November 12, 2010

LBU Staff Predictions: Penn State at Ohio State (updated)

It's time to make ourselves look silly. In fact, it would be wonderful if all of our predictions this week turned out to be dead wrong.

Nate Stupar and Pete Massaro
Can Penn State's defense
slow down Terrelle Pryor?
(Photo: Mike/LBU)

Penn State has made steady improvement as the season progressed, even the most bitter, JoePa-hating, flaming message board troll has to admit that but they are just not on Ohio State’s level. The THE Poisonous Nuts are more talented and more experienced in almost every aspect of the game. They aren’t invincible, as Wisconsin has shown us, but they are pretty damn good. For Penn State to win they will have to win the turnover battle, get spectacular special teams play (which they’ve done in almost all their games this season), and hope for a big day from the offensive line. I would like to predict a big upset but I just don’t see it happening. Penn State has faced two multi-dimension quarterbacks the last two weeks and has failed to keep contain. Unlike the last two weeks this team has a fantastic defense, if the Lions give up 21 first half points the game is over. I just hope Penn State fans don’t come out of this game ready to jump off the ledge because it’s going to be a loss.

Ohio State 27 – Penn State 14


Vegas doesn't set a line at three scores (OSU -17) for nothing. While I don't think Ohio State will cover--I hope not--it's a curious situation for both teams. After getting punched in the throat by Wisconsin, the Buckeyes have beat up on the same mediocre competition that Penn State has the last few weeks. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions are the biggest enigma in the Big Ten this year. Are they really as improved as the last few weeks have shown? Or is this still the same team that got blown out by Alabama, Iowa and Illinois, just now it's meeting lesser opponents?

Penn State can win or lose this game in two places, both up front. The defensive line has to keep contain on Terrelle Pryor. That wasn't so easy against Denard Robinson or Dan Persa, particularly on the edge. The offensive line is being hailed as very much improved the last few weeks, particularly in run blocking. Ohio State's strength is the defensive front seven, meaning if the PSU blockers can't keep a swarm of Buckeyes out of the backfield, hide the remote controls, 'cause they'll be flyin' before halftime.

Silas Redd stiffarm
Rushing yards may not be so easy
to come by against the Buckeyes.
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
With every possibility that my prediction will be dead wrong no matter how I pick it...

Ohio State 30 - Penn State 18


As always, the story when Penn St. plays in Columbus is turnovers. With an extra week of preparation, I fear Ohio St. is going to have bracket coverage on deeper routes and take full advantage of McGloin's penchant for underthrowing. That being said, if Penn St. can keep it close (probably with special teams) until the shadows come out, then the Ginger will strike. Defensively, they'll need to come out firing
on all cylinders and not let Ohio St. get out of reach early, since it's a tougher road back in the Horseshoe than it was at home and it'll take Royster, Redd Green out of the mix. Unfortunately, I don't have the same good feeling I had the last three weeks, but I hope I'm wrong this week.

Penn St. 23 - Ohio St. 30


Yes, the offense has dramatically improved over the past few weeks and while part of that certainly has to do with the sudden emergence of Matt McGloin and his fire, passion, and complete disregard for opposing secondaries, part of it also is due to the fact that the past three teams all featured defenses that were rather crappy in comparison to what PSU faced in the first half of the season. OSU's defense will provide a rude awakening for McGloin and the offense with a vaunted D-line led by Cam Heyward, who terrorized Daryll Clark last year. And don't even get me started on the Buckeye offense led by a vastly improved Terrelle Pryor, backfield weapons in Brandon Saine and Boom Herron, and a receiving corps led by a constant home run threat in DeVier Posey. Posey blew open a tight 10-7 game late in the 3rd quarter last year at Beaver Stadium with a timely deep ball TD catch, allowing OSU to cruise to a 24-7 win.

PSU does however, stand more than a So, you're telling me there's a chance..YEAHH shot of pulling the shocker if the coaching staff gives McGloin the green light to relentlessly attack OSU's weakened secondary and if the punt/kick return units take advantage of OSU's surprisingly horrid kick coverage by breaking a big return for a TD. Even then, it likely won't be enough with the defense having such a down year...I really want to believe that this team is capable of doing the improbable and winning a second straight game at The 'Shoe but I just don't see it happening.

Ohio St 31 - Penn St 13

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