(9) Ohio State (8-0) at Penn State (5-2)|
Saturday, October 27, 5:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: In a battle between two storied programs that can't win the Big
Ten Conference or even go to a bowl game this year, the ninth-ranked and
undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes pay a visit to the surging Penn State Nittany
Lions on Saturday evening.
It wasn't pretty, but the Buckeyes remained perfect on the season as they
slipped past the visiting Purdue Boilermakers in overtime last Saturday,
29-22. Ohio State is 8-0 for the first time since the 2007 squad opened at
10-0. Urban Meyer's first year in Columbus has certainly been a memorable one,
but the team got a scare when starting quarterback Braxton Miller went down
with an injury in last week's game.
As for the Nittany Lions, they posted their fifth straight win in convincing
fashion last Saturday night, whipping the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road in a 38-14
final. It was Penn State's first victory in Iowa City since 1999, and coach
Bill O'Brien's squad has now won five in a row after dropping its first two
games of the season.
According to Ohio State's records, the series between these two border rivals
is dead even at 13-13. The Buckeyes have won two in a row in Happy Valley and
three of the last four there overall.
Last weekend, the Ohio State offense gained 342 yards, while Purdue did
slightly better at 347 yards. Miller, one of the more versatile signal-callers
in the Big Ten this year as evidenced by the 293 total yards per game he
averages, had a rough outing before suffering what was deemed as a head/neck
injury in the third quarter, going just 9-of-20 for 113 yards with no TDs and
one interception. Kenny Guiton came on in relief to hit 6-of-11 passes for 77
yards, a TD and a pick, but his two-yard scoring strike to Chris Fields helped
the Buckeyes tie the game at the end of regulation. RB Carlos Hyde rumbled his
way to 91 yards and two TDs, one of which was the game-winner in the extra
session. Miller added 47 yards and a score of his own before heading to the
Ohio State averages roughly 250 ypg on the ground, with Miller (959 yards, 10
TDs) and Hyde (545 yards, nine TDs) doing the bulk of the damage. As a passer,
Miller is hitting just 58.7 percent of his throws and has 11 TDs against five
interceptions. Corey Brown is the club's leading receiver with 44 grabs for
447 yards and a TD, but Devin Smith has turned his 23 receptions into a team-
high 505 yards and six scores.
Purdue averaged just 3.0 yards per carry last week, finishing with 117 rushing
yards, while its passing exploits resulted in 230 yards and two of the team's
three TDs -- the other coming on a 100-yard kickoff return. LB Ryan Shazier,
who is OSU's leading tackler this year with 76 stops, which includes 7.5 TFL
and two sacks to go along with nine PBU and a forced fumble, paced the
Buckeyes against the Boilermakers with a dozen tackles, while DL John Simon
finished with nine stops.
On the year, Simon owns three of the team's 16 sacks, and DB Travis Howard has
three of its 11 interceptions.
Hyde was quick to praise Guiton after the Purdue game, and knows the backup
will be ready to go should Miller not be able to play this week.
"When Braxton [Miller] went down it was detrimental to our offense, but we
knew Kenny would step up because he knows the plays and can come in and
execute just like Braxton. He works so hard, to get his chance to play is
Penn State QB Matt McGloin went 26-of-38 for 289 yards with two TDs, hitting
11 different receivers Penn State's rout of Iowa. TE Kyle Carter finished with
six catches for 85 yards, while WR Allen Robinson finished with six grabs for
39 yards and a TD. RB Bill Belton carried the ball 16 times for a career-high
103 yards and three TDs on short runs in each of the second, third and fourth
quarters -- they were the first rushing scores of the sophomore's career.
McGloin has hit the mark on 62.5 percent of his throws for 1,788 yards (255.4
ypg) with 14 TDs and only two interceptions. Zach Zwinak (369 yards, three
TDs) sits atop the team's rushing list, but Belton (233 yards, three TDs)
isn't far behind despite appearing in three fewer games. Robinson has eight TD
catches as part of his 47-reception, 563-yard campaign.
The PSU defense was on the field for less than 22 minutes, held Iowa to 20 net
rushing yards, notched three turnovers, and came away with four sacks last
Saturday. Jordan Hill led the stand with a season-high nine tackles, seven of
which were unassisted, while Michael Mauti tallied eight stops and registered
his team-leading third pick of the year.
As they were last week, the Lions have been stout against the run this season,
allowing just 113.0 ypg and only four rushing TDs. Their effort against the
pass yields 209.7 ypg, and foes have scored just eight TDs through the air. As
a result, PSU is giving up a mere 15.7 ppg, and a total of 19 sacks and 15
turnovers have been recorded. Mauti leads the club in both tackles (65) and
McGloin was pleased following the win at Iowa, and is excited for this week's
clash with Ohio State.
"We definitely needed a big win here (Iowa), and now we have some momentum
going into Ohio State. It's going to be the White House. It's definitely going
to be an exciting atmosphere."
On paper, Ohio State is probably the better team, but if Miller can't go or is
less than 100 percent then the playing field evens out a bit. Penn State
appears to be on a mission this season as it attempts to put the distractions
of the last year in the rearview mirror. Expect another physical Big Ten brawl
between two teams that don't have much more than pride to play for at this
point, and for the Lions to be all smiles when the final second ticks off the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 27, Ohio State 24
10/24 10:42:06 ET