consecutive Big Ten title and their first trip to the Rose Bowl since the 1996-97 season. OSU visits Penn State on Saturday as the rivalry continues to have conference and post season implications. Last year, PSU won beat the Buckeyes in Columbus for the first time since joining the Big Ten in 1993 and with one conference loss; the Nittany Lions need this win to keep their Rose Bowl dreams alive.
Last weeks game could not have gone more wrong for Tresselball. Yes the final was 45-0 but the Buckeyes lost their veteran field goal kicker for the season and the two backups have little to no experience. Tress leans heavily on his kicking game to make up for the pathetic red zone offence we have seen over the last few years and without a proven kicker, Tressel will have to change his game plan. Penn State has one of the best defenses in the country as they lead the NCAA in scoring defense, giving up just 9.3 ppg, while ranking fourth in sacks (3.56), fifth in rushing defense (84.11) and total defense (254.78) and sixth in pass efficiency defense (95.65). With the way the offensive line has been playing, this Buckeye offense doesn’t stand a chance.
The crown jewel of this year’s team. This unit continues to shine week in and week out. They will have their hands full with Penn State’s superstars RB Evan Royster and QB Daryll Clark. The defense has the ability to keep the Lions in check and if the offense can sustain long drives to keep the “D” fresh, the Bucks will have a chance.
This is not going to be a fun game to watch for Buckeye fans. The offensive line has let the team down all year and has stifled the development of Terrelle Pryor. 2010 must see a change in the coaching of this line or Pryor will be a wasted talent. I hope I’m wrong but a win on Saturday is likely out of the question.
Prediction: PSU 34 - OSU 7
Why OSU will win:
Defense: The defense will have to win this game with turnovers and three-and-outs.
Why OSU will lose:
Offensive line. Don’t expect this unit to get any better in 2009. Their poor play will prohibit the Buckeyes from establishing any type of offensive firepower.
Bold prediction for the game:
I think I’ve already said it; if the Bucks hope to stay in this game the defense will need to pitch a near shut-out and snag a turnover for a score. Otherwise, the Bucks lose big.
Crazy stat of the game:
-Penn State has never beaten the Buckeyes in two consecutive seasons.
-OSU has the tenth best offense in the Big Ten. ugh
Nitany Lion players to watch:
Senior QB #17 Daryll Clark
Junior RB #22 Evan Royster
Junior WR #6 Derek Moye
Senior LB #43 Josh Hull
Senior DT #91 Jared Odrick
R-Freshman DE #81 Jack Crawford