Alright, I'm Dylan Callaghan-Croley and I'm signing off for tonight. Check back tomorrow for a closer look at tonight's game. Thank you for watching this great game with us here at Vavel!
Saquon Barkley played amazing tonight for a true freshman and shouldn't be overlooked. The kid is already and is going to be a star for a long time for Penn State. Unfortnuately for Penn State, they caught the Buckeyes on their best night.
While Ohio State played extremely well tonight, this game was a close one until the fourth quarter. Being within two posessions is a nice lead but it's not a lead that is a locked win. Ohio State's rushing attack ultimately gassed Penn State in the 4th quarter which lead to the 17-points in the fourth quarter for Ohio State.
Early on it looked like Penn State had themselves a shot there. But the holding call early on Saquon Barkley early TD run ultimately derailed Penn State. Ohio State has found their quarterback in J.T Barrett who has to start next week after his great performance tonight.
Players of the Game:
Penn State: Saquon Barkley - 26 carries, 194 yards
Ohio State: J.T Barrett - 4/4, 30 yards, 2 TD, 11 cars, 102 yards, 2 TD
END OF GAME: Ohio State 38 - Penn State 10
(4Q - 0:40) Hand off and Ohio State gains the first down for the final play of the game. Ohio State wins 38-10. Advances to 7-0 (3-0) on the season while Penn State is now 5-2 (2-1).
(4Q - 1:30) Sorry having internet connection problems again. But it's 38-10 and 2nd & 7 for Ohio State. Final minute of the game now.
(4Q - 3:01) 3rd and 10. Hand off to Akeel Lynch and he gets hit behind the line. Penn State forced to punt.
(4Q - 4:11) Barkley gets the handoff on first down and slips in the back field. Loss for one. 2nd and 11.
(4Q - 4:14) Hackenberg shouldn't be playing next drive. Neither should Saquon Barkley if Penn State is smart.
(4Q - 4:14) J.T Barrett to Michael Thomas makes it 38-10 Ohio State.
(4Q - 5:06) Jalin Marshall on the jet sweep gains a first down. 1st and goal for Ohio State.
(4Q - 5:25) Hackenberg immedietaly fumbles on the next play and Ohio State gets the ball. Hackenberg's injuries are catching up with him.
(4Q - 5:31) PLAY IS CONFIRMED and Cam Williams is ejeted from the game. Pumps up the crowd as he jogs off the field.
(4Q - 5:31) Cam Williams who forced the fumble is called for TARGETING. Play is under review, would wipe away the fumble. Williams would be out for the first half of Ohio State's next game, if confirmed.
(4Q - 5:41) Hackenberg throws the ball to Akeel Lynch and there's a FUMBLE ON THE PLAY. This is going down hill fast for Penn State. About to get ugly.
(4Q - 5:41) Hackenberg throws to DaeSean Hamilton but falls incomplete. Hamilton couldn't hold onto it. 3rd and 11 for PSU.
(4Q - 6:21) Joey Bosa could've been called for a latee hit there. Penn State hands it off to Barkley on 1st and 17. He gains about six yards.
(4Q - 6:25) Polk returns the ball to the 15 and Penn State decides to throw the ball on first down. Saeed Blacknall can't come down with it. Penn State gets called for holding.
(4Q - 6:25) Lone brightside for Penn State today has to be Saquon Barkley, who's just 12-yards away from a 200-yard performance.
(4Q - 6:28) Just like that, touchdown Ohio State. 5-yd TD rec Cardale Jones a jump bass to Braxton Miller. 31-10 Ohio State leads.
(4Q - 6:28) Ohio State takes a timeout. Just a few yards away from clinching a win.
(4Q - 7:03) Ezekiel Elliot gets the ball on first and goal and picks up very well. OSU taking their time here.
(4Q - 7:30) J.T Barrett to Samuel and Ohio State is in the redzone.
(4Q - 8:00) Shocking! Ezekiel Elliot with the first down.
(4Q - 8:30) Getting late here into the fourth quarter and OHio State picks up a yard on first down.
4Q - 9:19) Elliot picks up another first down. Three straight plays for three straight first downs. Penn State defense starting to fall apart here late. Look completely tired.
(4Q - 10:00) Ezekiel Elliot picks up a huge first down for Ohio State. Followed by a J.T Barrett first down.
(4Q - 10:00) Looking back at that play, Hackenberg just could've dumped the ball immeidetaly. Doesn't look through progrressions and steps right into the defensive line.
