This is the Game everyone’s been waiting for since the start of the season, at least in Big Ten country. As expected, both Ohio State and Penn State enter this Game undefeated, though there are plenty of questions to ask from each side, whether because of injury or inconsistent performances. The Buckeyes, playing on AGER road, were early -3.5 point favorites with an over/under of 66.5 at YOUWAGER
These teams have battled over the last couple years with the last meeting in Happy Valley ending in a 24-21 win for the Nittany Lions as a 17-point underdog. PSU also covered last year, though lost 39-38 after being up 35-20 early in the Fourth quarter.
Penn State has had a shaky start to the season from being down 24-21 in the third quarter against Illinois to needing overtime to beat Appalachian State in the opener. In the end, the Nittany Lions are still undefeated and are in a prime spot to upset Ohio State, especially with stud defensive lineman Nick Bosa out with an injury. The Lions are scoring a ton of points, but Trace McSorley hasn’t been as efficient as the previous two seasons at 7.20 yards per attempt and a low 53.8% completion rate. Those are clear issues and something that could pop up against a better opponent like Ohio State. So far, running back Miles Sanders has done enough to keep the offense flowing with 495 yards and five touchdowns. But if he’s not gaining seven yards per carry, will McSorley step up against an elite defense?
And while the Lions scored 38 points in this matchup last year, three of the touchdowns came either via a short field because of turnover or a long kick return. Expecting that to happen again is a stretch and it doesn’t help that Saquon Barkley only managed 44 yards on 2.1 yards per carry. If PSU has similar trouble running the ball, that will force McSorley into more work because it’s hard to see Ohio State not dropping 30-plus points in this Game.
The Nittany Lions have a fine defense, but struggled against App. State and let Illinois do what it wanted in the first few quarters. After JT Barrett completed 33-of-39 passes and the ground Game managed 5.2 ypc in this Game last year, it’s a wonder what PSU will do against a possibly better offense led by Dwayne Haskins. The first-year starter has been lights out, completing 75.7% of his passes for 16 touchdowns and one interception. Throw in a ground Game that includes Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins with both at 5.8 ypc and near 300 rushing yards and it’s hard to see how any defense will stop this group.
But again, this Game is at Beaver Stadium and that can’t be overlooked. Penn State showed up in a big way in this spot two years ago and could easily do that again. The Buckeyes are 5-1 ATS in their last six overall, while the Nittany Lions are 14-2-1 ATS in their last 17 following an ATS win and 12-2-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Both teams have trends pointing to the over, while the home team has covered in Four of the last five meetings between these schools.
Our Pick – Penn State +3.5