Over the past two Thursdays, we’ve taken a short glance at Ohio State’s nonconference schedule and the first half of the Big Ten games.
While back to back matchups against Michigan State and Nebraska in weeks five and six will be tough tests for the Buckeyes, the final four games are the ones Buckeye fans are waiting for.
This is particularly true for the last two; given the lack of a post-season this year, both matchups will be the culmination of the season for the seniors and a hungry team looking to finish on an up note. While the rest of the country is preparing for their bowl games, Buckeye coaches will be on the recruiting trail- a strong finish will certainly go a long way to solidifying yet another stellar class.
Oh, and there’s not exactly “friendly feelings” with those two programs anyway.
Week 9, Oct. 27: Ohio State at Penn State
(Beaver Stadium—State College, Pennsylvania)
2011 record: 9-4
Returning starters: 9 (4 offense, 5 defense)
It has been dubbed “The Battle of the Banneds.” Both Penn State and Ohio State will not be playing in bowl games in 2012, but they will square off Oct. 27 in Happy Valley. Ohio State has had recent success in games at Beaver Stadium, winning its last meeting there with the Nittany Lions, 24-7, in 2009.
Thanks to its recent sanctions, Penn State has lost several players to transfers. It leaves the Nittany Lions in a tough situation for 2012 and beyond. There will be a lot of hype surrounding this game, though, because both teams are ineligible for postseason play and will want to prove something to the rest of the nation.
Week 10, Nov. 3: Illinois at Ohio State
(Ohio Stadium—Columbus, Ohio)
2011 record: 7-6
Returning starters: 15 (8 offense, 7 defense)
The only way Ohio State could lose this game is by looking ahead to its contest next week against Wisconsin. But, that’s why they play the game.
Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is a dynamic athlete that has the ability to create problems for defenses. But, the Buckeyes should be disciplined enough to contain Scheelhaase. And, with superstar wide receiver A.J. Jenkins no longer in the mix, it should make for an easy Ohio State victory. Read More