(4Q - 10:14) Hackenberg gets sacked on fourth down and Penn State turnovers on down. What a horrific play call by Penn State despite Saquon Barkley being WIDE OPEN
(4Q - 10:31) Penn State is going for it on fourth down.
(4Q - 11:15) Brandon Polk picks up a few yards on 2nd and eight. 3rd and 2 for Penn State.
(4Q - 12:13) Akeel Lynch comes in and gains two yards for Penn State. Barkley back in the game now.
(4Q - 12:49) A handoff to Barkley gets Penn State into Ohio State territory. Penn State all the way down to the Ohio State 20-yard line. What a run by the true freshman!
(4Q - 12:54) Ohio State kickoff is returned by Brandon Polk to the 23-yard line.
(4Q - 12:56) This will be without a doubt the biggest drive of the game for Penn State. Must score here if they want to stay in this game. They also have to do it quickly. Making this a 24-17 game with 8:00-9:00 minutes to go would be HUGE for the Nittany Lions.
(4Q - 12:56) The 39-yard field goal is GOOD! Ohio State takes a 24-10 lead.
(4Q - 13:40) Barrett in the shotgun all alone, Barrett throws it to elliot on a sweep and Elliot gets tackled in the backfield for a loss of two. OSU going for the 39-yard field goal.
(4Q - 14:22) After a rush by Elliot for four yards, Elliot rushes again on second down and picks up a yard. 3rd and 5 for Ohio State.
(4Q - 15:00) On 3rd and 10, Barrett keeps the ball and gets into Penn State territory. Wow. 9 carries for 88 yards for Barrett.
(4Q - 15:00) Ohio State actually only has four more yards offensively than Penn State after three quarters. 261-257 in favor of the Buckeyes.
(4Q - 15:00) The game could very well be decided on this possession. If Ohio State score, they basically seal a win. If they fail to score, Penn State still has a decent shot at coming back in this one.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Ohio State 21 - Penn State 10
(3Q - 0:34). J.T Barrett gets hit in the backfield by Carl Nassib after a fake handoff.
(3Q - 1:10) Barrett sets up in shotgun. Gains a few yards after not finding anyone open. 2nd and 6 for Ohio State across midfield.
(3Q - 1:31) Holding on the play in the secondary. Ohio State with a 1st and 10 at the spot of the foul.
(3Q - 1:38) J.T Barrett fake hand to Elliot and he takes off into Penn State territory. Flag on the play though.
(3Q - 2:03) Barrett on third down keeps the ball and gets the first down. First down for Ohio State.
(3Q - 2:55) Barrett hands it off to Elliot on second down as he picks up four yards.
(3Q - 3:18) Barrett hands it off to Ezekiel Elliot on first down. He picks up two yards, will be interesting to see if Barrett throws the ball here.
(3Q - 3:18) J.T Barrett is in the game.
(3Q - 3:35) Penn State punts the ball to the Ohio State 25-yard line. Not the greatest punt but pushes the Buckeyes back. Nittany Lions need a big play soon or this comeback is going to come up short.
(3Q - 4:04): Penn State hands the ball off to Barkley who gets stuffed behind the line. 4th down for Penn State.
(3Q - 4:55) Hackenberg pitches it back to Nick Scott, who pump fakes and then picks up four yards on a run.
(3Q - 5:21) On first down, Barkley gets another handoff and gains five yards. Is up to 131 yards on 20 carries.
(3Q - 5:25) Here's a bit of a shocker, Saquon Barkley gets a handoff and picks up the first down. Barkley is truly doing wonders for Penn State.
(3Q - 6:10) A handoff to Barkley gets Penn State eight yards. 2nd and 2 for Penn State here. Barkley at 120-yards so far.
(3Q - 6:26) A lite hit by Ohio State gives Penn State some momentum going upfield. 1st and 10 for Penn State at their 22-yard line.
(3Q - 6:26) Cameron Johnston is arguably the best punter in CFB for Ohio State.
(3Q - 6:40) Penn State forces Cardale Jones to overthrow Elliot in the backfield and OSU is forced to punt.
(3Q - 7:18) Elliot gets the handoff and picks up nine yards. 3rd and 8 for the Buckeyes.
(3Q - 8:02) Ohio State starts at Penn State's 41. Carl Nassib gets in the backfield and gets his second sack of the night. 2nd and 17 for the Buckeyes.
