Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1) at Penn State Nittany Lions (4-2)
|Date & Time||Saturday October 25, 2014, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Penn State Nittany Lions +13 -- Over/Under:
The Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions square of Saturday night under the lights of Beaver Stadium.
The Ohio State Buckeyes look to remain undefeated in conference play and hope to be in the conversation come playoff time. Since the loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies (four games), Ohio State has scored a combined 224 points. The difference has been the play of QB J.T. Barrett, who is completing 65.2 percent of his passes for 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. In his last three games, Barrett has produced 14 total touchdowns and hasn’t thrown a single interception. Ohio State has five different players with double-digit receptions and has produced 18 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Michael Thomas and Devin Smith have combined for more than 700 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Ohio State’s ground game is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and Ezekiel Elliott has 390 rushing yards in his last three games and has four rushing touchdowns overall. Defensively, the Ohio State Buckeyes are allowing 20.2 points, 319.5 yards, and they’ve forced 14 turnovers and 16 sacks. Joshua Perry leads Ohio State with 45 tackles and Joey Bosa has nine tackles for loss.
The Penn State Nittany Lions have an extra week to figure out what’s gone wrong in their back-to-back losses. Of course, it starts with a Penn State offense that’s been held to 21 or less points in four of its last five games. Christian Hackenberg is completing just 59 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and seven interceptions. Hackenberg has just one touchdown pass in his last four games and has thrown at least one pick in five of the six games played. It certainly doesn’t help that Penn State’s ground game is averaging just 2.8 yards and has yet to produce a 100-yard rusher. Bill Belton leads Penn State with 258 rushing yards and three touchdowns. DaeSean Hamilton and Geno Lewis have combined for more than 1,000 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Penn State Nittany Lions are allowing 15.2 points, 283.3 yards, and they’ve forced nine turnovers and 16 sacks. Mike Hull leads Penn State with 64 tackles and Anthony Zettel has seven tackles for loss.
The Buckeyes are 35-15-1 ATS in their last 51 road games and 53-25-2 ATS in their last 80 conference games. The Nittany Lions are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a bye week and 11-5 ATS in their last 16 home games. The Buckeyes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
It’s only a matter of time before Christian Hackenberg turns things around, as he is one of the more talented quarterbacks in the country. This game reminds me a lot of last year’s Wisconsin-Penn State game. Bottom line is that Happy Valley is still one of the tougher places to play, Penn State’s defense is still great and James Franklin has had two weeks to prepare for this game. Give me the Nittany Lions and as many points as possible.