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Big 10 Pick
Here's the game everyone has been waiting for, the battle between possibly the two best teams in the Big 10 with no bowl implications whatsoever. That's right, everyone's favorite Buckeyes and Nittany Lions will duke it out in PA this weekend. These aren't your typical big powers though. Ohio State has had a lot of close games this year, including most recently against mediocre squads. They let Indiana score 49 points on them in a 52-49 road victory and had to come back at home against Purdue last week to win in OT. Big play Braxton Miller also got hurt in that game and may be forced out of this one as his status is still up in the air.
Penn State, on the other hand, has finally found their groove after a bad early start. They lost their first two games of the season and a lot of people thought they would be one of the worst teams in the Big 10 this year. Not so fast. The Nittany Lions have won three straight conference matchups including their most recent road beat down at Iowa.
Matthew McGloin has stepped up his game dramatically in 2012 and become more of a potent passer. He has already surpassed last year's numbers in every category with 1,788 yards, 14 TDs and only two INTs. Throw in a 62.5% completion percentage and you might say he's better off without Silas Redd. Another key to McGloin's improvement has been the play of sophomore WR Allen Robinson. After not getting much playing time last year, Robinson is suddenly a star wide out who already has 47 catches, 563 yards and eight touchdowns. As expected, their running back situation isn't the best, but Zach Zwinak has been a blessing since breaking out against Temple a month ago. Zwinak now has 81 carries, 367 yards and three TDs in his last four games.
Ohio State will need to find their defense of old if they want to stop a Penn State team that hasn't been held under 35 points in Big 10 play yet. Without Braxton Miller, this game could get even more interesting which is why this game is lingering around a pick 'em.
Miller has accounted for 1,384 passing yards and 959 rushing yards this year to go with 21 total TDs. That is a lot. Kenny Guiton actually came in last week and won the game for the Buckeyes. That's great and all, but you can't really compare the two as Guiton won't be rushing for 100 yards anytime soon. While that does leave defensive preparation difficult, Guiton will need to bring his A-game no matter what. RB Carlos Hyde is another player that will have to step up big. He's averaging over 125 yards over his last three games and will have to continue that against the Nittany Lions. Even if Miller is in at quarterback, this game still isn't a for sure Buckeye win. Lest we forget, Ohio State only managed 14 points in three quarters of work when Miller was in against Purdue.
In last year's game, Penn State held down Miller for the most part and took away a win on the road 20-14. However, Ohio State also held down McGloin as he only managed 88 yards passing.
Penn State has killed the books this season, covering their last six games while the Buckeyes sit at 2-5 ATS in their last seven games. The road team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings and the under has hit six times in the last eight games between these teams.
We write up the marquee games each week, but that doesn't necessarily mean we can find an edge in all the games we write up. This one is dead on with our own numbers as our model shoes a 25-23 Penn State win. According to our model, both the side and total are accurate.
Obviously whether or not Miller plays is huge here. Providing he plays, consider this. Since 1994, every time Ohio State has had a change for revenge in this series, they have attained it. They lost last year, so here's there chance to keep that revenge streak in tact. That's the best we can do in this one as far as finding an angle. Good Luck if you play this one!
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