(3Q - 8:02) Penn State has to stop Ohio State here if they want to stay in this game. Have to hold the Buckeyes to a field goal at most.
(3Q - 8:02) Another horrendous Penn State punt puts the Buckeyes in their territory. Special teams are killing Penn State tonight.
(3Q - 8:44): Penn State hands the ball off to Barkley on third and long and he only gains four. Penn State forced to punt.
(3Q - 9:26): Barkley gets the handoff and gains about six yards. 3rd and 11 for Penn State. Very tough posistion here for the Nittany Lions.
(3Q - 10:05): Hackenberg all alone in the backfield and gets sacked. Hackenberg had no time and couldn't move at all. 2nd and 15 for PSU.
(3Q - 10:05): A touchdown by Penn State here would do wonders for them in terms of momentum.
(3Q - 10:05): Penn State receives the Ohio State punt inside their 10 as the Nittany Lions look to make this game a little tighter.
(3Q - 10:45): Penn State gets to Cardale Jones. The sack by Anthony Zettel and Carl Nassib. 4th down for Ohio State and they punt.
(3Q - 11:30) Braxton Miller gets the ball in the wildcat and gets chased down in the backfield 3rd and 11 for the Buckeyes.
(3Q - 12:00) Elliot takes the handoff on first down and gains four yards. 2nd and 6,
(3Q - 12:31) Penn State blitzes on third down and gets beat my Michael Thomas as Jone finds him across the middle for a Penn State first down.
(3Q - 12:31) Ohio State calls their first timeout of the second half. 3rd and 6.
(3Q - 12:39) Cardale Jones drops back but can't find anybody open when being chased and throws it away. 3rd &6 for the Buckeyes.
(3Q - 13:05) Buckeyes hand the ball off to Elliot on 1st down and he picks up 4.
(3Q - 13:30) Jones dumps the ball off to Elliot and 2nd and 4. Elliot grabs the first down.
(3Q - 13:59) Cardale Jones in as quarterback. Hands off to Elliot who picks up a few yards. Interesting that they put Jones back in their. Barrett has dominated the PSU defense.
(3Q - 13:59) Joey Juilius kicks it off after the Penn State touchdown for a FG. Ohio State starts at their own 20.
(3Q - 13:59) Saquon Barkley now has 100 yards on 14 carries tonight. Kid is putting up big numbers against a big time defense.
(3Q - 14:14) Hackenberg dumps it off to DaeSean Hamilton who gets it into the endzone for a Penn State touchdown. Penn State makes it a 21-10 Buckeyes lead.
(3Q - 14:32) Barkley finds a hole on first down and picks up a first down.
(3Q - 14:48) Hackenberg finds Godwin down the field and he drags OSU defneders deep into Ohio State territory!
(3Q - 15:00) Brandon Polk returns the kickoff to Penn State's 22-yard line.
Going to be interesting to see how Penn State responds here in the second half, they start with the ball.
Ohio State's offense looked completely different after those first three drives. J.T Barrett makes a huge difference, don't know why he's not the starting quarterback. If this writer was Ohio State, wouldn't throw a single pass the rest of the game.
Going forward it will be interesting to see the health of Hackenberg. Looked to be in serious discomfort late in the second quarter.
Last season, Ohio State had an 17-point lead at halftime leading 17-0. Penn State would come back to tie the game 24-24 before losing in overtime.
Christian Hackenberg: 4-9 for 56 yards
Cardale Jones: 7-12 for 59 yards
Saquon Barkley: 13 carries, 86 yards
Ezekiel Elliot: 15 carries, 78 yards
HALFTIME: Ohio State 21 - Penn State; 3
(2Q - 0:24) Elliot gets another handoff but picks up nothing. We go to halftime and it's 21-3 Ohio State at halftime.
(2Q - 1:04) Ohio State hands it off to Ezekiel Elliot who picks up two. Buckeyes will just run out the clock here to end the first half.
2Q (1:12) Penn State punts it and downs it inside Ohio Sate's 25.
2Q (1:35) 3rd and 5: Hackenberg overthrows his WR and Penn State is forced to punt. This is getting super ugly folks. Hackenberg completely failed to follow through on his throw. Looks like he grabbed his back after the play.
