Before each Ohio State game this year, LGHL is going to bring you some “bold predictions”. This will include a few hot takes for the game, whether it be passing yards, points scored, sacks, or some 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.
Julian Fleming scores two touchdowns
Julian Fleming has undoubtedly had this game circled on his calendar for quite a while. The Ohio State wide receiver grew up in Catawissa, which is 90 miles east of State College. When deciding where to go to college, the five-star prospect’s two main choices were Ohio State and Penn State. Fleming ended up deciding to leave the state and play for the Buckeyes, which led to a lot of anger amongst Penn State fans.
Following a quiet first two years at Ohio State, Fleming is finally starting to live up to the hype, scoring at least one touchdown in each of the five games he has played this season. The junior has a ton of momentum and confidence heading into this game, coming off his first 100-yard performance in his college career after finishing the 54-10 victory over Iowa with 105 yards receiving.
Penn State does have a really tough secondary with Joey Porter Jr. and Ji’Ayir Brown. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, they haven’t had to try and slow down a passing attack quite like Ohio State’s this year. Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka demand a ton of attention, which will leave a number of Buckeye receivers open. Expect Fleming to be eager to not only return to his home state, but to break the hearts of Penn State fans, many of which who watched him play high school football in hopes that he would be playing for the Nittany Lions.
Ohio State earns their biggest win ever in State College
Beaver Stadium has been a house of horrors for Ohio State over the years. Even when the Buckeyes win on Penn State’s turf, it feels like they have to expend every ounce of energy they have, and then some. There is a very noticeable difference about this game than some of the recent trips Ohio State has made to central Pennsylvania, though.
Usually when Ohio State hits the road to take on Penn State, the Nittany Lions have a “white out” planned for a night game against the Buckeyes. That won’t be the case this year, as Penn State used up their “white out” last week against Minnesota. This week will just be a game that gets FOX’s Big Noon treatment. Squaring off with Penn State while the sun is out isn’t nearly as frightening as when their army of freakshow fans have all day to get sauced.
Today’s game will mark Ohio State’s 16th trip to State College, with the Buckeyes posting a 9-6 record in their previous trips. The biggest win in those games was a 37-17 victory in 2007. Could Penn State play the Buckeyes tough and today’s game come down to the wire? Of course it is possible. I’m not banking on it, though. The Nittany Lions have a nice defense, it just isn’t as scary as in the past. Michigan ran all over Penn State a couple weeks ago and won 41-17. Even though the game was in Ann Arbor, there’s no reason to think that a superior Ohio State offense won’t be able to do the same.
Tommy Eichenberg records at least 10 tackles
The Ohio State linebacker has made a habit of performing his best on the brightest stages. Eichenberg closed out last season with a Rose Bowl record 17 tackles in the win over Utah. Then to start the 2022 season, Eichenberg notched nine tackles and two sacks against Notre Dame. Eichenberg’s highest tackling output of the season came in the Wisconsin game when he recorded 14 tackles.
This feels like the type of game where Eichenberg will be all over the field. Ohio State knows they are going to face their toughest defensive test of the season so far. There’s a reason why Eichenberg was named one of the captains of the Buckeyes this year, and it is for games like this. Eichenberg knows he is in the running for the Butkus Award this year. There would be no better way to state his case for the award than by having a huge impact on today’s game. The linebacker has 57 tackles this year, putting him on track to become the first Buckeye linebacker since Raekwon McMillan to record 100 stops in a season.
Ohio State allows their highest point total of the season
Usually when a prediction like this is made, it might lead one to believe Ohio State is on the ropes in this game. That’s not the case here. The most points Ohio State have given up this year is 21 points, which both Toledo and Wisconsin scored against the Buckeyes. I still think Ohio State is going to win comfortably, but we could see some lapses on the defense at times.
Penn State will get a little bit of a boost from the home crowd, but as noted earlier, it won’t be quite like their previous night games against Ohio State. We have seen the Buckeyes start a bit slow in games this year, taking a while to get going against Notre Dame and Iowa. It’s not crazy to think Penn State could score two touchdowns in the first half and add another touchdown and at least a field goal in the second half. When it comes to the result, it’s not going to make a huge difference since the Buckeyes have displayed that when they get going, they can score at will. What it will do is give Jim Knowles something to work on with his defense in the next three games before Michigan comes to Columbus.
Penn State running back Nick Singleton runs for 100 yards
Every time Ohio State and Penn State meet, it seems like there is one Nittany Lion player on offense that has an insane game against the Buckeyes. Recent recipients of this award are Jahan Dotson, Saquon Barkley, and DaeSean Hamilton. If there was a Penn State offensive player that would be a good bet to be primed for a breakout game today, it would be freshman running back Nick Singleton.
Singleton has had a strong first season with the Nittany Lions, running for 561 yards and seven touchdowns so far. Earlier in the year, Singleton notched his first 100-yard rushing game, scampering for 179 yards against Ohio, and following that performance up with 124 yards rushing at Auburn. Singleton did all that damage on just 10 carries in each of those contests. After struggling against Michigan a few weeks ago, Singleton rebounded with 79 yards rushing and two scores against Minnesota last week.
The best defense for Ohio State’s offense is to keep the football out of the hands of the Buckeyes. If Penn State wants to have a shot at winning today’s game, they’ll need to lean heavily on their ground game, which could lead to an expanded role for Singleton. Even though Ohio State has been solid against the run this year, Singleton is looking like a special talent that could cause some headaches for the Buckeyes over the next few years.