Penn State Football

Defensive Line Key to Penn State Football Upset Hopes vs. Ohio State

Penn State Football has not beaten Ohio State since 2016 and has not won in Columbus since 2011. If Penn State wants to break those streaks, the defensive line may be key to an upset of the Buckeyes.

The Nittany Lions enters Week 8 of the 2023 season leading the nation in sacks per game (4.5 sacks per game) and ranked fifth in the nation in tackles for a loss per game (8.5 tackles for a loss per game).

Led by redshirt senior defensive end Adisa Isaac and junior defensive end Chop Robinson, Penn State’s defensive line has combined for 19 of Penn State’s 27 total sacks and 30.5 of the Lions’ 51 tackles for a loss.


Penn State’s defensive line has also combined for two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles on the season.

On the other side of the matchup, Ohio State ranks 44th in the nation in sacks allowed per game (1.67 sacks per game) and 15th in the nation in tackles for a loss allowed per game (4 tackles for a loss per game).

However, over the past two games, Ohio State’s statistics in these categories are trending in the wrong direction.

Against Purdue and Maryland, Ohio State allowed three sacks in each contest and six and five tackles for a loss, respectively.

Importantly for the Nittany Lions’ matchup Saturday, Ohio State has not scored a point on a drive this season that the Buckeyes have allowed a sack. In order to limit the Buckeyes high-powered offense, Penn State’s defensive line must create havoc in the backfield and get to the quarterback.

If Penn State’s defensive line can match the numbers surrendered by the Buckeyes against Purdue and Maryland, Penn State’s chances to upset the Buckeyes in Columbus will greatly increase.

MORE: Penn State Sees ‘Dynamic’ Playmaker Emerge at Perfect Time

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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.