(2Q - 2:32) 2nd & 5: A handoff to Saquon Barley and he gets taken down in the backfield. 3rd and 5 for Penn State
(2Q - 3:10) 1sts and 10 at the 23-yard line. Barkley takes a handoff from a limping quarterback. Penn State is near midfield thanks to a 20-yard carry.
(2Q - 3:17) The Ohio State kickoff is returned to the 23-yard line by Nick Scott.
(2Q - 3:17) - J.T Barrett with the keeper and takes it 13-yards for an OHIO STATE touchdown. 21-3 Buckeyes.
(2Q - 3:50) - J.T Barrett hands off to Ezekiel Elliot who picks up three yards.
(2Q - 4:28) - Braxton Miller rumbles his way to Penn State's 30-yd line. Ezekiel Elliot then picks up a first down on a nice run. J.T Barrett into the game for Ohio State.
(2Q - 5:04) - Elliot gets the ball on 2nd and 1 and gains a first down. Ohio State in Penn State territory.
(2Q - 5:54) - Elliot takes a handoff and gains nine yards. Back to Hackenberg. The JR QB has a huge gash on his leg.
(2Q - 5:54) - If Ohio State scores here this game may get ugly very quickly. Especially if Hackenberg is out of this game.
(2Q - 6:01) - Hackenberg gets sacked on 4th down and Hackenberg limps off the field. Could be bad news for Penn State. TURNOVER ON DOWN.
(2Q - 6:01) - 4th and 8 for Penn State. Nittany Lions NEED to get this to get momentum going their way.
(2Q - 6:01) - Penn State with poor playcall managment and takes their final of the half. See if they still go it on fourth down.
(2Q - 6:54): Hackenberg gets pressured on 4th down and takes off with the ball. 4th and 8 for Penn State their going for it.
(2Q - 7:30) Hackenberg throws a short pass to Chris Godwin who barely picks up anything. 3rd and 12 for Penn State.
(2Q - 8:15) Brandon Polk fumbles a jet sweep hnadoff but picks it up. 2nd and 14 for Penn State.
(2Q - 8:42) Barkley picks up another first down on Penn State first down. Penn State at OSU's 32-yard line.
(2Q - 9:14) Barkley takes off and picks up a first down. Penn State is in Ohio State territory at the 48-yard line. 1st and 10.
(2Q - 9:26) Brandon Polk with a big return sets Penn State up with their best field posistion of the day at the 35-yard line.
(2Q - 10:45) That was an incredible run by Elliot, showing off why's the top NFL prospect. Broke four tackles on his way to the endzone. This game may get ugly quick.
(2Q - 10:50) Having internet issues. Ezekiel Elliot takes it to the house for Ohio State on a 10-yd TD run and Ohio State is up 14-3.
(2Q - 11:40) 1st and 10 at Penn State's 45: Ezekiel Elliot gets the handoff and gains seven before being brought down. 2nd & 3 for Ohio State.
(2Q - 11:46) A false start by Penn State knocks them bac into their endzone and then a HORRIBLE punt puts Ohio State into Penn State territory.
(2Q - 13:20) - Saquon Barkley gets the handoff and gains five but HURDLES an OSU defneder. On the next play, Joey Bosa gets to him in the backfield.
(2Q - 13:30) - Akeely Lynch gets the handoff on first down and picks up three.
(2Q - 13:43) - Mark Allen returns the Ohio State kickoff to the Penn State 14-yard line. 1st and 10
(2Q - 13:50) - J.T Barrett takes into the endzone for an Ohio State TOUCHDOWN. 7-3 Buckeyes!
(2Q - 14:19) - J.T Barrett with a QB keeper and gains a first down.
(2Q - 15:00) - Ohio State starts at Penn State's 31 in the second quarter. 3rd and 7 after a handoff to Ezekiel Elliot.
Penn State outgained Ohio State 87-57 in the first quarter as they lead 3-0.
IF anything was found out that quarter, Saquon Barkley is going to be a force tonight for Penn State. Kid has unbelieveable skill. Ohio State needs to score here if they want to gain momentum.
END OF 1ST QUARTER: Penn State leads 3-0 after one. Ohio State lucky it isn't 10-0.
1Q (0:20): 1st and 10 for Ohio State: Jones fakes hand off to Ezekiel Elliot but gets swallowed in the backfield.
1Q (1:05): A huge play by Braxton Miller takes it all the way to Penn State's 29-yard line. 1st and10 Ohio State.
1Q (1:30) 3rd and 11 at Ohio State's 40: Jones finds Miller for a 17-yard completion. Jones had all day on that one.
