Friday, October 07, 2005

Week Six: #6 Ohio State (3-1, 1-0) at #16 Penn State (5-0, 2-0)

It is absolutely mind boggling hearing some of these "experts" and their picks regarding Ohio State-Penn State. Now I don't blame Buckeye fans for projecting a victory or the "experts" for projecting an Ohio State victory, I take disdain in the fact that people are expecting Ohio State to blow out Penn State. I have but one word- why? There is nothing in the history between these two schools (10-10 in 20 games) that indicates a blow out. Two years ago the Buckeyes and their 14 future NFL draft picks rolled into Happy Valley and escaped by the hair on the their necks, 21-20 against what is widely regarded as the worst team in the history of PSU's program. Then last season in Columbus, the Buckeyes won 21-10. The score isn't indicative of what a close game it was. The Buckeyes lucked out and ended up getting a pick six and a Ginn kick off return TD. Penn State could have easily won 10-7. So someone please explain to me why in the biggest game in Happy Valley in years, in front of a 110,000+ crowd and with a clearly improved offense and still solid defense, OSU is going to win a blow out. Ohio State hasn't beaten anyone yet that PSU couldn't have. Minnesota was even ranked higher than Iowa when Ohio State knocked off the Hawkeyes in their most recent game. The Buckeyes lost their biggest game to date against Texas, at home, at night in a game that they should have won. The Nittany Lions are pumped and ready to go and if the Buckeyes roll in expecting to push this PSU team around, Jim Tressel's record after a bye will fall to 1-4. Also, keep in mind that Ohio State traditionally loses a Big Ten game every season that they shouldn't. Last season it was at Northwestern, under the bright lights on ESPN. Two years ago they lost to Wisconsin, under the bright lights of ESPN. Why not turn the trick and make it three in a row?

The key to victory for Penn State is minimizing turnovers. The Lions and Michael Robinson in particular made great strides last week in protecting the football. They will need a repeat performance to win this game. I honestly believe that PSU's wide receivers are fast enough to force Ohio State to either commit to stopping the pass and allowing PSU to run on them, just not to the degree that Minnesota's confused defense allowed last week. The key for Ohio State will be to get the ball to Ted Ginn more than they have recently and stop Penn State's wide receivers. Ohio State is going to have to beat Penn State through the air. Pittman is a nice back but he isn't going to have much success against the PSU defense that ended Laurence Maroney's Heisman run. The Penn State defensive backfield surrenders a big play once in awhile but is otherwise solid. Chris Harrell will keep Holmes and Ginn from coming across the middle on a regular basis unless they mind getting laid out regularly. Some people think this will be high scoring, some think it will be a defensive battle. I say that it will fall somewhere in between.

My Prediction- Penn State 28, Ohio State 21
The Penn State crowd will push the Nittany Lions to a big, big victory. Derrick Williams will score a big touchdown late in the third quarter and the defense will step up big and shutdown the Buckeyes in the final 15 with Tony Hunt running the clock out. Suddenly all will be right again in Happy Valley.


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