Ohio State vs Penn State: Game Preview, Prediction and Players to Watch
Ohio State vs Penn State preview:
COLUMBUS, Ohio - No. 2 Ohio State barely made it through its first big challenge of the season on Saturday night, escaping Wisconsin with a 30-23 overtime victory after a clutch second-half rally.
Now it's on to Penn State for another prime-time matchup this Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ABC) against a Big Ten opponent.
Coach Urban Meyer summed up the attitude of the Buckeyes after the hard-fought win at Wisconsin when he said, "That was a ballgame."
Indeed it was. Ohio State fell behind 16-6 at halftime but outscored Wisconsin 23-7 in the second half and overtime to remain unbeaten and atop the Big Ten East Division standings with Michigan.
"We did get outplayed," Meyer said. "I wouldn't say we got out-toughed. They didn't out-effort us. They had some very good stuff. Very good team, very good coaches, and you keep swinging.
"As anguished as that was, as much of a root canal as that was, I'd much rather have it that way for that kind of game, for the development of your team."
This week, Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) will be trying to extend its road winning streak to 21 games, the longest in the country, when it visits Happy Valley. Penn State (4-2, 2-1) is not quite up to its usual standards of the Joe Paterno era but always seems to give Ohio State a game in State College.
Two years ago, quarterback J.T. Barrett and defensive lineman Joey Bosa helped the Buckeyes get out of town with a double-overtime road victory before a raucous white-out crowd. Barrett turned in a gutty performance after suffering a sprained MCL, leading the Buckeyes to the comeback win.
Meyer thought that game was lost.
"I just remember thinking what am I going to say to this team afterwards? It crossed my mind," Meyer recalled. "And he kind of just took it on his shoulders. I get to see things that all fans do not get to see. I get to see him about six inches from my face and see the intensity and the focus and the human spirit that is as good as I've ever been around."
Barrett did the same Saturday night against Wisconsin, where he led a second-half comeback against the formidable Badgers.
The redshirt junior ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and completed 17 of 29 passes for 226 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Barrett's 7-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Noah Brown in the overtime was the difference.
In the win, Barrett set a school record for touchdowns responsible for with 89, breaking the mark set by former quarterback and wide receiver Braxton Miller from 2011 to 2015.
"I've been lucky, you know. You look at some of the quarterbacks that I've been blessed to coach and I've been around and I know in that situation that's who I want behind center," Meyer said of Barrett. "He didn't play his best game, when he does it's incredible. The absolute test of a leader is to raise the level of play of those around you and he's surrounded by a bunch of guys who are newbies this year.
"It's a quarterback's responsibility to pick up his level of play, same with a bunch of new receivers so that's what makes J.T. so special."
Ohio State's defense gave up 236 yards on the ground and 45 total yards against Wisconsin. But like the offense, the Buckeyes made adjustments at halftime and limited the Badgers to one touchdown in the second half.
This week, Ohio State will see one of the Big Ten's best running backs. Sequon Barkley has rushed for 582 yards and eight touchdowns on 117 carries. Barkley ran for 202 yards against Maryland a week ago.
"That's number one on the hit parade as far as Penn State, to stop them," Meyer said of Barkley. "You won't stop him, but minimize the impact the running back has on us."
Penn State is hoping that a bye week and a "White-Out" game with 107,000 fans in Beaver Stadium will inspire an upset. The Nittany Lions, though, are just 1-4 in "White-Outs" since 2011, including two losses to the Buckeyes.
"We're going to need the fans," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "We're going to need the alumni. We're going to need everybody. This is a tremendous challenge we have that we're facing all together, and we're going to need the stadium to be the most difficult environment in the history of college football come Saturday night."
