Ohio State Faces Ultimate Challenge Hosting Penn State

COLUMBUS — As the season reaches its midway point, Coach Ryan Day is still in the process of discovering the true identity of his No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes.

With an upcoming matchup against undefeated No. 7 Penn State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten), both teams stand at 6-0, and the outcome of this game could significantly impact the rest of the season and the College Football Playoff landscape.

Day acknowledged that the Buckeyes’ identity is still taking shape, a sentiment he believes many teams across the nation share.

“We’re in the process of figuring out who we are as a team,” Day stated. “But now it’s time to step onto the field and take control of our season’s narrative.”

Penn State aims to break a six-game losing streak against the Buckeyes and gain an advantage in the Big Ten East, with a matchup against No. 2 Michigan looming for both teams.

Statistically, the Nittany Lions boast the nation’s top defense, while Ohio State’s defense also ranks in the top 10. Penn State’s notable victory came in Week 4 against then-No. 24 Iowa, where they secured a commanding 31-0 win. Ohio State’s signature win was a thrilling 17-14 triumph over then-No. 9 Notre Dame on September 23.

Both teams feature first-time starting quarterbacks, with Drew Allar leading Penn State and Kyle McCord at the helm for Ohio State. These young quarterbacks are gaining confidence with each passing week, and Day recognizes the heightened intensity of a game of this magnitude.

“In matchups like this, every play can be the difference-maker,” Day emphasized. “The stakes are high, and that’s what makes it exciting.”

HISTORIC RIVALRY

Ohio State has dominated this series, winning the last six games, with Penn State’s last victory occurring in 2016. This win helped propel Penn State to their only Big Ten championship under Coach James Franklin. The Nittany Lions’ last win in Columbus was in 2011.

Several of these matchups have been closely contested, with Ohio State staging comebacks in recent years. Last season, defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau had a standout performance, with two interceptions, two sacks, a forced and recovered fumble, and a tipped pass, leading the Buckeyes to a 44-31 win.

Franklin acknowledged the close contests and stressed the importance of winning in the fourth quarter and in one-possession games.

INJURY CONCERNS

Ohio State’s running backs have been dealing with injuries for the second consecutive season. TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams missed the last game due to unspecified injuries, while Chip Trayanum suffered an injury during the game. Second-year back Dallan Hayden, originally intended for a redshirt season, stepped up with 76 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Boilermakers. Coach Day expressed optimism that the injured players may return for the Penn State game.

STINGY DEFENSE

The Nittany Lions boast the nation’s top defensive rankings, allowing an average of only 193.7 yards per game. They also lead in pass defense, pass efficiency defense, completion percentage, first downs allowed, sacks per game, and red zone attempts.

Reference

https://www.tribtoday.com/sports/local-sports/2023/10/buckeyes-host-penn-state-in-toughest-test-yet/

https://www.axios.com/local/columbus/2023/10/20/ohio-state-penn-state-college-football-game

Leave a Comment