November 12, 2010

Tale of the tape: Penn State

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Head Coach:

Joe Paterno

2009 Record: 11-2 Big Ten


State College (Pa.)

Kickoff: 3:30 pm EST Television: ABC Location: Ohio Stadium (102,329)

When Ohio St. has the ball...

  • Rushing Defense: 156.4 Ypg. (68th)

  • Passing Defense: 189.6 Ypg. (26th)

  • Scoring Defense: 20.1 Ppg. (28th)
  • Rushing Offense: 211.8 Ypg. (19th)

  • Passing Offense: 244.0 Ypg. (42nd)

  • Scoring Offense: 42.0 Ppg. (7th)

  • Penn St. Defensive Backs

    Ohio State Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)
    Penn State has been near the middle of the pack of the Big Ten in pass defense since the start of the Big Ten season and sees its ranking propped up by the non-con schedule. The Nittany Lions have two picks during the conference schedule but can lay the lumber in the secondary when teams break into the second and third levels. ]Drew Astorino comes out of the Hero position as one of the two senior leaders of the group along with Chaz Powell. When November started in 2009 the Buckeyes took the ball out of the passing game and decided to ground it out. Don't expect that this season with Terrelle Pryor still having a hot hand and the team having a balance that it hasn't enjoyed in several years. Dane Sanzenbacher will continue to be the unheralded hero of the receivers and look for the Buckeyes to continue to gun for the tight ends. Brandon Saine has had a reception in every game this season except for the Marshall opener.

    Penn St. Linebackers

    Ohio State Running Backs
    Is Penn State still Linebacker U? There were a lot of expectations of Chris Colasanti and while he leads the Nits in total tackles he might not be as special as some of the greats to proceed him. Bani Gbadyu is a bear to deal with from his outside linebacker spot while the Nits have several other talented linebackers who might be long on potential but short on production to date. The Buckeyes will look to test these guys in multiple situations and see how they can handle having to drop back into coverage. If Penn State has success bringing more than four however the Bucks line could be tested. Ohio State has had 11 rushing touchdowns since the start of the Big Ten season and have averaged 41 carries per game (not far off the season average). Dan Herron has been the workhorse when it comes to yardage amounts but he has only eclipsed the 20 carry mark once this season (at Illinois). Jordan Hall has been getting the second most carries to date but people are still itching to see more of Jaamal Berry and Carlos Hyde. With all of the talk about this being a passing team the numbers don't lie that this team still likes to run the ball.

    Penn St. Defensive Line

    Ohio State Offensive Line
    This will not be Ohio State's toughest test of the season but it will rank up near the top with players like Devon Still and Ollie Ogbu coming from the DT positions. Neither of the defensive ends are household names and when you get into the two deep the group is somewhat anonymous when it comes to notoriety. Still leads the team with four sacks while aforementioned unknown Pete Massaro has three. Traditionally the Lions are a little bit deeper at the line but this group has what it takes to derail plans so the Bucks have to come prepared for play for four quarters. Ohio State's offensive line is coming off of a dominating night against Minnesota where the ground game racked up more than 200 yards and Terrelle Pryor was untouched. No offense to Minnesota but that was not nearly the type of challenge that the Bucks will face this week. Bryant Browning and Justin Boren continue to have good years at guard but as we have said all season long the play of the tackles is where this line will learn its fate. There is definite reason to be happy with the play so far overall and not all of the sacks of Pryor cannot be attributed to the line play with Pryor extending plays often.

    When Penn St. has the ball...

  • Rushing Offense: 149.6 Ypg. (68th)

  • Passing Offense: 219.9 Ypg. (61st)

  • Scoring Offense: 24.2 Ppg. (82nd)
  • Rushing Defense: 84.0 Ypg. (4th)

  • Passing Defense: 150.2 Ypg. (3rd)

  • Scoring Defense: 13.6 Ppg. (3rd)

  • Penn St. Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)

    Ohio State Defensive Backs
    Matt McGloin will get the start and the Nits will see if he can continue to have the hot hand. Derek Moye is the leading receiver with more than 600 yards receiving and an 18.6 yard per reception average but that is greatly aided by a couple of long receptions. Brett Brackett surprisingly is the No. 2 receiver with four touchdown receptions just like Moye. Keep an eye out for running back Evan Royster catching passes too. His seven yard reception against Northwestern got the Nits on the board and started the run of 35 unanswered points to secure JoePa's 400th win. Ohio State's secondary showed a couple of cracks in the first two drives against Minnesota two weeks ago. Don't believe for a second that Penn State didn't take notice but the Buckeyes spent extra time diagnosing what went wrong, plus Adam Weber made a couple of nice plays. The Buckeyes have been good against pass oriented teams and Chimdi Chekwa has played well (for the most part) but people still harp on the one play that he doesn't make rather than the ten that he does make. Orhian Johnson did get exposed last time out and the Buckeyes are going to need to be wary of the Nits trying to go back to that well.

    Penn St. Running Backs

    Ohio State Linebackers
    Running back Evan Royster has had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games against Northwestern and Michigan but will find the task a little bit more difficult this time around. Silas Redd broke the 100 yard mark as well. Penn State has obviously had more success overall when it can run the ball but Ohio State is not giving up much on the ground (short of Wisconsin) and Penn State is not made up of the same 'type' of personnel as the Badgers so it could be more like 2009 where PSU was held to 76 yards on the ground. Ross Homan returning to the lineup will be a big thing for the Buckeyes but will he be limited in any way? Jim Tressel doesn't believe so but nobody will know for sure until he is out there for an extended period of time. Andrew Sweat played exceptionally well when moving over to the WLB spot. The bright spot out of all this is now the Buckeyes know they have a strong back-up the rest of the way in Jonathan Newsome and that will give the Bucks more depth in this mini-gauntlet of three games.

    Penn St. Offensive Line
    Ohio State Defensive Line
    One thing that everyone can agree upon is that Penn State has a very large offensive line. Granted they are not all 300 pounds but there are still some name players there including Stefen Wisnniewski. Penn State has allowed a middle of the pack ten sacks this season and even though the Buckeyes have been stepping up the pressure it is likely that they will have trouble getting a ton of pressure by sending only four. Ohio State's defensive line has started to emerge from its shell but there is a long way to go to match the expectations that were set at the start of this season for a veteran group. Cameron Heyward has shown flashes of the dominant lineman that he was during his junior campaign. Nathan Williams has been coming along as well but this line just hasn't lived up to what people were expecting, at least not yet.

    Special teams matchups...

  • Net Punting: 39.14 Avg. (17th)

  • Punt Returns: 7.42 Yds/Ret (71st)

  • Kickoff Returns: 24.50 Avg. (19th)

  • Field Goals: 80% 16-20
  • Net Punting: 32.87 Avg. (102nd)

  • Punt Returns: 9.77 Yds/Ret (38th)

  • Kickoff Returns: 25.75 Avg. (10th)

  • Field Goals: 72% 13-18

  • Penn St. Special Teams

    Ohio State Special Teams
    If this gets down to a battle of special teams then Penn State does have some things to smile about. Collin Wagner has been good with his placekicking duties and the return game has been good on kickoffs with Chaz Powell bringing the ball back more than 24 yards a return. While Ohio State might have some better numbers in key spots the consistency of PSU's unit gives it the edge. Jordan Hall nearly took the opening kickoff back in the Minnesota game and appears to be close to finally breaking through. The Buckeyes still have not been able to break through in the net punting category yet and not all of that can be pinned on Ben Buchanan with the coverage team letting him down. The Bucks are hoping that if Dorian Bell does return that he can help lock it down.


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