In what is probably the biggest game of the weekend in college football, the 6th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes are a 6.5 point favorite over the #2 ranked Nittany Lions of Penn State. The game is being played in Ohio Stadium in Columbus, which may account for a spread that on paper, appears bigger than most would think.
Penn State is coming off of their most impressive win of the season when they defeated Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines 42-13 in a primetime game on their home field. The Wolverine defense came into the game as one of the best in the nation, but had no answer for Saquon Barkley, Trace McSorley and the rest of the Nittany Lion offense.
On their second offensive play of the game, Barkley took a direct snap in the Wildcat formation and raced 69 yards for the game’s first score. And on the next possession, Barkley scored again on a 15 yard scamper. Later, Barkley juggled, but then secured a pass from McSorley for his third score of the game. McSorley ended up rushing for three scores of his own in a game that was dominated by the Nittany Lions in the second half. The win pushed Penn State to 7-0 on the season.
On the other hand, Ohio State is coming off of a bye week and should be well prepared for this one. With only a week two loss to Oklahoma, the Buckeyes come in with a 6-1 overall record. But this will be their biggest test of the Big Ten season so far. They’ve piled up wins against the likes of Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland and Nebraska in Big Ten play thus far.
When these two teams faced off last year, it was the Buckeyes who were ranked #2 in the country. And it was Penn State who got the win in overtime. You have to believe that the Buckeyes will want a little revenge this time around.
Head Coach Urban Meyer and the Ohio State offense has been rolling over the last four games with at least 50 points and 500 yards produced in each of them. Now they go against a Penn State team that has allowed the fewest points in the country (9.6 per game). Something will have to give.
Oddsmakers are thinking the defenses may take a step back as the point totals are sitting at 56.5 between the two teams. That number could end up being a little high. With two weeks to prepare for Barkley and company, I expect Meyer to find a way to keep the Nittany Lion offense somewhat in check. The game may come down to how well the Buckeye offense performs against a tough Penn State defense.
Prediction: Buckeyes win but Penn State covers