Still, I can give some kind of cursory glance to latest game in the Ohio State-Penn State series, now all knotted at 12-12 a piece after Penn State’s victory last year in Columbus.
Penn State brings one of the better ranked offenses in all of college football with them to this game, 24th nationally. By contrast, Ohio State is 63rd nationally, getting the benefit of the doubt of playing New Mexico State last week. Senior QB Daryll Clark has been an important reason why. I’ve watched a few Penn State games this season, enough to wonder if he should be further ahead his senior season than he already is. I still see problems, though they pale in comparison to the things associated with Pryor1. Nevertheless, Clark has put up about the same numbers this season as he did last season in spite of his missing his 3 WRs from last year’s Rose Bowl campaign. He has 7 picks already, but 18 TDs and throws for 239.8 yards a game. He’s third on the team in rushing too and has 5 TDs to show for it. Derek Moye has been the pleasant surprise. The 6’5, 200lb sophomore had 3 catches for 71 yards all of last year, but has been the leading receiver for the Nitts this season (39 catches, 648 yards, 5 TDs). Graham Zug — a person that I have been advised that I should not mess with, but likely someone that Donnie Evege thinks is a fucking amateur — is an other important target for Clark. If I don’t know any better, I’d say Zug’s stock is rising on the roster. At least, he torched Michigan for 3 TDs, which account for all but 2 of his 5 TDs this season. Chaz Powell is the team’s second leading receiver, besting Zug by 5 yards. Penn State likes to get Andrew Quarless, the tight end, involved as well. If that name sounds familiar, it should. He has tattoos that he’ll regret by time he’s 40, if he doesn’t already regret them now. He should. He gets yards, but only has one TD on the season.
Penn State’s offensive line was much maligned early this season. They were outright cannibalized by Iowa. Literally. I think Adrian Clayborn ate one of them whole. Their unfortunate slip-up at home notwithstanding, they have improved substantially and Ohio State will see a better unit up front than the Hawkeyes saw. Unless I’m missing something, their line will run Dennis Landolt, Johnnie Troutman, Stefen Wisniewski, Lou Eliades, and Ako Pati left to right. Pati is a California and Wisniewski is from Pennsylvania. The other 3 are from New Jersey, so you know they’re bad news. Perhaps a metric of the line’s continued improvement this season can be seen in tailback Evan Royster‘s performance post-Iowa. His cannibalized offensive line afforded him only 69 yards on 17 carries. The only sub-100 yard game he has since was against Eastern Illinois, where he earned 94 yards on 8 carries. Again Minnesota, Michigan and the Nerds, he’s had 137 yards, 100 yards and 118 yards respectively. Oh, and Penn State gets him involved in the receiving game too. Therein, he has 145 yards and a touchdown for the season. I don’t get to break down Penn State game footage (too boring), but I think Royster in the receiving game is their constraint play. From what I’ve seen, if his receptions aren’t last option throws by Clark, they’re usually something that defenses weren’t expecting and result in big yards. I’ll defer to a Penn State football analyst on this. The Nitts will also get Stephfon Green, Brandon Beachum and Joe Suhey involved in the ground game.
Penn State’s defense is unpleasant. They lead the country in scoring defense and are 5th in the country in yards allowed per game. They especially stuff the run (5th nationally) while also holding opposing offenses to 170 yards passing (12th nationally). Jack Crawford, British, has 13 TFLs. Defensive tackle Jared Odrick has 10 TFLs and leads the team in sacks (6). Crawford isn’t far behind him either with 5.5. Yes, a defensive tackle leads the no. 1 ranked scoring defense in sacks. I don’t quite know if Eric Latimore or Jerome Hayes will start at the other end spot. Latimore is the better player, but there are injury concerns. Ollie Ogbu will anchor the other tackle spot. Our 63rd ranked offense, complete with injury-plagued and decent at best offensive line must seem very, very inviting.
Josh Hull‘s feeble attempt at a Buckstache is an affront to God, country and the Great State of Ohio. Yet, should anyone on that team be worthy of mimicking the Buckstache, it may be Hull. Hull, the middle linebacker, leads the team in tackles (82). He’s a workhorse and tied for team lead in interceptions (2). The outside linebackers, Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee, are second and third with 53 and 49 respectively.
AJ Wallace and D’Anton Lynn are listed as the two cornerbacks. You’ll probably remember the name of AJ Wallace if you follow Big Ten football. He’s a senior and, likely, the leader of the unit. Drew Astorino and Nick Sukay are the two safeties. If time permitted, I’d go further into the Penn State defense. I skimmed over the linebackers too. Long story short: they’re good. I know it, you know it, they know it.
- Both stare down receivers though. [↩]