Prior to each Ohio State game this year, LGHL is going to bring you some “bold predictions”. This will include somewhere around five predictions for the game, whether it be passing yards, points scored, sacks, or a number of other things that we could see happening during the game.
We’d love to hear your bold predictions. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your bold predictions in the comments.
More Scooby Doo and less The Shining: Ohio State will beat the cumulative margin of victory over the past five years
Ohio State and Penn State have played terrifyingly close games year in and year out...always conveniently close to Halloween. The Buckeyes opened things up last season against a down Nittany Lions team, with Justin Fields and Co. emerging with a 38-25 victory, but there was that time from 2016-18 where the total margin of victory for three matchups was five points.
Things will not be so narrow this year, because the Buckeyes seem to have found it on offense (it being their rhythm, not a scary homicidal clown). Since 2016, the cumulative margin of victory in the Ohio State vs. Penn State matchup was 29 points. The Buckeyes are favored by 19.5 this evening. Ohio State could conceivably beat the Nittany Lions by the collective total win margin from the last five years.
The good news is that this will hopefully not be a Night Game of the Living Dead, and we’ll be able to go to bed by halftime.
Candyman: Stroud will dish out TDs to 5+ receivers
Remember that house on the block that gave out full-size candy bars? CJ Stroud is the quarterback equivalent of that. Ohio State tops the Big Ten in every major passing category, anchored by the hottest new candidate in Heisman circles, Stroud, and a host of receivers that, frankly, James Franklin’s defense can’t cover.
With Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba playing in peak form, they’ll be top targets for Stroud come this evening. Throw in dimes to Jeremy Ruckert and TreVeyon Henderson, and Stroud will be the most popular quarterback on the block.
Trick or treat: A special teams surprise
Special teams played a big role in many of Ohio State’s matchups with Penn State in the past (Grant Haley, anyone?). While the Buckeyes have been perfect on special teams so far this season, with kicker Noah Ruggles connecting on 7-of-7 field goals and 46-of-46 extra points, the Nittany Lions have struggled, making just 11-of-15 field goal attempts.
Ohio State wide receiver Emeka Egbuka has also been *this* close to breaking a return for a touchdown in recent weeks.
The stars might just align on this spooky almost-Halloween night for a gamebreaking play on special teams.
Shape shifters: A career game for Jahan Dotson
Keeping on theme with these other predictions, the Nittany Lions will struggle on defense in a way they haven’t this season, but we can also expect that an offense that struggled to put up much of anything through nine overtimes against Illinois last week will be rethinking their offensive strategy as they prepare to encounter an Ohio State defense that gave up 128 yards of offense against Indiana.
Enter: Jahan Dotson. Widely regarded as one of the top receivers in the Big Ten and nation, Dotson enters tonight’s game with 49 receptions, 563 yards and six touchdowns on the season. He’ll be the toughest receiver the Buckeyes’ secondary has covered all year.
He’s also a familiar foe. Last season against the Buckeyes, Dotson had eight receptions for 144 yards and three touchdowns. He’ll need another peak performance for Penn State to have a shot against Ohio State tonight.
Freddy vs. Jason: Sparty comes out on top
Okay, maybe they’re not that evil, but top-10 Michigan and Michigan State teams are facing off today in the first of the heavyweight clashes in the Big Ten East. The in-state rivals have the Big Noon Kickoff spot on FOX as the sixth-ranked Wolverines travel to East Lansing to face the No. 8 Spartans. Michigan is a four-point favorite in a critical game to determine who gets to stay on top in the highly contested Big Ten East. Michigan and Michigan State, of course, are tied atop the conference standings with Ohio State, and while the loser of the top-10 matchup won’t be out of the running, things will get a heckuva lot more challenging. Fans on both sides will be gripping the edge of their seats in this thriller.