It is finally here; No. 7 Penn State Football and the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes face off this Saturday. It should be a classic Big-Ten battle.
Saturday’s matchup has significant implications both in the Big Ten Conference championship and College Football Playoff races.
While the Nittany Lions haven’t beaten Ohio State since 2016 and have not emerged victorious in Columbus since 2011, this might be head coach James Franklin‘s best team yet to take part in this matchup.
Here’s a look at three things Penn State Football must do to pull off an upset over the Buckeyes, and significantly bolster its playoff resumè:
Slow down the Ohio State rushing attack
The Nittany Lions must focus on stopping the Ohio State rushing attack.
Desmonte Trayanum has 235 yards rushing, and Tre’Vevon Henderson leads them in rushing with 295 yards, but he did not play last week.
Penn State is second in the country in rush defense, giving up 72.5 yards per game, so they should be able to slow down the Ohio State run game. They bring a safety down in the box to help with run support.
Manny Diaz‘s defense needs to force Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord to beat them. McCord does a good job not turning the ball over; he has only thrown one interception.
Slowing the run game will force him to pass more than Ohio State wants to.
Limit Marvin Harrison Jr.
Marvin Harrison Jr. leads Ohio State in receiving with 31 catches for 604 yards and five touchdowns.
Penn State will need to limit his touches. It will be up to one of the best cornerbacks in the country, Kalen King, to slow down Harrison.
King rarely gets challenged, but that could change Saturday. This could be one of the fun matchups to watch on Saturday afternoon.
Block Tyleik Williams
The Penn State offensive line must do their best to block defensive tackle Tyleik Williams; they may need to double-team him sometimes.
So far, Williams has six tackles for a loss so far this season.
If Penn State Football is going to make the College Football Playoff, winning Saturday might be imperative. Beating the Buckeyes starts with winning these key matchups.