Penn State Football

3 Key Matchups Penn State Football Must Win to Upset Ohio State

The biggest matchup of the season so far for No. 7 Penn State Football is here, as the Nittany Lions will travel to Columbus to take on the No. 3 ranked Buckeyes Saturday.

The Nittany Lions enter the game having lost the last six matchups in the series.

In order to upset the Buckeyes and remain unbeaten on the season leaving Columbus, here are three key matchups that Penn State must win.

Penn State Football vs. Ohio State Key Matchups

Penn State defensive ends vs. Ohio State offensive tackles

If Penn State wants to upset Ohio State in Columbus, controlling the line of scrimmage will be a huge factor.

Ohio State has not scored a point on a drive where the quarterback has been sacked this season.

Getting pressure on McCord will both create negative plays and potential turnovers, but also it will help Penn State’s secondary to shorten the time needed to cover Harrison Jr., Egbuka, and Stover.

If Penn State Football is able to take advantage of the talent that the Lions have in the defensive line room, then Penn State will make it very difficult for Ohio State to move the ball consistently down the field.


Penn State interior offensive line vs. Ohio State defensive tackles

Ohio State’s interior defense will be a tough matchup for Penn State. Led by midseason All-American Tyleik Williams, Ohio State’s interior defensive line can create havoc.

Penn State’s guards and center Hunter Nourzad will have to be up to the task to not only stop the Ohio State defense from getting to Drew Allar, but also to create holes for Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen to establish the running game.

If Penn State can create any sort of lead in the second half, this matchup will be key to Penn State controlling the football down the stretch and eating the clock in the second half.

Penn State cornerbacks vs. Ohio State wide receivers

For years Ohio State has had one of the best wide receiver rooms in the country.

Ohio State offensive coordinator Brian Hartline has been one of the best recruiters and wide receiver coaches in the country for the past five years.

This year is no different as Ohio State has two projected first-round picks in its wide receiver room in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. Luckily for Penn State, the Nittany Lions have a projected first-round pick of their own on the other side of the football in cornerback Kalen King.

Any pressure that Penn State’s defensive ends can get on Kyle McCord will greatly help Penn State’s corners in this matchup, but fully shutting down Ohio State’s two talented receivers will be a tall task. Having King trail Harrison Jr. and using safety help over the top can help the Nittany Lions slow down the Buckeyes passing game and maybe even take advantage of Penn State’s talented secondary by creating a key turnover.

The Nittany Lions are set up to give the Buckeyes their toughest test of the season so far. If Penn State Football can win these three key matchups, the scene may be set for the Nittany Lions first win in Columbus since 2011.

MORE: Penn State vs. Ohio State LOADED with top NFL Draft talent


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About Author

Robert Casturo

Expertise: College Football, Penn State Football Education: Saint Vincent College, Penn State Law School Location: Washington, DC Experience: Robert Casturo has covered Penn State football for NittanyCentral since 2022. Casturo previously covered Penn State football through a social media presence (@PSU_FB_Thoughts on X) since 2019. Casturo earned his bachelor's degree from Saint Vincent College in 2015, where he was a punter for 1 season on the Saint Vincent College football team and worked in the athletic department for 2 years as a student manager. Casturo earned his JD from Penn State Law in 2018 where he was a senior editor of the Penn State Law Review.