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Ohio State Buckeye Preview

The Film Room

Take a look at some of the things the Buckeyes like to do in the rushing game.

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This is classic Ohio State. A lot of pulling guards and a bruising running back that hits the hole hard and runs you over. Now let's look at the passing game.

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Brian Robiskie is the deep threat. But Boeckman is a smart quarterback that knows where his outlets are and dumps it often to avoid the pressure. Look for Ohio State to pass out of the shotgun on long yardage situations to keep the PSU pass rush at bay.

Here is their defensive line in action.

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And here is their secondary including two interceptions where the Washington quarterback throws the ball right at Laurinaitus. I still say he's overrated.

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Stats and Stuff

There it is. I'm not going to sugar coat it for you. The Lions are in for a fight in this game. The offenses are pretty even statistically. The Buckeye defense is statistically the best in the country. But Penn State's defense isn't too shabby either.

If there is one area where Penn State may have an advantage it's special teams. Ohio State's return game is terrible. This is good because our kickoff coverage team is equally terrible. This could be a key matchup in the game that determines if the Ohio State offense has a short field or long field to deal with.


This game could go either way. Both offenses are going to have trouble moving the ball and scoring points. In a low scoring game it always comes down to field position and turnovers.

Penn State knows the kickoff coverage team is bad and I'm sure they've been working on correcting that all week. Given how bad Ohio State is at returning kicks and Kevin Kelly's ability to kick the ball in the endzone three out of ever four kicks, and Jeremy Boones ability to pin the opponent deep, the Buckeyes should have a long field to start with most of the night. Penn State and Anthony Morelli have to be patient in taking what the defense gives them. Take the field goals and put whatever points you can get on the board.

On defense Penn State has to get pressure on Boeckman. He demonstrated against Michigan State that he can be rattled. This is his first big game on the road as a Big Ten quarterback. The crowd will be hostile and communication will be difficult. I look for Ohio State to run out of the shotgun a lot on long yardage utilizing a silent snap count. While this will cut down on offside penalties, it will prevent the offense from audibling and it will give the defensive lineman an advantage in anticipating the snap count.

I think Justin King will rebound this week after being outphysicalled (as JB would say) against James Hardy. Ohio State doesn't have anyone seven inches taller than King to worry about. Boeckman will be frustrated all night and eventually the Penn State pressure will get to him. If they can force some turnovers Penn State will win the game.

But like I said this game could go either way. It's quite possible Morelli could throw two or three picks of his own and the fumble prone running backs could put the ball on the ground. Like I said against Wisconins, if Penn State limits it's turnovers to two or less we win. More than two we lose. Assuming both teams play clean this game is too close to call. So I have to go with the home team.

Team Comparison
Statistical Category Ohio State NCAA Rank Penn State NCAA Rank Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 199 22 186 66
Passing Offense (ypg) 216 71 220 66
Pass Efficiency Offense 156.2 9 129.1 57
Total Offense (ypg) 415 40 406 49
Scoring Offense (ppg) 34.3 33 33.1 37
Rushing Defense (ypg) 62 2 80 9
Passing Defense (ypg) 146 2 200 31
Pass Efficiency Defense 86.8 1 109.1 23
Total Defense (ypg) 209 1 280 7
Scoring Defense (ppg) 7.9 1 15.0 4
Net Punting (yards) 38.3 14 40.6 2
Punt Returns (yards) 10.6 42 13.2 20
Kickoff Returns (yards) 16.8 119 21.0 69
Turnover Margin 0 60 0 60 Even
Sacks Per Game 3.1 12 4.4 1
Tackles for Loss 8.0 13 9.1 5
Sacks Allowed Per Game 1.1 15 2.0 63
Ohio State 10
Penn State 13