Blog Mob . . . ASSEMBLE!
German Shepherd loves Penn State -- hates Ohio State! (via Linden Pike)
Welcome back to the Blue/White Roundtable! This week, the Nittany Lions go west and cross the border to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes LIVE! from The Horseshoe in Columbus!
This week's panelists straight from the Penn State blogosphere - our own Cari Greene, Matt De Bear and Eric Sion from Victory Bell Rings, and Zach Fegely, Tim Johnson, Ali Soho, Matthew Pencek, and LB from PennLive's 50-Yard Lion Blog!
Four overtimes. Two traditional powers. 108,000 people. What'd you think? Was it the Big Ten's Game of the Year?
Cari: Simply, pure awesome. I was in awe. It was definitely the game of the year, and probably the game of a few years...I hope. Hopefully we'll see it replayed for years to come, without the OTs being cut out.
Eric: As a senior Nittanyville camper who had a front row view of Allen Robinson's catch, it was, well, I'm still unable to put it into words. The student section filled up, [most] students stayed for the whole game (and were loud) and it was just freakin awesome. For a week after the game, my voice was still hoarse and my body still ached just from all the emotion that that game put me through. So far, I think it was the Big Ten Game of the Year. But there are a lot of good games left to unseat it. I don't think that I'll ever witness another Penn State game like that one in my lifetime.
Zach: First off I have to say that I am so happy and thankful that I was able to be in the student section for the most epic game I have ever witnessed. This game probably took about five years off my life but it was totally worth it! This is easily the game of the year and is probably the best game every played in the Big Ten! That is how amazing it was. It had all the drama, blocked field goals, missed field goals by two great kickers, a true freshman leading a game-tying drive in 30 seconds, Allen Robinson making an unbelievable catch, and all in front of a rocking white-out that was as loud as a chainsaw the whole day! This game made a whole lot more people Penn State fans and was HUGE for our recruiting class (already had 2 commits since then) and I think this will be the game that people look back to as the staple of this new-era Penn State program. I am still shocked and dumbfounded about this game! Can't stop watching it!
Tim: Oh man, what a game. Yes, absolutely game of the year to this point, and possibly the best game I've ever attended-beyond 2005 OSU, and beyond that year's Orange Bowl. For those griping that it was boring or low-quality football, you aren't grasping the essence of competition. It was that terrible, uncomfortable, queasy feeling while we teetered on the cliff's edge of losing, perpetuated numerous times by impossibly faint rays of hope-all finally overwhelmed by the feeling of cathartic euphoria when Bill Belton scampered into the corner of the end zone. I can't even imagine how good it felt to be on that sideline at that moment. The fact that the skies cleared and the weather was perfect-that it was Michigan-that we hadn't had a big win, let alone one so dramatic, at home in so long-that I got to share it with my friends and family long into the night since it was Homecoming-it all made the game so much sweeter.
Two games ago, we lost by 20 points to Indiana. Last week, we beat a ranked Michigan team that was previously undefeated. What was the difference in those two games?
Cari: The difference was confidence. Everything was going Indiana's way in Bloomington, and it deflated the team-you could see it on the field. Against Michigan, though, neither team had the definite edge, and momentum swung back and forth-which had our team thinking they could pull it out, and they ultimately, obviously did. This will bode well down the road-not so much for this week, though, in my opinion.
Matt: I don't know how accurate this really is, but Penn State looked like a team that thought because they were Penn State, and the other guy was Indiana, they should be able to just walk into Bloomington with a win. That obviously is not the case these days. I thought that PSU played with a ton more urgency against Michigan, and how could you not? Like it or not, when you're dealing with a bunch of 18-22 year old kids, it's hard to get them up for every game, no matter how hard you try.
Ali: Quite simple, it was simply executing on both sides of the ball. People want to continue to complain about the game plan, play calling, Hack's reads, etc. It all comes down to simple execution. If we did the little things right in the Indiana game, we would have won that contest without a doubt. The difference between that game and the UM game is that we responded with a certain tenacity, fire, and determination. It was "that moment" that I was looking for when Hack would break his calm demeanor, reveal his true competitive passion, and emotionally lead the offense. Let's hope that emotional outbreak continues to fuel this offense and sparks his growth into the leader on that side of the ball.
Pencek: Penn State radio announcer Steve Jones made the point during the pre-game show of the Michigan game that the Wolverines' offense may have more talent than Indiana, but their scheme matches-up better for Penn State's defense and what it is capable of doing and not doing. The Nittany Lion "D" has struggled against the up-tempo spread offenses, something they saw very little of against Michigan.
The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes have played each other to a draw throughout their history, and the last decade has had several memorable meetings. Your pick for the better Penn State victory - 2005 or 2008?
Cari: I'd like to say 2005 because the atmosphere at the Beav in that game was so incredible, and it truly symbolized the fact that we as a program were back-but I'm going to have to go 2008. It showed that 2005 wasn't a fluke, and that we were good even when Daryll Clark was out and we couldn't score a bajillion points. It was our first victory in the ‘Shoe in forever, and that got that monkey off of our back for 2010. It showed we could beat a good OSU team, on the road, at night, and deserved once again to be in the discussion. Plus, I like silencing that big OSU dude with the neck paint-that's always fun.
