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Walker: 3 Keys for a Penn State Victory over Ohio U.

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Sean Clifford

Penn State will head into their home opener as 25.5-point favorites against Ohio on Saturday afternoon. The Nittany Lions are coming off an emotional conference victory last Thursday night at Purdue, while Ohio defeated Florida International 41-38 at home. Penn State has the talent advantage at every position, however with a trip to the plains at Auburn coming up, this has all the makings of a trap game. There are three keys to Penn State to avoid the upset and get to 2-0 heading to their big clash with Auburn.

Dominate the Line of Scrimmage

Despite their inconsistent performance on both sides of the line of scrimmage against Purdue, Penn State has an overwhelming advantage in the trenches. The difference between Power Five schools and Group of Five schools is not the skill positions, they are the big men up front. Olu Fashanu, Landon Tengwall, Juice Scruggs, Sal Wormley, and Bruce Effner or Caeden Wallace all had rankings of at least three stars coming out of high school and they need to get tuned up for Auburn by facing a smaller defensive front to open holes for the running back and hope to have their first 100-yard rusher in 17 games. On defense, Chop Robinson, Adisa Isaac, PJ Mustipher, and Hakeem Beamon should have no problems handling the Bobcats’ offensive line. I would not be surprised to see Dani-Davis Sutton and Zane Durant have a breakout game.

No Turnovers and Limit Penalties

Upsets happen in college football when the superior team on paper gives the team extra opportunities to score and free possessions. The only way I see Ohio winning this game is if Penn State helps them in the cause. Penn State had only one turnover in the game against Purdue, which was the pick-six against Purdue. During last Thursday’s game, all of Purdue’s scoring drives were aided by penalties by Penn State. Roughing the passer calls, targeting, defensive pass interference, and defensive holding calls were why the game was as close as it was. Penn State needs to execute a clean football game and the talent difference will allow them to cruise to a victory.

Get Off to a Fast Start

Penn State will need to establish dominance from kick-off. That means a three-and-out of the first defensive possession and a touchdown drive of their first possession. If they could get a touchdown on their next drive great but establishing that you are the better team as quickly as possible will make this an easier time for the Nittany Lions. Penn State needs to execute its game plan from the start, focus on the task at hand, and not be thinking about the trip to the plains next Saturday. For Ohio, they have scheduled this game all offseason, and they will not just lay down for Penn State as they do have enough talent at the skill positions, and Kurtus Rourke went 27 for 34 and threw four touchdowns last week vs. FAU.

Prediction

All of the above seem simple keys but major upsets happen all of the time because of lack of focus. With that being said, Penn State will win rather comfortably because of the play of the big men of front on both sides of the ball, and Penn State will have a 100-yard rusher for the first time in 17 games, and the man that will do that is Nick Singleton.

Score

Penn State 41, Ohio 20

Twitter: @bwalkerdadon

 

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