Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. Ohio State
Our sports staff came to a consensus. No. 2 Ohio State is probably gonna leave Beaver Stadium victorious, but if there’s one thing we know about a White Out, it almost always keeps things close.
Anthony Colucci: Ohio State 31, Penn State 23 (season record 2-2)
The last two games, I’ve made bold predictions and struck out on both so as much as I want to be an eternal optimist and say Penn State will continue their winning streak on this home stand and upset the Buckeyes who are coming off of a weak performance against Wisconsin, I have to listen to conventional wisdom and bet against the Nittany Lions for the sake of my predictions record.
All kidding aside though, JT Barrett is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and Urban Meyer is one of the best coaches of all time, regardless of what color the fans in Beaver Stadium are wearing. At the beginning of the season, I saw this game as an easy win for the Buckeyes, but with Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell expected to return to the Penn State defense, the Nittany Lions’ recent strong offensive showings, and an electric crowd, this game will be a lot closer than I initially anticipated. The Lions will stay in the game and may even give the Buckeyes a scare, but the talent margin between the two teams will be too large to overcome.
Joe Pickard: Ohio State 34, Penn State 21 (season record 4-0)
It’s White Out week, and No. 2 Ohio State is coming to town. Trust me, taking down the Buckeyes is going to be no easy task for the Nittany Lions. Some factors this week that give us a fighter’s chance to keep this a close one: When the White Out is in effect, PSU has never lost by more than 16 points, that 16-point loss was to Alabama, who went on to win the National Championship that year. While playing the Buckeyes during a White Out, Penn State has never lost by more than 12-points. Urban Meyer’s squad is coming off of an OT win vs Wisconsin, their first real challenge this year.
This was the first game of the season Ohio State really had to play four quarters of football. Hopefully this wore the Buckeyes out a bit ahead of this week, while the Nittany Lions are coming into the game refreshed off a bye. Hopefully Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell both return this weekend for some plays, which will help give the blue and white a nice boost at the linebacker position. At the end of the day, I think the Buckeyes are too strong to knock off, even with the White Out. But I do think the Nittany Lions will cover the 18-point spread to keep it close and exciting.
Robbie Rockwell: Ohio State 35. Penn State 24 (season record 4-0)
The White Out is the biggest game of the year for Penn State fans across the nation and this year is no different. Unfortunately it comes against an insanely young and talented Buckeyes team. Penn State will hopefully get some much-needed help on defense with Cabinda and Bell likely returning, and the White Out will certainly affect JT Barrett and the Ohio State offense. Ohio State will run the ball early and won’t be very successful initially but eventually will overpower the Penn State defensive line and run easily in the second half.
On the offensive side of the ball, look for an attack like the one in the Maryland game, but the run won’t be nearly as successful as it was two weeks ago. This will make Trace McSorley throw the ball a lot and while he will have some success, ultimately, the fierce Buckeye pass rush will be too much. This combined with veteran safety Malik Hooker will cause McSorley to turn the ball over at least once. I always believe Penn State has a chance to win the White Out game, but Ohio State’s talent is likely too much to overcome.
Mitch Stewart: Ohio State 34, Penn State 24 (season record 0-0)
Penn State comes into this week on a roll after knocking off Minnesota and Maryland in back-to-back weeks before benefiting from a crucial bye. Now, with the potential returns of Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell, as well as the offense clicking better than it has all season, the Nittany Lions are in better shape than they’ve been all season heading into this massive game. With the added advantage of a Beaver Stadium White Out, the odds couldn’t be better for Penn State.
However, the gap in talent is still too much for the Nittany Lions to overcome. J.T. Barrett and Raekwon McMillan have been a part of an Ohio State program that has won 32 out of 34 games in which these two leaders were on the active roster. Expect a closer game than the 18-point spread that Vegas has listed at the moment, but I believe that the Buckeyes will still run away in the fourth quarter to win this one by a couple of scores.
Ethan Kasales: Ohio State 38, Penn State 27 (season record: 5-1)
Expect Saturday’s White Out to be one of the loudest yet. Though the home crowd will play a huge part in trying to slow down the Buckeyes, J.T. Barrett is the perfect fit for Urban Meyer’s system. Simply put, Ohio State lives for Big Ten road games. In fact, it has yet to drop even one during Meyer’s tenure in Columbus, going 20-0. The Nittany Lions are the biggest underdogs they’ve ever been in Beaver Stadium at +18, but perhaps the best case scenario would be a ballgame that isn’t decided until late in the third or early fourth quarter. Expect Saquon Barkley to have another huge outing against the second-ranked Buckeyes to keep things somewhat close.
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