The #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0) host the Penn State Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-1) for a Saturday evening game in Columbus.
After winning the first two games of the season, the Nits have alternated L’s with W’s, with their last game an exciting 43-40 win over TTUN two weeks ago. Penn State had a bye week to recover from that game and to prepare for this week’s contest.
This is Coach Bill O’Brien’s (BOB) 2nd year, and he seems to be continuing last year’s success (8-4) under challenging coaching conditions. Although the Lions feature Thunder (Zack Zwinak, 6’1” 240) and Lightning (Bill Belton, 5’10” 205) as their running backs, freshman QB Christian Hackenberg truly leads this offense. Hackenberg is averaging 284 YPG (3rd in B1G) on 26 attempts per game.
His key receiver is junior WR Allen Robinson (43 rec, 16.5 YPC, 5 TD). Robinson is 6’3” and 210 pounds. That presents some physical match up challenges. As you may guess, PSU throws to their TE’s quite a bit, with the 6’7” Jesse James and 6’3” Kyle Carter being the main targets.
Historically, Penn State’s offense has averaged slightly more yards passing than rushing. Not under BOB. In the past season and a half, PSU is running a yardage ratio of 65/35 in favor of passing. This is not your Pa’s Penn State offense by any means.
Meanwhile, Ohio State is coming off a 2nd half will-imposing win against Iowa. It was a return to 2012, as Miller and Hyde carried the running game with 42 carries for 251 yards between them.
Ohio State on Offense Read More
As we inch closer to the opening kickoff on Saturday, no team in the B1G is more intriguing or crucial to the success of the B1G than the Penn State Nittany Lions. Even though they are not eligible for the post season, a successful season would only strengthen the conference as a whole.
As Bill O’Brien enters into his second season, I sat down for a few minuets with statecollege.com writer, Ben Jones, and gathered a few of his thoughts heading into the 2013 season. Don’t forget to follow Ben on Twitter, @Ben_Jones88
1. Heading into the offseason, how much angst was there in Happy Valley waiting to see if Bill O’Brien would stay or not?
I think there was a fair amount of stress for fans the first few weeks after the offseason. Once O’Brien had his sitdown of sorts with the media to hash a lot of the rumor and speculation out I think that for the most part the fear left. Will he ever leave? Probably. But I think for now people expect him to stick around for the next few years.
2. In your opinion, is O’Brien the man to lead PSU through these sanctions and out the other side to relevancy again?
O’Brien is the kind of coach that I think Urban Meyer was. Unknown, and had a chance to prove himself and did and it was all “glory” from there. I’m not saying O’Brien is the next Urba Meyer but I think you can see qualities that he has that other elite coaches have. I think he stays through the sanctions and how Penn State comes out of them will depend on his future with the program. If he were to stay though I think that there is evidence to suggest he would do very well in Happy Valley.
3. Where does the QB battle stand heading into game week? Read More
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 6, the Ohio State’s margin of victory over Penn State on October 26th, 2002, 13-7.
The Buckeyes moved to 9-0 on the season by edging the Nittany Lions in a defensive stalemate. Some of the offensive woes could be attributed to Maurice Clarett being injured in the 1st quarter, necessitating Ross/Hall to run the tailback position. Ohio State survived four turnovers (2 fumbles, 2 interceptions) while Penn State did not survive three interceptions. Despite the fact that Penn State had a 1st quarter 80 yard TD drive, this game was won on the shoulders of Ohio State’s defense and special teams. Will Smith intercepted a pass at the PSU 32 to set up a short Mike Nugent FG to pull the Buckeyes to within 7-3.
Less than two minutes into the 3rd quarter, Chris Gamble made OSU’s 3rd interception of the game and returned it 39 yards for a TD, of course. Later in the period, Nugent capped one of Ohio State’s few sustained drives with a 37 yard FG to seal the deal.
In addition to providing the scoring fireworks for OSU, Gamble had the distinction to be the first two-way starter in nearly 40 years for the Buckeyes. Read More
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 8, the Ohio State’s margin of victory over Penn State on September 20th, 1975, 17- 9.
This game in Columbus, was the 1st between Woody Hayes and Joe Paterno. As you’d imagine, this was a defense-dominant game. The Buckeye took an early 7-0 lead, then alternated FG’s with Penn State closing the gap 7-6 at the half. The Nittany Lions’ kicker was Chris Bahr (of The Kicking Bahr’s), so you know there’d be FG’s aplenty.. This also marked OSU’s first victory over PSU in more than a couple tries, four to be exact.
