This coming Saturday is October 31 which is Halloween in the United State of America. I doubt kids will be running around the streets getting candy during the pandemic, but hey you never know. Many adults around the states and especially in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be dressed up as all sorts of ridiculous characters as they watch No. 18 Penn State take on No. 3 Ohio State in Happy Valley on Halloween night.
The Big Ten decided to postpone their season due to COVID-19. The first round of games for Big Ten teams happened last week. This week was supposed to be a top-10 matchup between, what many people consider, the two best teams in the Big Ten. Instead Penn State fell to No. 18 after an opening weekend loss to Indiana. Now Week 2 of the Big Ten schedule has a Nittany Lions team who is already in desperation mode to keep their College Football Playoffs hopes alive hosting a confident Buckeyes team.
The table is set for the prime-time matchup between long-time rivals. ESPN College Gameday will be Happy Valley for the game. Follow along with all the college football drama for the rest of the NCAA season on our Locker Room page. Head over to our NCAA sportsbook page to place your bets.
WE’RE HEADED TO HAPPY VALLEY!
See you next week for Ohio State vs. Penn State 👏 pic.twitter.com/FNzYd2ce4j
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 25, 2020
When, Where, and How to Watch
Game Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Beaver Stadium — (no fans permitted due to COVID-19 restrictions)
All-Time Series: Ohio State leads 20-14
Last Meeting: Ohio State defeated Penn State 28-17 on Nov. 23, 2019
The Buckeyes rolled over Nebraska
Ohio State took care of business at home against the Huskers on Saturday. Nebraska put together two good drives and tied the game at 14-14 in the first quarter. After that the Buckeyes’ dominated the rest of the 35 minutes left in the game by outsourcing the Cornhuskers 38-3. Ohio State covered their -23 point spread by an easy margin and advanced to 1-0 on the season.
Junior QB Justin Fields finished with a 150.5 QB rating on 20-of-21 passing for 276 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the team in rushing with 54 yards and one rushing touchdown. Fields’ looked like one of the best QBs in college football, and instantly catapulted his name into the Heisman race after his almost perfect day.
It wasn’t all gravy for the No. 3 Buckeyes against unranked Nebraska. OSU could not get its running game going. RBs Trey Sermon and Master Teague III (love the name) gained only 89 yards on 23 carries (3.9 per carry). The Buckeyes also gave up 210 yards on the ground to the Huskers. What this boils down to is that the questions about the Buckeyes’ offensive and defensive lines before the season were not answered. The line-of-scrimmage was not dominated by OSU which is what we have come accustomed to seeing when they play a lesser opponent.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 24, 2020
Nittany Lions’ Heartbreaking loss to Indiana
Penn State was expected to take care of Indiana but might have overlooked the Hoosiers with a big-time match with Ohio State looming. PSU lost because of a combination of first-half turnovers, special-teams miscues, penalties, and an accidental touchdown. Give Indiana credit for playing a solid game and making every inch count.
Penn State outgained the Hoosiers 488 to 211 in total yards and dominated the time of possession 40:25 to 19:35. With under two minutes left in regulation, the Nittany Lions had the ball inside the Hoosier 20 yard line and had a 21-20 lead. PSU handed the ball to Devyn Ford and told him not to score. Ford forgot and walked into the end zone as Indiana’s defense watched.
This brain-fart cost the Nittany Lions the game, as Indiana took the ball and scored a TD and two-point conversion to force OT. Penn State scored first in OT. IU after it scored decided to go for two and their QB Michael Penix Jr. got the smallest part of the ball to hit the pylon on the two-point conversion to win.
Indiana upsets Penn State in overtime pic.twitter.com/pROzRXaJZ6
— Abby Drey (@ADreyPhotos) October 24, 2020
Ohio State and Penn State’s History
- Ohio State and Penn State will be meeting for the 35th time overall. The Buckeyes hold a 20-14 lead and have won seven of the last nine games.
