Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#211 Penn State 55 vs.
#212 Ohio State -18
Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 12:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#211 Pennsylvania State University
#212 Ohio State University
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It’s a matchup of a couple of powerhouse teams from the East Division of the Big Ten in the Buckeye State. The #9 Penn State Nittany Lions are on the road as they take on the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday afternoon. Penn State earned a 34-27 home win over Indiana in their previous contest last Saturday. Ohio State thumped Rutgers 56-21 on the road last Saturday in their most recent contest. The Buckeyes own a 20-13 edge in the all-time series between the teams and have taken the last two matchups. That includes a 27-26 road win in the most recent matchup on September 29, 2018.

Penn State Nittany Lions Try to Spring Upset Victory

Penn State bounced back from their first loss of the season as they took down Indiana at home in their last game. The Nittany Lions are one game behind the Buckeyes in the East Division race so a win here would push them into contention for a berth in the Big Ten title game. Penn State took the lead for good with just over a minute to go in a wild first quarter, 17-14, and hung on for the win at home. An 18-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up 9:01 off the clock and capped by a touchdown with 1:44 to play provided the margin of victory. The Nittany Lions were outgained 462-371, gave up 23 first downs while picking up 21 and lost the time of possession 32:06 to 27:54 in the game. Penn State did force two turnovers while committing only one in the game.

The Nittany Lions enter this contest 46th in the nation in passing offense as they average 253.5 yards through the air this season. Penn State is 53rd in rushing offense as they pick up 173.1 yards per contest. The Nittany Lions are 15th in the FBS in scoring offense by averaging 36.8 points per game and stand 7th in scoring defense by allowing just 13.5 points per contest. Sean Clifford is 168 of 242 passing for 2,450 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions: he is second on the team with 374 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Will Levis is 14 of 22 for 85 yards and a score while adding 71 rushing yards and two scores. Noah Cain is third on the team on the ground with 66 carries for 350 yards and six scores. Journey Brown (86 carries, team-high 521 yards, six TD) and Devyn Ford (48 carries, 289 yards, two TD) are also valuable options in the ground game. KJ Hamler leads the Nittany Lions with 46 receptions for 791 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Pat Freiermuth (34 grabs, 424 yards, seven TD) and Jahan Dotson (22 receptions, 412 yards, three TD) are the only other players with more than 12 catches on the year. Jake Pinegar has hit 45 of 46 extra point attempts and nine of 10 field goals with a long of 47 this season. Jordan Stout has not attempted an extra point and is two of three on field goals with a long of 57.

Now that Penn State is having success, other big programs are starting to probe whether head coach James Franklin will be available. USC is the program looking to get back on the national stage and will probably shoot for the moon. The best available head coach is Urban Meyer, who is in a broadcast booth right now. USC and other major programs with new for a head coach are probably going to knock at his door.

But if Meyer is not available, could USC knock at Franklin's door? It's something that could be a distraction but Franklin is getting used to it at this time of the year.

Ohio State Buckeyes Look to Remain Unbeaten

Ohio State continued their mauling of opponents with a one-sided win over Rutgers last week. The Buckeyes have yet to win a game by fewer than 24 points this season and that includes wins over Wisconsin and a Michigan State team that was ranked at the time. Ohio State had little trouble with Rutgers as they were up 21-0 nine minutes into the game and 35-7 at the half before going into cruise mode. The Buckeyes rolled up a 594-231 edge in total offense, picked up 31 first downs while allowing 10 and forced three turnovers to offset two of their own. Ohio State more than made up for the fact that they were beaten 31:26 to 28:34 in time of possession.

The Buckeyes are 45th in the nation in passing offense with 254.3 yards per game through the air while the team is fourth in the country in rushing by averaging 287.4 yards per contest. Ohio State is first in the FBS in scoring offense with 51.5 points per game while they rank first in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 9.8 points per contest. Justin Fields is 159 of 230 for 2,154 yards with 31 touchdowns and one interception: he’s added 377 yards and 10 scores on the ground. Chris Chugunov is 25 of 41 for 275 yards with six touchdowns while Gunnar Hoak has hit all six passes for 104 yards and a score. J.K. Dobbins leads the team with 183 carries for 1,289 yards and 13 scores: Master Teague III (114 carries, 744 yards, four TD) is next in line. K.J. Hill has caught 38 passes for 423 yards plus six scores to lead the team. Binjimen Victor (27 receptions, 459 yards, six TD) and Chris Olave (37 receptions, 593 yards, nine TD) are other top targets in the aerial game. Blake Haubell has hit all 67 extra-point attempts and is eight of 10 on field goals with a long of 55. Dominic DiMaccio is two of three on extra points and has not attempted a field goal this year.

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It’s tough to argue with a team that has won every game by at least 24 points, much less one that leads the nation in both scoring offense and scoring defense. With that said, the Buckeyes are facing a fellow top-10 team that isn’t a pushover. The Nittany Lions’ lone loss was a five-point road defeat at Minnesota a couple weeks ago. Ohio State is tough and they have a lot of weapons to contend with offensively. Dobbins could have tough sledding as the Nittany Lions allow only 76.3 yards per game and 2.2 yards per carry on the ground. In the end, I think Ohio State has enough to get the victory but this one is a challenge that pushes them for the first time this season. Eighteen points is a few too many: take the points and Penn State.

Prediction: Penn State Nittany Lions +18

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We're staring at a game with the top team in the FBS in scoring offense and the top team in scoring defense on the field here. The problem is, both those superlatives belong to the same team: Ohio State. Of course, Penn State is no slouch either: the Nittany Lions are a top-10 scoring defense in the nation and they have five games with at least 35 points this season. The Nittany Lions have at least 26 in three others. Penn State has held seven of their 10 opponents under 14 points while Ohio State has done that eight times. Should we expect much offensively from either side here?

The under is 5-1 in the Nittany Lions' last 6 games following an ATS loss, 4-1 in their last 5 road games and 5-2 in their last 7 games following a straight up win. Ohio State has seen the under go 5-1 in their last 6 vs. a team with a winning record. Look for this one to end up under the number as the defenses control most of the afternoon here.

Prediction: Under 5-1 in Nittany Lions last 6 games following a ATS loss57
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.