1Q (1:31) 2nd and 11 at Ohio State's 40: Jones tries to find Jalen Marshall and can't connect with him. 3rd and 11.
1Q (2:04) 1st and 10 at Ohio State's 40: Jones pitches it to Elliot and Garrett Sickels gts him in the backfield. 2nd and 11.
1Q (2:39) 1st and 10 at Ohio State's 30: Jones dumps a pass to Elliot and gets a first down.
1Q (3:21) 3rd and 8: Christian Hackenberg gets taken down by Joey Bosa and Ohio State forces Penn State to punt.
1Q (3:21) 3rd and 8: Penn State spent their second time out. Then Ohio State takes a timeout.
1Q (3:21) That was incredible run by Barkley, despite the penalty.
1Q (3:28): 3rd and 1 handoff to Saquon Barkley and he takes off towards the endzone but a holding call brings it back. What a killer penalty.
1Q (3:35): Hackenberg finds an open Mike Gesicki downfield but the sophomore TE DROPS the easy catch and it's 3rd and 1 for Penn State. What a costly drop by the talented TE.
1Q (4:05) Saquon Barkley shows off his speed and gets to the outside and gains nine yards. Great blocking by freshman WR Brandon Polk. 2nd and 1.
1Q (4:08): Adam Breneman enters the game for Penn State. Hackenberg looks for Hamilton on a quick pass, overthrows him. Horrendous pass by the junior. OSU Sr. safety Vonn Bell called for unsportamnlike and Penn State near midfield.
1Q (4:13): 1st and 10: Hackenberg goes deep for Chris Godwin and Godwin gets tackled by a OSU DB. 1st down at Penn State's 32-yard line.
1Q (4:50) Barkley gets the ball again and gains a few more yards. 1st down Penn State!
1Q (5:11): Another handoff to Barkley and he's able to pick up five more yards. He used a few cuts there to gain a few yards. Kid is already showing off his skills.
1Q (6:11): Penn State hands the ball off to Saquon Barkley and he's able to gain four yards. 2nd and 6 from the six yard line.
1Q (6:48) WHAT A PUNT! Ohio State punter Cameron Johnson pins Penn State at their 2-yard line!
1Q (6:54) 4th and 9: Cardale Jones gets a completion to Ezekiel Elliot but only a few yards and forced to punt. Penn State's defense is having a strong showing early on here.
1Q (7:05) 2nd and 16: Jones looks for a receiver but gets his ball batted down at the offensive line. 3rd down and 16 for OSU.
1Q (7:35) Braxton Miller gets the ball on a jet sweep but Penn State's D-Line gets to him in the back field for a loss of 6. 2nd and 16 for Ohio State.
1Q (7:45) Penn State punts to Jalin Marshall who returns from just beyond the 50 to Ohio State's 35. Penn State punting troubles continue, has been atrotious two straight seasons now.
1Q (7:45) Ohio State calls a timeout before the punt. Buckeyes defense sent a lot of pressure on that drive against Penn State, was disrupting Hakenberg two straight plays.
1Q (7:51) - Ohio State completely dominates the Penn State offensive line and gets Hackenberg to throw an incompletion. Penn State forced to punt.
1Q (8:25) - Hackenberg shows his feet on second down and is able to get out of the pocket and pick up four yards. 3rd and 6.
1Q (9:03) - A handoff to Barkley and he gets wrapped up in the backfied. 2nd and 10 for Penn State.
OSU LB Joshua Perry heading to locker room on the cart, got injured on the first drive.
1Q (9:03) Akeel Lynch saw all the time on the first drive for Penn State. Appears Barkley is going to get his work on the second drive. Watchout, this kid can flat out play. Going to be a fun player to watch.
1Q - (9:18) Penn State forces Ohio State to punt and De'Andre Thompkins fair catches it inside the 15-yard line. Penn State couldn't have asked for a better start defensively. Ohio State has gained just 17-yards on their first two series.
1Q - (10:40) 1st and 10: Cardale Jones throws behind his receiver and almost gets intercepted. Next play is a handoff to Elliot, who picks up two. 3rd and 8 for the Buckeyes.
(1Q - 10:55) 2nd and 1: Elliot picks up the first down and gains one.
(1Q - 11:27) 1st and 10 Ohio State. Elliot gets the handoff for a gain of 9. 2nd and 1 for OSU.
