I predicted Penn State to go 11-1 this year with a loss to Michigan, and I’m still firmly behind this stance.
Ohio State seemingly always has a talented quarterback to dice up the Nittany Lion secondary, but I honestly have zero belief that Kyle McCord will do that this year. He’s not a bad quarterback by any means, but he has yet to prove he’s of the same caliber as a Stroud, Fields, or even a Barrett.
This will be the difference on Saturday. It doesn’t matter how talented your wide receivers are if you don’t have time to get them the ball, and with guys like Adisa Isaac and Chop Robinson coming after him, McCord will struggle to do just that.
Meanwhile, a defensive touchdown will help spark Mike Yurcich’s offense, and Drew Allar will remain calm, cool, and collected in his return to the great state of Ohio. A late field goal puts the Nittany Lions up two possessions, and we all have a fantastic Saturday.
Penn State 31, Ohio State 21
In the preseason I predicted the Lions would lose to OSU and beat UM. At the halfway point those feel like they should be flipped, but mama didn’t raise no coward, so I’ll stick to my guns.
Penn State’s defense keeps them in the game well into the second half, but the offense can’t capitalize. The slow, clock-churning drives sputter out against a solid Buckeye defense and eventually the defense breaks down in the fourth quarter. A late drive to tie the game ends when a deep ball is forced and is intercepted by OSU.
Ohio State 27, Penn State 24
Sorry, but Pessimist Lando returns yet again. After watching the Nittany Lion offense through six games, it is hard for me to be super confident that the offensive line can hold up against Ohio State’s pass rush, and will struggle to get the running game holes to run through. The defense will keep Penn State in the game, but the wealth of weapons offensively is just too much in Columbus.
Ohio State 21, Penn State 17
In our preseason predictions, I said I had two major concerns this season: Ohio State and Michigan. Therefore, I was in prove it mode in predicting a 10-2 record. Well, nothing has happened thus far to make me change my mind. I think Penn State is a very good football team, but I have questions about its offense in big road spots. I think that’s the difference. In a game with two great defenses, Ohio State’s wide receivers make enough plays to frustrate us all.
Ohio State 23, Penn State 14
I predicted 11-1 in the BSD preseason roundtable, with the thought in my mind that PSU’s lone loss would be on the road in Columbus. Unlike some of my fellow BSD colleagues, I reserve the right to change my mind based on how the teams are looking. OSU no doubt has the best receiver room in the country, led by Marvin Harrison Jr and tight end Cade Stover, and their defense has been a solid bend-but-don’t break type.
That being said however, I can’t get out of my head just how much Maryland’s defensive line gave the Buckeye O-line major fits and pressured Kyle McCord for a good portion of the game. Now imagine Chop Robinson, Adisa Isaac, and Dani Dennis-Sutton doing the same as they bring in the greatest PSU defense I have seen in my lifetime (including the late 90’s teams with LaVar Arrington and Courtney Brown). McCord is a very good QB who has improved over the course of the season, but nobody is mistaking him for CJ Stroud, Justin Fields, or Dwayne Haskins. I think Manny Diaz will get the pressure he seeks and will end up flustering McCord into making some critical mistakes which lead to a couple of turnovers, including a pick-six or scoop-and-score.
For all the talk about PSU’s offense and how it lacks explosiveness, it’s been pretty damn efficient. Look for a healthy dose of Allen and Singleton picking up enough yards to keep PSU on schedule and set them up with 2nd/3rd and manageable situations as they march downfield, where they have scored a tremendous 27 touchdowns in 33 trips to the red zone. Furthermore, I feel Drew Allar is due for a true breakout game, what better place to do so than in his first trip back to his home state rocking a PSU uniform? [Insert “I am nourished by your hatred” GIF here].
I’m normally pretty bearish about PSU’s chances against OSU, but damn it, this year feels different, and it’s time to have some faith! Give me the Lions to get the dub and keep the dream of crashing the CFP party alive.
Penn State 31, Ohio State 23
This is the first time in many years I’ve felt confident entering the Ohio State game. If Penn State’s offense is able to stay on schedule and play ball control, I like our chances. Keep the defense fresh and keep Marvin Harrison Jr off the field as much as possible. I don’t see Ohio State having the massive advantage at QB, OL, and DL like they have been accustomed to having against Penn State the last six years.
It should be a close game, but I see the greatest Penn State defense in a generation forcing a key turnover and the offense salting the game away in the fourth quarter.
Penn State 27, Ohio State 21
Eli (Originally Appearing in the Big Ten Preview)
Generally speaking, most pundits, and most reasonable people, agree that Penn State is good, but we don’t know how good. Now they get to prove whether they’ve made the jump to “elite” on Saturday, as they travel to Columbus to take on an Ohio State team that has its own concerns going into the game.
The Buckeyes, up until last week, had not been as explosive as they are accustomed to. They also have a couple of players who are integral to what they like to do, who may sit out (or not be at 100 percent) of this game. Penn State has not beaten Ohio State in Columbus since 2011, and has only beaten the Buckeyes twice in that time span.
Penn State 56, Ohio State 17
Jared (Originally Appearing in the Game Preview)
I vowed to never pick Penn State in this match-up back in 2018 until they actually went on the field and proved they could beat the Buckeyes. There were just too many instances of Penn State coming in with a great gameplan and playing their tails off, only for the Buckeyes to make a few plays at the end to pull out a victory. Well folks, this Penn State squad is forcing me to think otherwise.
For one, the match-up between Penn State’s front four and Ohio State’s offensive line should be a major advantage for the Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes seem likely to struggle runing the ball, and could find a hard time dropping back and throwing into the Nittany Lions secondary, even with an all-world receiver on their side. While I expect Penn State punter Riley Thompson to have his busiest day thus far, the offense should prove efficient enough to take what the defense is giving to them and produce on a few scoring drives, especially if the defense is able to create a short field.
Secondly, it seems as though Penn State has gone a long ways towards tightening the talent gap that allowed the Buckeyes to pull through most years. They simply had more playmakers, and this showed when someone needed to step up and be a difference-maker in key moments. Well, Penn State is not only much deeper, but have difference-makers all over the field compared to previous seasons when they had to rely on one or two players on each side of the ball. Now it will just come down to players like Abdul Carter, Chop Robinson, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Kalen King and many others to step up and make the play when needed.
This team has restored my faith and has me believing. The defense can slow down the Buckeyes offense while the offense does just enough to get the victory, with those big, momentum-shifting plays finally going Penn State’s way at the end.
Penn State 21, Ohio State 17
I’m going to join the mass media consensus and saying that this game can really go in any direction. Both of these teams have plenty of unanswered questions that you would think will be answered by Saturday evening. Can Penn State be explosive when in needs to? Is the Buckeye offensive line good enough to stop Chop Robinson & Co.? Can James Franklin out-coach Ryan Day. Is Kyle McCord actually good? My gut feeling is that the Nittany Lions’ defensive strength and methodical offense will be enough to outlast Ohio State. But, still, we’ve seen this train been derailed so many times before.
Penn State 30, Ohio State 27