DraftKings Sportsbook odds: Ohio State -14.5
After having last weekend off, we were treated to the full Ohio State football experience on Saturday afternoon in the Buckeyes’ 54-10 beatdown of Iowa. Ohio State scored more points in a game against the Hawkeyes than any team in the Kirk Ferentz era. If you just looked at the box score of this game, you would think C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes cruised, and if you only looked at Twitter, you would probably think Ohio State lost this game by 30. Truthfully, it was somewhere in the middle.
Yes, Ohio State won by 44 points, but the offense was definitely not at its best in this one — especially in the first half. The Buckeyes failed to score a touchdown on seven of their first eight drives, with Stroud looking off and Ryan Day’s play-calling looking even worse. Things changed in a major way after halftime, however, as Stroud went on to finish with 286 yards passing to go along with four touchdown passes and one pick. Ohio State couldn't do much of anything on the ground, but it didn’t matter as Julian Fleming, Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. each recorded a TD through the air.
The defense was another story, although Iowa’s offense certainly played a hand in that. All-in-all, the Hawkeyes turned the ball over six times on three fumbles and three interceptions, giving Ohio State a number of short fields to work with on offense. Quarterback play for Iowa was especially abysmal, as Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla combined for just 81 passing yards on 11-of-24 passing with the three picks thrown. The rushing attack wasn’t much better, averaging 2.2 yards per carry, and if it were not for a defensive TD, the Hawkeyes would not have found the end zone. The stats for this Iowa offense coming into the day were bad, but watching it made it seem even worse.
Ohio State now turns its attention to a team that can actually score a few points on the offensive side, but the oddsmakers still believe that the Buckeyes will win by more than two touchdowns in a hostile environment against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Day and his squad will head to Happy Valley as 14.5-point favorites, despite each of the last six meetings between the two schools being decided by 13 points or less.
Now sitting at 6-1 on the year, Penn State bounced back in a big way from the blowout loss to Michigan with a 45-17 drubbing of Minnesota. The Gophers were without starting quarterback Tanner Morgan, but it likely wouldn't have mattered as the Nits torched P.J. Fleck’s defense. Sean Clifford was good, throwing for 295 yards with four TDs to one INT, but it was the ground game that really gave Minnesota fits. Penn State ran the ball 34 times for 175 yards and two scores, with both Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen recording over 75 yards rushing in the game. Four different players caught a TD pass for PSU, including star receiver Parker Washington, who finished with seven catches for 70 yards.
Defensively, the Nittany Lions did a good job of at least slowing down Mohamed Ibrahim, who still rushed for a little over 100 yards, but took 30 carries to do it. It was a far cry from the week prior, when Penn State allowed Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards to combine for 339 yards on the ground (7.7 yards per carry) and four scores in the loss to the Wolverines. Linebacker Curtis Jacobs had a big night against the Gophers with 14 total tackles, including two for loss, and the Nits’ secondary once again looked good with its premier duo of Ji’Ayir Brown and Joey Porter Jr. running the show in pass defense.
Penn State brings a balanced attack on offense, and its defense ranks in the upper half of the Big Ten even with a poor showing against Michigan. Ohio State has seemingly always had trouble against the Nittany Lions, and they will be hoping that their issues running the football against Iowa don’t carry over into this game. Brown and Porter Jr. are two of the best corners in the conference, and so the Buckeyes will likely need that ground attack to get going in order to open things up through the air. Jim Knowles will also be hoping that his cornerbacks are up to the task of guarding the aforementioned Washington as well as former 1,400-yard receiver at WKU, Mitchell Tinsley.
Vegas likes OSU to win comfortably in this one, but recent history has shown that this matchup doesn’t always go as people expect.
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