(1Q - 11:30) Samuel returns the Penn State kickoff to the Ohio State 29-yard line.
(1Q - 11:36) Joey Julius drills a 33-yd field goal to put Penn State up 3-0 early here in the first quarter.
(1Q - 11:43) Hackenberg sets and delievers a low throw trying to get Saeed Blacknall. Penn Sate will try for the FG.
(1Q - 12:23) Hackenberg to Brandon Polk on a jet sweep gains four yards. 3rd and 5 for Penn State.
(1Q - 13:09) 1st and 10 at Ohio State's 21: Akeel Lynch tries to bounce outside and only gains a yard.
(1Q - 13:40) 1st and 10: Penn State gets all the way down to Ohio State territory on a perfect throw from Hackenberg to Chris Godwin. Down to Ohio State's 21.
(1Q -13:58) 1st and 10 at Penn State 23: Handoff to Akeel Lynch is good for a first down.
(1Q - 14:05) 3rd and 11: Cardale Jones overthrows an open Braxton Miller. Ohio State forced to punt. Penn State has not allowed a touchdown on the opening drive yet this season.
(1Q - 14:09) 2nd and 11: Cardale Jones's pass is defelcted by Penn State DE Anthony Zettel and falls incomplete. Quickly 3rd and 11 for Ohio State.
(1Q - 14:54) Ezekiel Elliot gets the handoff on the first play and he's rounded up by LB Troy Reeder for a loss of a yard. 2nd and 11
(1Q - 15:00) Samuel returns the ball to the 22 yard line for Ohio State.
(1Q - 15:00) Penn State wins the toss. Defers to the second house. Penn State kicker Joe "Big Toe" Julius will kick the ball off.
Just closing in on kickoff.
Kirk Herbstreit: "I think Barkley can be the best running back Penn State's had going back 10-years."
It's time for one of the best rivalries in the Big Ten! Penn State - Ohio State!
One last thing on Michigan - Michigan State. Going to be hard for Ohio State - Penn State to come close to topping that. What an incredible game from both teams.
Just under 30 minutes to kick off!
Five minutes later....I still can't believe what I just saw.
Penn State TE Adam Breneman is also dressed for tonight's game. Was dressed last week, didn't play. Will be interesting to see if he makes his season debut tonight.
Ooops, yours truley lied... Saquon Barkley is DRESSED for today's game. So is Akeel Lynch. Penn State has it's top two runningbacks for tonight.
Penn State has taken the field for warmups and there is no sight of Saquon Barkley. Just under an hour for kickoff.
Big Ten Scoreboard:
Michigan 23 - Michigan State 21 (4Q)
Indiana 52 - Rutgers 46 (4Q)
If Ohio State goes into the game and respects Penn State as an opponent who may not have as much talent but can definetaly play at a high level, they have a better chance of making it a blowout earlier than what they would when over confident.
Ohio State Keys to the Game #3: Don't get over confident
It's always said but many often don't follow. For Ohio State this year, it's obvious that they've gone into games over confident and it's a huge reason they've struggled early on. If they go into tonight's game thinking they can easily beat Penn State, they will struggle, and struggle badly.
Though six games this season, Elliot has rushed for 835-yards on 121 carries while picking up 10 touchdowns. If Elliot is able to get 20-carriers tonight, he should easily be able to pick up at least 100-120 yards. With Penn State's top defensive line it won't be easy to always run the ball, but with Elliot's vision and elusiveness, he should be able to get past the defensive line at a decent rate Saturday night.
Ohio State Keys to the Game #2: Give Ezekiel Elliot the ball often
Ezekiel Elliot is one of the best running backs in the nation, and the best running back eligble next year's NFL Draft. He's no easy man to stop, just ask the six other teams Ohio State has played this year.
With Hackenberg already being sacked 19 times through six games and nine in the last five, Penn State's offensive line isn't as bad as last year's but is no where, where it has to be to give Hackenberg enough time to make plays consistenly. It's simple, get presuure on Hackenberg and you have a good shot at forcing a turnover.
Ohio State Keys to the Game #1: Get to Christian Hackenberg Often
It's no secret that when Hackenerg gets pressurized his overall production goes down, way down. If Ohio State wants to put the game away early tonight, they MUST get to Hackenberg early and often.
