Like last season, and the one before, Penn State starts the year playing a Big Ten opponent on the road. The Nittany Lions get a bit of a bigger reprieve this time around, as they open up the home slate against the Ohio Bobcats of the MAC.
Frank Solich, who had been the Ohio coach since 2005, retired before the 2021 season to focus on his health. Tim Albin took over, and did as well as you’d expect for someone that was just thrust into the role before the season began.
The Bobcats went 3-9, losing to FCS Duquesne along the way, but got better as the season progressed. Two of their three wins came at the end of the year, as they beat Miami (OH) and Eastern Michigan in November, before losing their last two games.
Offensive Player To Watch: QB Kurtis Rourke
Ohio played a number of quarterbacks last season, but Rourke took the bulk of the snaps for the Bobcats. He completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 1,817 yards, but only had 11 touchdowns to seven interceptions. For an offense that lost its best weapon in De’Montre Tuggle, expect Rourke to see his role increased this coming season.
Defensive Player To Watch: LB Bryce Houston
Houston led the team in tackles in 2021, and he returns in 2022 in hopes of an encore performance. Along with his 104 tackles, Houston had two sacks and eight tackles for loss.
Ohio Wins If...
They channel 2012, the stars align just right, and half the Penn State team gets the stomach bug that was going around last season. Ohio improved as the season went along, but they were bad bad in 2021. A lot would have to go wrong for Penn State to lose this game.
Penn State Wins if..
They show up. As mentioned above, a lot would have to go wrong for Penn State to lose this game.