The game we’ve all been waiting for is almost here, Penn State will be traveling to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes 3:30 Eastern on Saturday.
This game will either make or break Ohio State’s playoff hopes, as the Buckeyes come into the game ranked 6th while Penn State heads into the game undefeated and ranked 2nd.
The Buckeyes have to find a way to come out on top, and in this article I’m going to break down exactly what they need to do.
First key to victory: Contain Saquon Barkley.
The reason I say contain is because their just isn’t a way to completely stop him, Barkley has carried the ball 117 times for 757 yards (6.5 YPC) and 8 touchdowns.
if that isn’t enough, he’s also caught 32 balls for 448 yards and another three touchdowns through the air.
Indiana and Northwestern both had success with containing him.
Indiana held Barkley to 56 yards on 20 carries for an average of 2.8 YPC and zero touchdowns.
The week after, Northwestern had Barkley held to -2 yards at halftime. Barkley however adjusted in the second half to end up with 75 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
This key to victory is crucial. They must contain Barkley for any chance to win this game.
The Buckeyes have a very strong defensive line, they’re ranked 14th in the nation up against stopping the run, giving up 110 yards a game.
If they can dominate the line of scrimmage and hold Barkley under 100 yards they will win this football game.
Second key to victory: JT Barrett.
It’s a surprise to me you don’t hear more about Barrett in the Heisman discussion because he deserves to be.
JT has thrown for 1,827 yards (67% CMP) and 21 touchdowns and just one interception.
Also on the ground JT has racked up 370 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Barrett has been a different quarterback since the loss to Oklahoma.
Many say look at the competition, but this is the week JT can silence all the critics.
He needs to limit the turnovers and move the ball.
Penn State’s defense is ranked 8th in the country.
17th in rushing. Giving up 112 yards a game, If JK Dobbins and Mike Weber get it going on the ground, that’ll open up the pass.
Where the Nittany Lions are only giving up 168 yards through the air per game.
Run the ball early to open the pass, if the Buckeyes can do that. Penn State will be in trouble.
Finally, the final key to victory: Stop Trace McSorley.
McSorley has thrown for 1,879 yards along with 14 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
STOP THE DEEP BALL!
24.3% of McSorley’s balls go 20+ yards. The Buckeyes have to keep receivers in front and force overthrows. That can lead to turnovers.
Turnovers in this game will be essential to the Buckeyes if they want to win.
DaeSean Hamilton is the guy Denzel Ward must keep locked down.
Hamilton has 28 receptions for 481 yards and four touchdowns which leads Penn State in the receiving game
If Ohio State takes Barkley’s running ability away, along with taking Hamilton away from McSorley in the passing department, I think Trace will be in for a long day in Columbus.
Which leads me to my prediction:
Ohio State: 26
Penn State: 17