Ohio State Keys to the Game:
1) Get to Christian Hackenberg often
2) Give Ezekiel Elliot the ball often
3) Don't get over confident
With Carl Nassib and Austin Johnson's athelticism, Penn State should be able to contain the Ohio State quarterbacks to a decent point on Saturday and should be able to grab two or three sacks during the game.
If Penn State can contain Elliot to just a point, they'll be able to keep themselves in the game on Saturday. When it comes to the passing game, Penn State will be dealing with dual threat quarterbacks, especially in that of J.T Barrett when Ohio State enters the red zone.
For Penn State, that task will not always be the easiest but should be able done quite a bit on Saturday night. With three top three round draft picks on their defensive line, Penn State has been giving offenses nightmares all season, recording 25 sacks through the first six games of the season.
Penn State Key to the Game #3: Get in the Ohio State Backfield
With the Buckeyes having their fair share of passing troubles this season, running back Ezekiel Elliot has been the most important cog of Ohio State's offense this season. One way to stop Elliot, is to get into the backfield, of course.
If Hackenberg could get into a similar rhythem today, the Penn State offense has a chance to give the Ohio State defense trouble for most of the night.
In those three weeks, Penn State was able to get Hackenberg in rhythems using a variety of different play calls including to allow him to use the deep ball more often than in the first three games this season. It's worked for the Nittany Lions as they've averaged 28.7 points per game and Hackenberg has thrown for 6-touchdowns and zero interceptions while throwing for 238-yards per game.
His completition percentage of 53% is the second consecutive season that he has seen his percentage dip. In his freshman season under Bill O'Brien, he completed 58.9%, last season he completed 55.3% and now he's seen it dip to 53%. Over the last three weeks however, his completion percentage has been around 55.4%.
While a first glance at his stats this year wouldn't throw warning signs, seven touchdowns, two interceptions, 1,086-yards. His compleition percentage at times can be troubling. So far this season, Hackenberg has only completed 53% of his passes (87-for-164).
Penn State Key to the Game #2: Get Christian Hackenberg into a rhythem early
It's no secret that Christian Hackenberg is the ultimate key to the Penn State offense. The junior quarterback has broken numerous records over his career at Penn State and has a chance to become their all-time leading passer on Saturday night.
However, it hasn't always been easy for the junior signal caller.
With Akeel Lynch most likely out for the Nittany Lions tonight, Barkley will have a huge impact tonight if he's on or off the field. While Penn State has been able to garner some rushing yards over the last few weeks without Barkley, going up against a stacked Ohio State defense won't make it as easy.
If Barkley is healthy tonight and is playing, Penn State must give the ball to Barkley early and often in order to create a rushing attack that can help balance Penn State's offense early in the game.
He's been rated as one of the most elusive running backs in the nation by ProFootballFocus. After his 195-yard performance against Rutgers, Barkley owned an elusive rating of 318.8, compared to that of Leonard Fournette who had a rating of 130.3 at the time.
Barkley only has 42 rushing attempts this year (didn't play against Temple; out with injury past two weeks) but in those 42 carriers, Barkley has been explosive rushing for 373-yards and three touchdowns. With an average of 8.9 yards per game, Barkley has been one of the hardest running backs to bring down and he's only a freshman.
Penn State Key to the Game #1: Develop a running game early (Give Barkley the ball)
Much of this key will rely on the health of true freshman running back Saquon Barley. The eastern Pennsylvania native broke on the secene against Buffalo earlier this season for Penn State and almost posted 200 rushing yards the following week against Rutgers before going down with an ankle injury early against San Diego State that has kept him out the last two weeks.
Let's take a look at the keys of the game for the away team, the Penn State Nittany Lions. We'lll go more in depth with each in the following posts.
1) Develop a running game early
1A) Give Saquon Barkley the ball early and often.
2) Get Christian Hackenberg in a rhythem.
3)Get in the Ohio State backfield
*Barkley is questionable for tonight's game.
Ohio State's defense is ranked 20th nationally only allowing 17.3 points per game, and only 11.8 points per game over their last five games.
Penn State's offense continues it's struggles from 2014 and is ranked as the nation's 168th best offense, scoring just 25 points per game and 28.2 points over their last five games.
Penn State enters tonight's game with the 10th ranked defense in the country, allowing just 14.3 points per game and 11.8 points per game over their last five games.
Ohio State enters with the countries 51st ranked offense scoring 36.0 points per game, and 33.8 points per game over their last five.
Just about three hours away from kickoff, let's get this pregame going for tonight's Big Ten primtetime matchup!
