Throughout the Ohio State football season, we will be asking and answering questions about the team, college football, and anything else on our collective minds of varying degrees of importance. If you have a question that you would like to ask, you can tweet us @LandGrant33 or if you need more than 280 characters, send an email HERE.
The Week 4 top-10 matchup with Notre Dame was unquestionably big, but Saturday’s contest between the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes and No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions is looking like an absolute slobber-knocker as both teams look to assert themselves as the main contender for Michigan’s Big Ten East crown — and subsequently the conference title and College Football Playoff berth.
So, as we head towards this titanic showdown in the Horseshoe on Saturday at 12 noon ET on Fox, we wanted to check in with Buckeye Nation to see what you were thinking about the contest. We have two questions about the game in our weekly OSU fan survey. Make sure to answer the questions and if you have more thoughts, let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page.
Question 1: What has to happen most for Ohio State to beat Penn State on Saturday?
The Buckeyes come into Saturday’s matchup 6-0, but their season thus far hasn’t been perfect. As with any team, there are a number of items that OSU players and coaches are looking to perfect as the campaign progresses in an effort to reach all of their stated goals. Some of the issues are major and some more minor, but in the team’s quest to win the Big Ten and national titles, nothing can be overlooked.
In recent weeks, both the Buckeye offense and defense have seemingly gotten better on third-down conversions. But, is that a product of improved play or weaker competition? Undoubtedly those high-leverage situations will be important on both sides of the ball in determining which team ends up winning on Saturday.
Last season, J.T. Tuimoloau nearly single-handedly obliterated Penn State’s offense. While the defensive line has not been wracking up a ton of sacks this year, it has been increasingly getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, something that should help OSU get to first-year starter Drew Allar.
On offense, the Ohio State running game just hasn’t looked right all season. Whether that is because of substandard offensive line play or a growing M*A*S*H unit in the running back room, offensive balance is always important to Ryan Day and not being one-dimensional will likely be of import on Saturday against Penn State.
Will one of these things — or perhaps the growing annoyances with penalties and on special teams — be the deciding factor on Saturday? We shall see, but you can weigh in with the survey below.
Question 2: What do you think will happen in the Ohio State and Penn State game?
The Buckeyes are currently favored by 3.5 points according to DraftKings SportsBook — down one full point from where the line opened — and the advanced analytical models are a little all over the place in terms of predictions.
Ohio State is outscoring opponents 36 to 9.7 this season and Penn State is doing so 44.3 to 8, so both squads have been commanding fairly impressive margins of victory so far this fall. Will that mean that one team will significantly outperform the other, or that the two teams will play each other close?
Only time will tell, but you can make your prediction in the survey below.