No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (4-2 SU, 1-4-1 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date/Time: Saturday, October 22nd, 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Beaver Stadium University Park, P.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OSU -20/PSU +20
Over/Under Total: TBA
The Ohio State Buckeyes hopes towards an undefeated season were put to the test last week in a nail biting 30-23 overtime victory over no. 8 Wisconsin. However, Ohio State showed poise behind the big play capability of quarterback J.T. Barrett and made a couple of key plays on defense to move to 6-0 SU on the season. This week the Buckeyes will put their battle tested regime on the road when they go into Happy Valley for a date with the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions had some extra time of preparation for this week’s big game against Ohio State courtesy of a “bye” week. Before the bye, Penn State had rattled of two straight victories at home over the likes of Minnesota and Maryland. Despite a pair of early loss on the road to Pitt and then a blowout loss at no. 4 Michigan, Penn State has played pretty well especially at home where they have now won 10 of their last 11 games. Coach James Franklin has done a great job of turning this Penn State program back towards relevance and perhaps this Saturday’s game could be the possibility for a program changing type of victory.
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Sure Ohio State is more talented and the 20 point spread they are laying to the Nittany Lions is likely warranted. However, Penn State has played pretty well in these big games under Franklin and they held pretty close with Ohio State in Columbus for 3 quarters last year with a much less talented team. So while I am hopeful that Penn State can hand the Buckeyes their first loss of the season, the realization that this is just not a favorable for the Nittany Lions still haunts those hopes. Case in point, Penn State has been pretty bad against the run giving up 208 yards per game to rank 103rd in the FBS.
On the flip side, the Buckeyes are one of the most dangerous rushing attacks in college football. A large part of that is in thanks to J.T Barrett that gets a lot of attention in the Buckeyes’ backfield which opens up holes for running backs Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel. Both Weber and Samuel have combined for more than 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns while averaging over 7 yards per touch in just 6 games. Meanwhile, Barrett has added another 434 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground as well. As a team, the Buckeyes are averaging 300.5 yards per game which is the 4th most in the FBS.
Those numbers are a bit scary for a Penn State team that has struggled pretty significantly to stop the run. Of equal relevance is the fact that the Nittany Lions are extremely banged up. Several starters will likely miss this Saturday’s game. If you just look up the Penn State injury list, it is like looking at an itemized receipt from the grocery store. Therefore, they are going to have a lot of new faces and inexperienced players trying to stop one of the best run groups in America. Not exciting!
Additionally, Penn State is not exactly injury free on the offensive side of the football either. They have a couple of offensive lineman that are also banged up which will hurt considering the fact the Nittany Lions lean heavily on their offensive line with their running game. Running back Saquon Barkley is having a great season and is coming off the heels of his career best performance against Maryland where the sophomore ran for 202 yards in the 38-14 victory over the Terps. This offense needs Barkley to have another big game because honestly quarterback Trace McSorley has not proved that he is going to put this offense on its back. Therefore, the run game will likely determine Penn State’s success in this one. Unfortunately, I just think the matchup favors the Buckeyes again.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Ohio State -20
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