Now starting in his senior season, Nassib has taken college football by storm and has arguably been the best defensive end in the nation this season. So far in Penn State's six games this season, Nassib has recorded 10 sacks and is on track for a 20-sack season, which would shatter the Penn State record of 12 set by Maurice Evans in 2007.
O'Brien decided to bring on the West Chester, PA native as a walk-on defensive end. Over the past four seasons, the once 215-pound walk-on has now added over 60 pounds of muscle and has earned himself a scholarship.
The younger brother of Ryan Nassib, the backup quarterback of the New York Giants, Carl never started a game in his career before this season, including high school. After being convinced by his dad to make a highlight tape of the time he did play in high school, he sent them to schools across the country. One coach who had interest in the then tall and skinny defensive end was now Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien.
Tonight's game will also be a chance for one of the best stories in college football to make himself known on the national stage, Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib who leads the nation in sacks with 10.
For Ohio State, they'll most likely be without safety Erick Smith due to a knee injury, and will also be expected to be without WR Parris Campbell also due to knee injury.
Penn State does not release injury reports but there are seven Nittany Lions who are going to be questionable for tonight's game, including freshman running back sensation Saquon Barkley who has become a dynamic part of Penn State's offense here in his true freshman season.
Temperature at kickoff tonight will be in the low 40s tonight and will have the potential of dropping into the high 30s late in the game. The cold weather should be interesting on how it impacts tonight's game through the air as both Christian Hackenberg and Cardale Jones have had their struggles so far this season.
Tonight's game will have about 14-16 NFL scouts in attendance according to reports, the teams in attendance are the following.
Penn State: QB Christian Hackenberg, DE Austin Johnson, DE Carl Nassib, DT Anthony Zettel
Ohio State: DE Joey Bosa, RB Ezekiel Elliot, QB Cardale Jones, DE/LB Noah Spence
Four players from each that the scouts will be watching include:
Over his three seasons at Ohio State, head coach Urban Meyer has compiled a record of 29-1 against unranked opponents, with the only loss being Virginia Tech in week two of last season.
For his career, James Franklin all-time is 1-10 against top-25 opponents including 0-2 in 2014 with losses to Ohio State and Michigan State. At Penn State, Franklin has compiled a 12-7 record over his season and a half, with a five-game winning streak, the longest of his career at Penn State.
Tonight will be Penn State head coach James Franklin's first time coaching at "The Shoe". It will be the second time that the Buckeyes are playing the Nittany Lions in Columbus under head coach Urban Meyer, with the last meeting in Columbus ended in a decisive 63-14 victory by Ohio State.
This rivalry game has been played since 1912 and has been continuously since 1993, when Penn State joined the Big Ten. Since then, Ohio State leads the series with a 14-7 record including a current three-game winning streak. The longest streak in series history is four by Penn State who won the first very four meetings in 1912, 1956, 1963, and 1964. Since then three games is the highest winning streak, done twice by Ohio State (2002-04 & 2012-14). Ohio State will try to make it four games tonight.
Tonight's game will be the 31st meeting between the two historical programs with Ohio State leading the all-time series 16-13 including winners of the last three.
Last season, these two teams fought in a thrilling two overtime game that saw Ohio State win 31-24. Early in the game, the Nittany Lions trailed 17-0 at halftime before keeping the Buckeyes to under 100 yards in the second half. Penn State was able to get the game tied thanks to their offense coming up big late in the game. In overtime, the Buckeyes offense in the redzone was too much to handle, while Penn State's inexperienced and shaky offensive line ultimately helped lead to the loss as a bad snap followed by a Joey Bosa sack ended the game in State College. After their scare at Beaver Stadium, the Buckeyes would never look back and dominated their way to a National Championship.
Will tonight finally be the night that the mighty will fall? That is the question on everyone's mind as the nation's top team the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) take on the Penn State Nittany Lions (5-1) at "The Shoe" in Columbus, Ohio. The number one Buckeyes enter Saturday night affair with a 19-game winning streak on the line. The Nittany Lions will look to extend their winning streak to six tonight after winning five consecutive home games after losing their season opener at Temple.
Hello and welcome to VAVEL USA's live coverage of 2015 Big Ten College Football between the Penn State Nittany Lions and Ohio State Buckeyes. I'm Dylan Callaghan-Croley and I'll be providing live play-by-play and commentary. The game starts at 8:00 PM EST on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.