Two basement dwellers of the Big Ten square off in a rivalry matchup as the Ohio State Buckeyes face off against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Ohio State has had some struggles recently and they are trying to right the ship. After a three game winning streak, the Buckeyes have dropped two in a row in crucial Big Ten play. The Penn State Nittany Lions have been struggling all season. They are currently in a four game skid, losing their last two by a combined five points. This team has never been able to find a groove. With their only two wins coming against the winless Florida State Seminoles and the one-win Texas A&M Aggies, they haven’t played up to their opponents. If they look to end their season on a high note, they need to step up their play.
This Penn State offense is possibly one of the worst. Former Boise State quarterback Aidric Berry has never been the same since finishing as the runner-up for Offensive Player of the Year in season one. Being one of the only two quarterbacks with less than 2,000 yards is somewhere that no one wants to be, but Berry finds himself through week nine. One bright spot on the Nittany Lion offense is running back Jasper Johnson. He averages 5.4 yards per carry which is good for tenth among players with more than 100 carries. Johnson has also rushed for 12 touchdowns, more than his quarterback has thrown.
As is the story with most parts of Penn State, they have a horrid defense. On average they give up over 485 yards a game, currently the thirteenth worst in the nation. This team inability to force turnovers has caused them to struggle offensively, as well as the D giving up an average of 42 points every game. This team does have a trio of playmakers on the defense, five-stars linebacker TJ White, Free safety Tyler Smith, and All-American corner Darius Bowman. These three will need to play lights out for Penn State to have a chance.
Ohio State has had a fairly good season on offense. DeAndre Evanss is currently two yards shy of reaching 3000 yards on the season, a feat only three others have reached this season. He is a touchdown machine, accounting for 30 touchdowns (25 passing and five rushing) on the year. Ohio State halfback Frost Carlson has not been a huge factor this season. With that being said, he had 200 yards against a solid Norte Dame defense. Electric wide receiver Zaire ‘Zaza’ Bradley has been torching defenses all season long. His 28.5 yards per catch is just insane. Zaza leads the entire CFSL in receiving and is the only wide receiver to account for over 1,000 yards with 1,130. He put up video game numbers against the Iowa Hawkeyes, racking up 10 catches for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns.
This Buckeye defense is subpar at best. To put it bluntly, they allow too many yards. Letting teams drive and chew clock on you usually leads to an addition to the loss column, but many times this team uses the bend don’t break motto and finds a way. Other times, they let up 62 to a Texas team and 52 to Clemson. The two standouts on this defense are corner Max Powers and safety Nicholas Reynolds. In all this defense gets a break playing against a pitiful Penn State offense, who has trouble moving the ball downfield.
WR Zaire Bradley v. WR Darius Bowman
These are two players who excel at their respective positions. DeAndre Evans’ favorite target and league leader in receiving yards Zaire Bradley usually leads the team in receiving yards, and a good game for him usually equates to a good game from the Buckeyes. Bowman is a known elite and game-changing player, getting voted All-American in season 2. He will need to pick off a few of Evans’ passes for Penn State to have success.
This game is most likely going to be a one-sided affair in the favor of Ohio State. Zaza is going to have a field day on this Penn State defense. Ohio State wins:
Ohio State 48 – Penn State 24