By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor
No. 20 Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) travels to Columbus for a primetime match up with No. 5 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions are coming off a deflating 20-18 nine-overtime loss to Illinois last weekend in Happy Valley. The Buckeyes defeated Indiana 54-7 in a laugher last week in Bloomington. Ohio State is a 19.5-point home favorite according to William Hill Sportsbook.
Date: October 30, 2021
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
When: 7:30 PM/Eastern
Radio: 1210 WPHT and the Penn State Radio Network
Penn State and Ohio State have met 35-times with the majority coming since 1993 when the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten. The Buckeyes lead the series 21-14 including four-straight wins.
2020: Ohio State defeated Penn State 38-25 in Happy Valley
This game couldn’t come at a worse time for Penn State. A quick recap of the last week for the Nittany Lions, there’s the shocking nine-overtime loss to Illinois, questions about James Franklin’s commitment to Penn State, and the teams’ focus on the upcoming opponent. Factor in the high-powered Ohio State offense and smothering defense, this could end up very badly for Penn State and James Franklin.
There’s a feeling among Penn State fans that this could be the beginning of a downward spiral for the Nittany Lions.
There’s a reason Ohio State is ranked fifth in the nation; the Buckeyes are averaging 49.3 points per game and an incredible 559.3 yards per game. They’re an offensive juggernaut. A quick look at the Ohio State offensive weapons, quarterback C.J Stroud has already thrown for 1,965-yards, 22-touchdowns, and only three interceptions, running back TreVeyon Henderson has eleven touchdowns and nearly 700-yards in six games. The Buckeyes have three wide receivers, Garrett Wilson, Jaxson Smith-Njigba, and Chris Olave, who have over 500-yards receiving to date. Olave and Wilson have eight-touchdowns and six-touchdowns respectively.
That’s a lot of firepower. Penn State will have to do everything in their power to keep this game close.
Offensive coordinator Mike Yurich will have his hands full. A game like this usually calls for a run-heavy, time consuming type of offense but that’s not what Penn State does particularly well. The Nittany Lions will have to go toe-to-toe with the Buckeyes offense. Is quarterback Sean Clifford healthy enough to give Penn State that opportunity? No one knows and that’s the biggest key to any chance Penn State has at upsetting No. 5 Ohio State.
Prediction: Ohio State 42—27