NCAA Football – Week 9
Few programs have undergone as much turmoil and change over the last two years as the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions. These two proud institutions are both ineligible for postseason play this year. Still, both teams have been playing some very good football so far this season. The Buckeyes come into this one unbeaten on the year, while Penn State has won five straight in impressive fashion.
Purdue led nearly the entire game last week against Ohio State. The Buckeyes lost star quarterback Braxton Miller to an injury in the fourth quarter and it appeared the team would drop its first game. Down eight with less than a minute to go, backup quarterback Kenny Guiton and the Buckeyes drove 70 yards to score and convert a two-point attempt to tie the game. The Buckeyes would go on to win in stunning fashion in overtime. Miller ended up having a slight concussion, and he is listed as questionable for this week’s game. The Buckeyes are running for 250 yards per game so far this year. Ohio State is averaging 39 points per game.
While the Buckeyes have been very impressive overall, the defense has been disappointing. Ohio State is used to having dominating defenses, and this year’s unit has been no better than mediocre. Indiana put up 49 points on this defense. Ohio State’s group of linebackers has been so thin that the team moved fullback Zach Boren over to linebacker, and he has been starting on defense. The Buckeyes are 68th in the nation in total defense.
Most people expected Ohio State to have a solid year, but expectations were very low for Penn State. Bill O’Brien walked into the toughest situation possible, and you have to give him tons of credit for how this Nittany Lions team has responded. After back-to-back difficult losses to start the season, many thought this team would pack it in for the year. Instead, the Nittany Lions have been dominating opponents during a five-game winning streak. Last week’s 38-14 beatdown of Iowa on the road was a major statement by this team.
How has Penn State been able to be so successful despite losing so much talent and having no postseason to play for? The Nittany Lions clearly have a very strong leadership nucleus on this team. Michael Mauti is a senior leader at linebacker for this defense, and he has proven to be one of the best leaders in the nation. Penn State’s defense has been rock solid all year. The Nittany Lions are allowing just 15.7 points per game so far this year. Offensively, Matt McGloin has been awesome at quarterback. O’Brien’s fast-paced offensive system is really catching on at Penn State. McGloin has thrown 14 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions.
The Buckeyes are a bit dinged up right now, and Happy Valley will be absolutely rocking this Saturday evening. Penn State is a far better team than almost anyone thought they would be this year. I think the Nittany Lions knock off the Buckeyes on Saturday.
Penn State 30 Ohio State 24