After OSU’s Tom Klaban and PSU’s Bahr traded field goals, the Buckeyes went into the 4th quarter with a 10-9 lead. The 4th quarter game-winning drive was sustained by Archie Griffin’s over the shoulder catch on a 3rd down wheel route. Eventually, Pete Johnson scored the game clinching TD.
Earlier, I told you that this was a defense-dominant game. Ohio State moved to 2-0 on the year, not giving up touchdown to that point, and held PSU w/o a TD for the first time in 27 games.
In this video (from Vico @ OHD, at the time) you’ll also notice what an offensive force Pete Johnson was: Read More
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 11, the Ohio State’s margin of victory over Penn State on October 30th, 2004, 21-10.
Yet another defense-first game in these series played out in Columbus. Penn State outgained Ohio State, 247 yards to 202 yards. In a game where two horrifically bad offenses were required to suit up, OSU’s ‘O’ came out on top by messing up less.
Ted Ginn Jr. got things rolling with a 67 yard punt return for a TD. Three plays later, OSU’s Tyler Everett (you guessed it) returned an interception 24 yards for another TD. In the 1st quarter, Ohio State ran 6 plays, netted 12 yards, and were leading 14-0. That, friends, is doing more with less.
The teams traded TD’s in the 2nd quarter, with the Buckeyes taking a nearly insurmountable 21-7 lead into the half. The only points in the 2nd half were a PSU field goal with 9:31 remaining to provide the final of 21-10. Not a work of art, but a conference win is a conference win.
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 12, the Ohio State’s margin of victory over Penn State on October 27th, 2012, 35-23.
The Buckeyes rolled into Beaver Stadium for another White-Out Game. As expected, it turned into another Pick-Six Game as Ryan Shazier coupled a 17 yard interception return the play after a nine yard sack. Thank you, Ryan.
The game was tied 7-7 at the half, then Ohio State proceeded to pull away in the 3rd quater, outscoring PSU 21-3, based on Shazier’s pick-6 and two, 1-yard Braxton Miller TD runs, one of which he displayed video game-like moves.
I’m not kidding. Thanks to Kade at MotSG.
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 24, an Ohio State victory over Penn State on November 7th, 2009, 24-7. We’re coming down the homestretch with our countdown, so I’m going to mix in some games where the days remaining will equal an Ohio State score.
Ohio State rolled into Happy Valley and left smiling after dominating the Nittany Lions. The buckeyes took a 10-7 lead into halftime, then wrapped things up with a 3rd quarter Prior-Posey TD (62 yards) and a 4th quarter Prior-Saine TD (6 yards) TD. Both teams recorded 125 yards passing, but OSU gained 228 rushing while holding PSU to 76 yards on 20 attempts. This game was also notable that there were no pick-6’s.Ross Homan did have the only interception of the game, but despite the opponent, could not return it for a score.
To jog your memory, here’s this:
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 53, specifically Ohio State’s thrilling 28-25 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions in Beaver Stadium on October 7th, 1995. Ohio State had some late game heroics the previous week to beat Lou Holtz’s Notre Dame team.
Late in the 4th quarter, the Buckeyes trailed 25-21. At this point, I turn the narrative over to the team at The Buckeye 50 Yard line for their very descriptive account of the game, particularly the game-winning drive;
With 2:57 left on the clock, Hoying dropped back, got good protection and saw that Rickey Dudley had sped past linebacker Gerald Filardi again down the middle. Hoying pumped as if he was going to throw which drew the attention of safeties Clint Holes and Kim Herring to Dudley. Hoying finally let fly and Dudley went up after the ball. With Herring barreling towards him, Rickey collared the pass while getting blasted from behind by Holes. The big tight end, who had been criticized as a receiver for bad hands at times, held on to the catch of his career and the Buckeyes had a first down at the Penn State 13. Hoying would finish the day with 354 yards passing, but these 33 would be the most important. Now it was bread-and-butter time- Eddie George over Orlando Pace on the left side. Eddie bolted for 7, giving him 99 yards for the game. On the next play, Nicky Sualua and Eddie set up in an offset-I to the left. Rickey Dudley came in motion from right to left to add even more beef. Orlando Pace pancaked his man, Sualua absolutely buried Kim Herring, and Eddie breezed right by linebacker Jim Nelson and went into the endzone untouched, putting the Bucks back into the lead. Josh Jackson tacked on a significant point-after and OSU led 25-21 with 1:42 to play.
So, there you have it; big-time players such as Hoying, Dudley, George, Saluua and Pace making big-time plays when needed.