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The Royal Post
No. 1 Ohio State Looks for Revenge
Two weeks after winning a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in Austin, the top-ranked Buckeyes (3-0 SU & ATS) look to win the matchup of last year's Big Ten co-champions as they open conference play against No. 24 Penn State on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Ohio Stadium is the only Big Ten venue where Penn State (2-1 SU & 1-1 ATS) has not won since joining the conference in 1993. The Nittany Lions are 0-6 SU in Columbus since winning there 30 years ago. To make matters worse for Penn State investors the Buckeyes are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 home games.
That skid also includes the last time Penn State played the nation's No. 1 team, losing 28-9 at Ohio Stadium in 1998. The Buckeyes are looking to even the all-time series at 11 wins apiece. The home team is 8-0 ATS in their last 8 meetings and the Nittany Lions are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Columbus, Ohio.
Paterno's team likely must be at its best to win on the road against the Buckeyes, who have averaged 426.7 yards per game and have been tough to stop against the pass and the run.
While Pittman has rushed for 340 yards and 6.7 per carry, Troy Smith has hooked up with Ginn and Gonzalez a combined 31 times for 533 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith, one of Ohio State's eight returning starters on offense, has completed 69.1 percent of his passes for an average of 256.3 yards per game.
Penn State's defense already had a tough time with one Heisman-hopeful quarterback this season, allowing Notre Dame's Brady Quinn to complete 25 of 36 passes for 287 yards with three touchdowns. In their only game against a potent offense this year, the Nittany Lions failed to force a turnover while allowing the Irish to total 397 yards.
The duo of Anthony Morelli and Tony Hunt will try to find holes in an Ohio State defense which has surrendered only 26 points this season. Hunt, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, is coming off his best performance of the year with 143 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against Youngstown State. He was held to 110 rushing yards through the first two games.
Morelli played poorly last week as he went 11-of-27 for 154 yards. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in three games. The junior faces a Buckeyes team which had eight sacks, including three by defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock, and three interceptions last week.
If the Buckeyes can showcase another defensive beauty, the Nittany Lions will have absolutely no chance at a SU win and little chance at a cover.
Notable Game Trends:
- Nittany Lions are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 conference games.
- Nittany Lions are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games as a road underdog.
- Nittany Lions are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Buckeyes are 7-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as a home favorite of 10.5+.
- Buckeyes are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 conference games.
- Buckeyes are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games overall.
- Road team is 0-8 ATS in their last 8 meetings.
- Over is 3-0 in Nittany Lions last 3 games overall.
- Over is 5-2 in Nittany Lions last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Under is 3-0 in Buckeyes last 3 games following a SU win.
- Under is 5-0 in Buckeyes last 5 games as a home favorite.
Prediction - Ohio State 34 Penn State 10
This Weekend's Remaining Top-25 Games
12:00pm Cincinnati @ (11) Virginia Tech
12:00pm North Carolina @ (19) Clemson
12:00pm Wisconsin @ (6) Michigan
12:00pm (14) Iowa @ Illinois
12:10pm (8) Louisville @ Kansas State
12:30pm Colorado @ (9) Georgia
2:30pm Buffalo @ (2) Auburn
3:30pm Iowa State @ (7) Texas
3:30pm (22) Arizona State @ (21) California
3:30pm Rice @ (18) Florida State
4:00pm Marshall @(15) Tennessee
4:30pm (4) West Virginia @ East Carolina
7:00pm Middle Tenn. State @ (17) Oklahoma
7:10pm Troy @ (23) Nebraska
7:45pm Kentucky @ (5) Florida
8:00pm (3) USC @ Arizona
8:00pm (20) Boston College @N.C. State
8:00pm Tulane @ (10) LSU
8:00pm Hawaii @ (25) Boise State
8:00pm (12) Notre Dame @ Michigan State
Jaguars Roar Into Indy
Though they often play tough against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, the Jaguars can't expect to hold a Super Bowl contender scoreless for a second straight week as they visit the RCA Dome on Sunday in a matchup of undefeated teams.
Besides having never been shut out in 130 regular-season games since Manning's arrival in 1998, the Colts (2-0) lead the NFL this season with 69 points and are third in total offense with 428.0 yards per game.
Jacksonville (2-0) did shut down the defending champions in its most recent performance, holding the Pittsburgh Steelers to 153 total yards and nine first downs in a 9-0 victory. The Jaguars spoiled Ben Roethlisberger's return, intercepting two of his passes, and allowed Pittsburgh to cross midfield only once.
Manning threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns last Sunday as Indianapolis scored on six of its first seven possessions and totaled 515 yards in a 43-24 home win over the Houston Texans. The Colts converted eight of their first 10 third-down chances and didn't punt until early in the fourth quarter.
Manning was not happy with his performance the last time these teams met at the RCA Dome. He had the fourth-fewest passing yards of his career with 122 and completed only 13-of-28 in a 10-3 victory last Sept. 18.
In the second meeting last season, Dec. 11 at Alltel Stadium, Manning completed 24 of 36 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-18 victory.
Each of the last five matchups between these AFC South rivals have been decided by seven points or less, and the Jaguars have won two.
While breaking Johnny Unitas' franchise record for career completions last week, Manning threw touchdown passes to three different receivers and none were to primary targets Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne.
Harrison still caught seven passes for 127 yards, and Wayne added six receptions for 135 yards. With 943 career receptions, Harrison is eight shy of Andre Reed for fourth place all-time.
Another bright spot from last week's win for Indianapolis was seeing the ground game get going. The Colts had 125 yards on 35 carries, with Joseph Addai rushing for 82 on 16 attempts.
In the season opener, their first meaningful game since Edgerrin James' departure, the Colts were held to 55 yards on 23 carries in a 26-21 win over the New York Giants.
Stopping the run is where Jacksonville excelled in its victory over Pittsburgh, setting a franchise record by allowing 26 rushing yards. Peterson played a big role in holding Willie Parker to 20 yards on 11 carries, and finished with a team-high seven tackles.
The Jaguars notched the fourth shutout win in franchise history and first since beating Houston 27-0 on Dec. 7, 2003. Jacksonville's offense, though, was kept out of the end zone.
Even though Byron Leftwich completed 26 of 39 passes for 260 yards and Fred Taylor added 92 yards on 22 carries, the Jaguars could only muster three second-half field goals by Josh Scobee.
Notable Game Trends:
- Jaguars are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog.
- Jaguars are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a S.U. win.
- Jaguars are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a road underdog.
- Jaguars are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. AFC.
- Jaguars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Colts are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU win of more than 14 points.
- Colts are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. AFC South.
- Colts are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS win.
- Colts are 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 games in September.
- Road team is 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
- Underdog is 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 meetings.
- Jaguars are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 meetings experiences.
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