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Penn State’s Red Zone Defense Could Decide The White Out

Bend but don’t break — it’s a phrase that has been used ad nauseam over the years. Nevertheless, that is exactly what Brent Pry’s defensive unit must do Saturday night to ensure a White-Out victory.

The Penn State defense has surrendered significant yardage in three of its four games so far, with the only exception coming against Kent State. Against Appalachian State and Illinois, the Nittany Lions gave up over 400 yards of total offense, and against Pitt they were thrashed for 245 yards on the ground.

This week, Pry’s unit will face by far its biggest test so far this season. The Ohio State offense comes into the primetime clash averaging nearly 600 yards of total offense per game.

That being said, the Buckeyes have had their own issues on the defensive side of the ball.  Against a mediocre Oregon State team in week one, Ohio State allowed 31 points and nearly 400 yards of total offense.

Then, in week three they struggled again against TCU, allowing another 28 points and 511 yards.

With both defenses having their fair share of issues heading into the game, the offenses will likely light up the scoreboard, meaning it could come down to whichever  defense can make a red zone stop.

Although Penn State’s defense has allowed more yards and big plays than fans would care to see, it has been able to come up with big plays down the stretch.

After getting picked apart and allowing 28 points in the fourth quarter against Appalachian State the defense rebounded in overtime when Amani Oruwariye picked off Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas to seal the win.

The same was true the following week against Pitt. Despite getting shredded for more than 200 yards rushing in the first half, the defense allowed only six points. James Franklin spoke about his “clutch” defense after the game.

“I didn’t think we played great defensive football in the first half. But, I think we played clutch defense in the first half,” Franklin said. “We gave up big runs, but we stepped up and made plays when it mattered most.”

Whatever happens between the 20’s on Saturday is inconsequential; this Ohio State offense is simply too good to completely stifle.

But if the Nittany Lions can come up in key situations and force the Buckeyes into kicking field goals, they very well may come out of the White Out as the team to beat in the Big Ten East.

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About the Author

Matthew Fox

Matt is a Senior from Lansdale Pennsylvania majoring in Broadcast Journalism. He loves sports, and is still patiently waiting for the Philadelphia Flyers to win a Stanley Cup. If you would ever like to reach out to Matt you can email him at [email protected].

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