Eric: Those were both awesome wins. But I'm going to go with 2005 because the Tamba Hali sack on Troy Smith is my favorite play in Penn State football history. It was also a signature game that marked Penn State emerging from the dark years and it sent a message to the rest of the country that the Nittany Lions were no joke. In 2008, although that Ohio State team was very good, Terrelle Pryor was still just a freshman and I think that contributed to the Buckeyes' demise. I would just like to add that the 2011 win has a special place in my heart because I was there and it was an incredible victory considering what happened the week before.
LB: I attended both games, and 2005 still stands out to me as the golden standard of wins over Ohio State. I may be biased because that game was my first night meeting and White Out, but I'll never forget Tamba Hali flipping Troy Smith upside down, causing a fumble that sealed the win for Penn State and setting off hysteria in the student section, where I was sitting. Whenever I see replays of that moment, the night comes flooding back to my memory.
Zach: Man this is like deciding who is your favorite between your two kids. Both were amazing games and monumental wins but I will have to go with the upset in 2005. I watched the game from the reception of my brothers wedding which thankfully had one TV with a little bar. I can still remember seeing Hali come off the end and just waiting and hoping he got there in time. Seems like it took forever but Hali got the sack and forced the fumble to seal the game. It was the first ever "white out" and showed everyone that Penn State was back to being a dominant power in college football!
Cari: Unfortunately, not so much with the fun this year. I hope we keep it close and cover, but I don't really think we will. I think it's going to be around 42-27, Buckeyes.
Matt: I think PSU can have some success against Ohio State's defense. The key will be to establish a running game, or at least enough of one to keep Noah Spence, Joey Bosa, and Adolphus Washington from teeing off on Hackenberg. Iowa also exposed some weaknesses in OSU's LBs and secondary with their tight ends in the passing game. However, I think you'll see OSU stick to a familiar blue print of wearing teams down in the 3rd and 4th quarters by pounding Carlos Hyde at a tired defense. PSU plays hard, but doesn't have the horses, falling 31-20.
Eric: This Ohio State team is quite good. This is the first real hostile away game environment that Hackenberg will play in and it will cause lots of problems for him. Braxton Miller will hurt Penn State a lot with his legs, just like Devin Gardner did. Ohio State wins, 34-17.
Pencek: Penn State will give Buckeye fans moments of concern, Christian Hackenberg will have a good game, but Ohio State will do enough to win and push their winning streak to 20. Ohio State 34 Penn State 24
LB: Penn State may be carrying momentum from their big win against Michigan, but I still don't have enough confidence in the team to pick them over Ohio State. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised again, just as I was last week. Ohio State 37, Penn State 24.
Zach: I was crazy enough to predict a win against Michigan when everyone else (even die hard Penn State fans) said we had no chance so I will keep the train rolling this week. Ohio State is a solid team but they haven't impressed me like the No. 4 team should and they aren't invincible. Kirk Herbstreet put Ohio State on upset alert so this is a very winnable game. I would like our chances more if we were at home but I still think Penn State can win. Our offense is going to be able to put up points against Ohio State, a team that gave up 207 yards to Abbrederis so Allen Robinson and company should have a great day. Urban Meyer said he is worried about our TE's and with Robinson, Felder, and Geno Lewis, the TE's could have a big day. I think Jesse James is going to create havoc against Ohio State since he is so tough to match up against. Our defense can stop their offense. Only thing that worries me is Braxton's scrambling ability, especially coming off a game where Gardner rushed 27 times for over 100 yards. Two weeks ago I predicted the Penn State would beat Michigan in three overtimes, which turned out to be one off, but I am on a prediction hot streak. Penn State wins this game and ruins Ohio State's chance at a national title, 38-35.
Tim: I want to pick us to win, I really do. After reliving that ridiculous Michigan game, and the great 2005 and 2008 PSU-OSU contests, I feel like we can accomplish anything. But when I picture this coming Saturday, all I can see is getting Ohio State to third and long, and our coverage is holding up, and Braxton Miller slips away, and he doesn't look like he's running that fast, but somehow he gets to the sticks a split second before we do, and trots out of bounds harmlessly with a fresh set of downs. And I picture it happening over and over and over and over. And then I picture our offense keeping pace with theirs much as Iowa's did, but then in the second half we punt once, and that's all it takes since OSU's offense is in total control, and Urban Meyer just doesn't know how to lose...
Oh, what the hell. Braxton turns the ball over at a critical juncture, and joins his buddies Troy Smith and Terrelle Pryor on the Mount Rushmore of Buckeye stupidity. State College riots ensue. PSU 34, OSU 31.
Ali: My gut is telling me to pick Penn State in this one, but my head is telling me to go with the safe pick in Ohio State. While most of us agree that Ohio State is overrated, I would still conclude that right now they are more complete team than we are. Veteran QB, 2nd year in system, 19 game win streak, etc. If Hack and this team can continue establish their resilient identity and form some sort of consistency with the ground game, I think Penn State has the edge. However, with PSU lacking consistency and Ohio State knowing that they are playing prime time in the national spotlight, I think they'll show up to play. I'm picking OSU in a close one in Columbus.
OSU 31 --- 27 Penn State
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