Ohio State vs. Penn State Preview/Open Thread

#16 Ohio State at #11 Penn State | Beaver Stadium, State College, PA
3:30 PM EST | TV: ABC | Line: Penn St. (-5.5)

Sacking ClarkWhat a wild and strange journey this has been. The 7-2 Ohio State Buckeyes travel to State College this afternoon for a game at Beaver Stadium as they control their destiny in the race for the Big 10 title. Despite depressing losses against USC and Purdue, the Buckeyes still have a chance of making it all the way to the Rose Bowl by winning out the rest of the season. That all starts today when Terrelle Pryor plays his first game back in his hometown state against the 8-1 Penn State Nittany Lions.

#4 Iowa is in a struggle yet again with Northwestern today, but either way this contest is huge in the battle for conference supremacy. Penn State already lost to the Hawkeyes and a loss today would pretty much eliminate them from contention for the conference title. Ohio State on the other hand, begins their epic conclusion to this season with this road contest, hosting Iowa and then traveling to Michigan. Win all three games, and the Buckeyes are yet again the undisputed champions of the Big 10 Conference.

These are two very evenly matched teams featuring dual-threat quarterbacks and two of the best defensive units in the nation. Both teams rank in the top six in points and yardage allowed per contest, an almost annual tradition in this intense rivalry in the Midwest. The rushing attacks from Ohio State and Penn State are similar in that each team averages around 180 yards per game and thus the main difference in style depends upon the passing game.

It feels like Daryll Clark has been at Penn State forever, but the 23-year-old senior out of Youngstown is having an impressive season so far with a QB rating of 149.30. Only once this season has he posted a QB rating of less than 120 in a contest, and that was his three-interception performance against the Hawkeyes back in late September. In order for the Bucks to protect the football they will need to force Clark into complex situations where our play makers can finish the job.

The struggles of Terrelle Pryor have been well documented and this is the start of his showcase for maintaining his hold on the starting slot. The performance and improvement of Clark is a perfect example of what Pryor should aspire to do in the next year or two, and that all starts today. This team is most efficient when they are not forcing either the run or the pass through Pryor but are instead flowing the offense and using their assortment of running backs to their advantage throughout the game.

It will be interesting to see how this game starts out. Putting Pryor in passing situations for the second half would definitely be on Penn State’s game plan and thus look for the Buckeyes to come out aggressive offensively. Anything can still happen and a road upset today would be huge towards putting this season back on track. Iowa is certainly beatable as they have trailed in eight of their nine games this season coming into today, and thus the Buckeyes have a good shot at the Rose Bowl with just a win this afternoon.

Stick around the site and leave your family-friendly comments as the events unfold at Beaver Stadium. Also, feel free to check out these links from the rest of the blogging world for more previews and analysis:
“2009 Big 10 Fearless Picks, Week 10” [College Football News.com]
“Six Reasons Why Ohio St Stands No Chance Of Beating Penn St” [Bleacher Report]
“What Do You Want To See On Saturday? – Penn State edition” [Buckeye Battle Cry]
“Preview: #16 Ohio State vs #11 Penn State” [Eleven Warriors]
“Week #10: Penn State Preview and Open Thread” [Men of the Scarlet and Gray]

(The picture above was found here and is of Thaddeus Gibson sacking Daryll Clark in last year’s defeat against Penn State. Photo credit to Jeff Mills/The Ohio State University.)

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Jacob Rosen

    Huge first down on 4th and 2 for Iowa.. Down by seven with a minute and a half left around their own 30-yard line now. This is very, very interesting..

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Jacob Rosen

    There ya go. Northwestern takes over on downs and beats Iowa. Now the Hawkeyes, Buckeyes and Nittany Lions all have one loss in the conference. The title goes to whoever wins in the next two weeks between OSU/PSU and OSU/Iowa.

  • Kev

    Tressels play calling drives me NUTS. I understand you’re not that confident in your kicker, but Punting for the 29?! Come on… Then at the end of the half he tries to run three times in a row with 2:30 left in the half, when PSU has 3 timeouts left and we have to punt the ball back and give them plenty of time for them to potentially score… Tressel is waaay too conservative.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Conservative worked today. Defense was huge, and a few big plays on offense made up the rest of the balance.

    If we can top Iowa next week, it could be OSU/USC again in the Rose Bowl…

  • JJ From AK

    Anyone know how the pac-10 does their tiebreakers? I’m assuming head to head is number 1? Anyone know what number 2 is if we have another debacle like the Big 12 had??? Cuz Oregon State is still in the hunt if i’m not mistaken

  • Isis

    Outstanding……..way to stand up to PSU on their homecourt. What a job by the defense…….what a tremendous day of growth for Terrell Pryor. Just awesome……….tremendous physical motivated football. Way to stuff the freakin’ whiteout and all of those stupid childish T-Shirts. Slam dunk.

  • Ted D

    Hey all you State Penn fans! Look who’s CRYING this year. That so called Whiteout at Beaver Stadium was our best weapon. 24-7 We spanked ya. And it’s no wonder since you hadn’t played anybody this year, let alone a ranked team. Welcome home Terelle. Nice job!!! GO BUCKS!!

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Jacob Rosen

    Oregon and Arizona remain the only one-loss teams in the Pac-10 conference. If you recall, USC lost to Washington as well as the Ducks while Oregon’s first loss came today against Stanford.

    Arizona has only lost to Washington but still has to play Cal, Oregon and USC. Oregon remains in control of their own destiny in terms of the Pac-10 title. All they have to do is win out against Arizona State, Arizona and Oregon State.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com WFNYCraig on Twitter

    Beauty by the Bucks! They were an underdog and they came in and took care of business on the road. Imagine where they would be if they hadn’t laid an egg against Purdue. Still, can’t take it away from them today. Great win. There might be hope for Pryor’s Junior year yet.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Tressel wasn’t all that conservative in the second half – three straight passes on third and short at one point.

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