- Three of the last five meetings have been one-possession games with two decided by one point (both Ohio State wins after training by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter).
- In the last 20 years, there has only been one time that neither of these teams was ranked when they played (2001).
The Last Six Meetings
Buckeyes at Nittany Lions: Keys to the Game
- Can Ohio State’s defense slow down Clifford and Freiermuth?
In Ohio State’s season opener there were two things that their defense struggled to stop: Nebraskas’ QBs running the ball, and passes to tight ends. Nebraska quarterbacks Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey combined for 164 of the Cornhuskers’ 217 rushing yards, while tight ends Austin Allen and Jack Stoll combined for 54 yards on four catches and were two of the Cornhuskers’ top three pass-catchers.
Penn State’s QB Sean Clifford is coming off his best career performance on the ground. He ran for 117 yards and a TD on 17 carries against Indiana. The Buckeyes’ defense will not be able to key solely on his running ability because he is surrounded by good weapons. One of his most dangerous pass-catchers is TE Pat Freiermuth who is possibly the best tight end in college football. Freiermuth had seven catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Ohio State did well last year slowing down Freiermuth, by allowing him six catches for 40 yards. Last year they put LB Pete Werner on him. This year Werner has been moved to the Will linebacker and will not be lined up over Freiermuth much. It will be interesting to see what Ohio State does if Freiermuth starts hurting them.
- Penn State’s ability to defend home turf.
Since 2016, Penn State is 26-2 in the confines of Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions have the nation’s fifth-highest home winning percentage during that span. Their only two losses came in back-to-back weeks at the hands of Ohio State and Michigan State in 2018.
This season the Big Ten has decided that no fans are allowed to attend any of the games, so home-field advantage will mean less. This time around there will be no ‘White Out’ that Ohio State has grown accustomed to when it heads to Happy Valley. Ohio State has won five out of the last six contests at Beaver Stadium.
- Can Penn State fix its kicking problems?
Penn State missed all three of its field-goal attempts against Indiana last week. Jordan Stout barely missed a 57 yarder at the end of the half which was an issue. Jake Pingar missed from 25 and 47 yards. Pingar’s misses were the ones that cost the Nittany Lions. Stout only averaged 40 yards on three punts in his first game as the starting punter.
The return game also came up short against Indiana. Penn State had one kick return stopped at the five-yard line. Clifford threw a pick shortly after that led to an easy Indiana touchdown.
Special teams are a key aspect to any game. Penn State will need to clean up its special teams if they want to upset the No. 3 team in the country this week.
NCAA Betting Line – #3 Buckeyes vs #18 Nittany Lions
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
|Buckeyes||-12½ -110||-450||64½||38½ -115o |
|Nittany Lions||+12½ -110||+350||64½||27 -110o |
Moneyline: Buckeyes -450 | Nittany Lions +350
The Buckeyes are heading to Happy Valley and it’s the second stop on their Clemson revenge tour. I do not expect Penn State to be able to keep up with Ohio State for four quarters of football. OSU will get their run game going in their second game, but even if they don’t Justin Fields will find a way to put up points.
Pick: The Buckeyes win.
Point Spread: Buckeyes -12½ | Nittany Lions +12½
This game opened up with Penn State receiving eight points from most sportsbooks. After PSU’s devastating loss the line moved up to 13 on some sportsbooks. This will probably be the least amount of points that Ohio State gives another team on their schedule all year. Penn State will need to eliminate mistakes if they want to keep this one close. These two teams have played each other well in their previous six matchups. I expect this game to stay within 12½ points
Pick: Penn State with 12½ points
Over/Under 64½ Points: Buckeyes | Nittany Lions
College football is full of high scoring games. 64½ points is a lot but it is definitely doable for these teams. Penn State is going to need to score a lot of points to keep up with Fields and his top receiving core. Both of the teams’ first games went over 64½ points.
Pick: Over 64½ points