The Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions are the Game of the Week in college football on Saturday. There are some other good matchups out there, but Ohio State and Penn State is the most intriguing game on the board. Ohio State is thinking College Football Playoff, while Justin Fields is thinking Heisman as well.
The Buckeyes opened the season with an easy 52-17 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers last weekend. Things were interesting early on, but once Fields and Ohio State got into a groove there was no slowing them down. They did what was expected of them in Week 1 of the Big Ten.
Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions lost in a small upset against the Indiana Hoosiers on the road. Penn State was ripe for an upset and Indiana were a live dog. The dog ended up winning out in controversial fashion. I will let you be the judge on whether Indiana touched the pylon before going out of bounds. They counted it as a good 2-point conversion try and the play stood along with the game.
Indiana were on the winning side, as Penn State were left reeling in a 36-35 loss in overtime. The Hoosiers took a chance to go for 2 points and it paid off nicely, albeit the play was put under a microscope. Penn State likely had Ohio State circled on their calendar and forgot about Indiana. With such a limited schedule, the loss hurts, but an upset over Ohio State would put them back into the fray in the Big Ten.
The electric crowd we’ve become accustomed to at Penn State in night games is not going to be present. There won’t be a whiteout, but the seats won’t be completely empty. Fan attendance has been capped at 7,500 for the game tonight with Ohio State visiting. It would have helped to have a frenzied crowd to help throw off Fields and the Buckeyes’ offense.
Sean Clifford did a fairly nice job for the Nittany Lions last week against the Hoosiers. He showed a strong ability to move the ball with his arm and legs. Ohio State will have to be aware of both, though Clifford will be forced to outplay a major Heisman contender. Clifford and Fields get the spotlight on Saturday night at Beaver Stadium. Head below for our free Ohio State vs. Penn State pick for October 31, 2020.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Penn State Nittany Lions NCAAF Betting Odds:
Ohio State vs. Penn State Prediction:
Even for the best of defenses in college football, slowing down Justin Fields makes for a difficult chore. If Master Teague and Trey Sermon get rolling on the ground, it will become incredibly difficult to figure out how to stop the Buckeyes. Fields was in mid-season form against the Cornhuskers last week. He threw for 276 yards for 2 touchdowns and no interceptions on 20 for 21 passing. Fields rushed for 54 yards and a score on 3.6 yards per carry. If he wanted to do more damage, the Buckeyes could have easily scored more than 52 points.
It was a competitive game early on, with the Buckeyes leading 14-7 going into the second quarter. With Nebraska unable to get any stops against Ohio State, the Buckeyes pulled away for a convincing win. This is an Ohio State offense that scored at will a season ago. They netted an average of 529.9 yards per game for fourth in the FBS, and 46.9 points per game for third to put them a touch behind LSU and Alabama. They can match that or exceed those numbers in 2020 with another year of experience under Field’s belt.
The Nittany Lions lost all three starting linebackers from last season. Micah Parsons was expected to return to play out his senior season, but decided to opt out and focus on the NFL because of Covid. The star backer is expected to be a major disruptor at the next level. It wasn’t a dumb move to sit this year out. He’s going to be drafted high regardless. Parsons had 109 tackles and all-American honors in 2019 with Penn State.
Penn State, previously known as Linebacker U, regained some of its old charm with the presence of Parsons on the field. However, there is a lot of inexperience there now, and if there was any week to have a full house at linebacker, it would be against the Buckeyes on Saturday night. That’s not going to be the case. The RPO for Ohio State should work to perfection in this one with Fields running the show.
The Lions didn’t lose because of Sean Clifford and the offense last week. He could have avoided the 2 interceptions, but Clifford did throw 3 touchdowns and an additional score on the ground. Clifford did a lot of the damage with his legs. He ran for 119 yards and a touchdown on 7 yards per carry. In his first season as the full time starter last year, Clifford cashed in for 23 touchdowns and 7 interceptions with his arm, and 402 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. I suspect this will be a high-scoring duel between Fields and Clifford.