Buckeyes vs Lions Preview
Ohio State has had many great quarterbacks over the years, but J.T. Barrett stacks up well with the Buckeyes' best. Barrett and the second-ranked Buckeyes visit Penn State on Saturday evening looking to remain undefeated as they continue another impressive season under coach Urban Meyer.In last week's win at Wisconsin, Ohio State continued its run of scoring 30-plus points in every game this season, although the team's scoring average dipped to 49.3, still good for fourth nationally. Barrett ran for two touchdowns and found Noah Brown for the winning score in overtime - Barrett's school-record 89th overall touchdown. "I definitely think it is a blessing to have a quarterback as great as him," said Brown. "As a wide receiver, it makes a lot of things easier. The leader he is as a player keeps us focused and driven, so it's a blessing to be able to play with him." Penn State has won back-to-back games despite a brutal schedule in which its opponents have been a collective 18-1 before facing the Nittany Lions this season.TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: Ohio State -19.5ABOUT OHIO STATE (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten): The Buckeyes have won 20 straight road games - a school record and the longest active streak in the country - thanks to a balanced dominance on both sides of the ball. In addition to its top-notch offense, Ohio State yields 12.8 points per game and has given up only one touchdown on the ground all season, not to mention 13 turnovers forced in six games. Mike Weber averages 102 rushing yards for the Buckeyes, who have scored a rushing TD in 58 of 60 games under Meyer.ABOUT PENN STATE (4-2, 2-1): The Nittany Lions were off last week following a resounding 24-point triumph against Maryland thanks in large part to Saquon Barkley (career-high 202 rushing yards). Barkley has eight rushing TDs this season, although he had averaged under four yards per carry in each of his previous two games before his breakthrough performance against Maryland. Trace McSorley has contributed 154 rushing yards over the last two games while leading the Penn State air attack that ranks third in the Big Ten in passing.EXTRA POINTS1. Meyer is 17-0 in the month of October as Ohio State coach.2. Ohio State has won 13 consecutive night games. 3. Penn State has won 10 of its last 11 home games.PREDICTION: Ohio State 37, Penn State 23
Ohio State Depth Chart for Penn State
|LT||74||JAMARCO JONES||6-5||310||JR||DE||6||SAM HUBBARD||6-5||266||SO|
|75||EVAN LISLE||6-6||308||JR||OR||11||JALYN HOLMES||6-5||274||JR|
|OR||63||KEVIN WOIDKE||6-6||295||SO||97||NICK BOSA||6-4||265||FR|
|LG||73||MICHAEL JORDAN||6-7||310||FR||DT||93||DRE'MONT JONES||6-3||280||FR|
|69||MATTHEW BURRELL||6-4||305||FR||OR||53||DAVON HAMILTON||6-4||297||FR|
|C||65||PAT ELFLEIN||6-3||300||GS||DT||77||MICHAEL HILL||6-3||305||JR|
|79||BRADY TAYLOR||6-5||300||SO||67||ROBERT LANDERS||6-1||285||FR|
|RG||54||BILLY PRICE||6-3||315||JR||DE||59||TYQUAN LEWIS||6-4||266||JR|
|75||EVAN LISLE||6-6||308||JR||13||RASHOD BERRY||6-4||252||FR|
|71||KYLE TROUT||6-6||310||SO||18||JONATHON COOPER||6-3||248||FR|
|RT||57||ISAIAH PRINCE||6-7||310||SO||SLB||35||CHRIS WORLEY||6-2||228||JR|
|76||BRANDEN BOWEN||6-7||315||FR||17||JEROME BAKER||6-1||225||SO|
|TE||85||MARCUS BAUGH||6-5||255||JR||MLB||5||RAEKWON McMILLAN||6-2||243||JR|
|88||A.J. ALEXANDER||6-2||254||FR||38||CRAIG FADA||6-1||225||SR|
|WR||80||NOAH BROWN||6-2||218||SO||WLB||33||DANTE BOOKER||6-2||236||JR|
|OR||21||PARRIS CAMPBELL||6-1||208||SO||OR||48||JOE BURGER||6-2||230||SR|
|11||AUSTIN MACK||6-2||215||FR||47||JUSTIN HILLIARD||6-1||230||FR|
|QB||16||J.T. BARRETT||6-2||225||JR||CB||2||MARSHON LATTIMORE||6-0||192||SO|
|10||JOE BURROW||6-3||218||FR||OR||12||DENZEL WARD||5-10||185||SO|
|OR||4||CURTIS SAMUEL||5-11||197||JR||SAF||24||MALIK HOOKER||6-2||205||SO|
|2||DONTRE WILSON||5-10||195||SR||34||ERICK SMITH||6-0||203||JR|
|H-B||4||CURTIS SAMUEL||5-11||197||JR||SAF||7||DAMON WEBB||5-10||195||JR|
|OR||2||DONTRE WILSON||5-10||195||SR||4||JORDAN FULLER||6-2||205||FR|
|WR||5||COREY SMITH||6-1||190||GS||CB||8||GAREON CONLEY||6-0||195||JR|
|OR||1||JOHNNIE DIXON||5-11||198||SO||3||DAMON ARNETTE||6-0||195||FR|
|K||92||TYLER DURBIN||6-3||201||SR||H||95||CAMERON JOHNSTON||5-11||198||GS|
|96||SEAN NEURNBERGER||6-1||227||JR||44||AARON MAWHIRTER||6-2||220||SR|
|P||95||CAMERON JOHNSTON||5-11||198||GS||PR||17||DONTRE WILSON||5-10||195||SR|
|91||DRUE CHRISMAN||6-3||200||FR||OR||5||COREY SMITH||6-1||190||SR|
|KO||92||TYLER DURBIN||6-3||201||SR||OR||4||CURTIS SAMUEL||5-11||197||JR|
|LS||49||LIAM MCCULLOUGH||6-2||228||FR||KR||2||DONTRE WILSON||5-10||195||SR|
|44||AARON MAWHIRTER||6-2||220||SR||OR||82||JAMES CLARK||5-10||186||JR|