Here are our staff’s predictions for Saturday’s showdown between Penn State and Ohio State.
Alan Saunders: It feels like Penn State’s only chance in this one is to hope Ohio State screws it up for itself.
The talent disparity — especially at the most important positions — is enormous, and it’s hard to imagine even a Beaver Stadium crowd rattling these Buckeyes. I think PSU puts up a good fight that ultimately falls well short.
OSU 41, PSU 24
Mike Asti: The Ohio State Buckeyes are going to curb stomp Penn State.
If PSU can’t hang enough with Michigan to even keep it competitive, there’s just no way to expect it can against OSU. I get that every game and matchup is different and Ohio State hasn’t been fully tested yet, but it just has so much talent and PSU has shown weaknesses even in a couple of its wins. The Nittany Lions are a good team, but Ohio State is on another level. PSU can’t get down by multiple touchdowns early if it expects to make this a game.
OSU 56, PSU 22
Logan Carney: Penn State is much less talented than Ohio State.
That’s pretty obvious even to Penn State fans who seem to be surprisingly negative around this team’s chances. Ohio State has dominated the series since Penn State joined the Big Ten with a 20-6 W-L record since 1993. It’s been even more lopsided over the last decade, with Penn State having won just one game in the two teams’ last 10 meetings. That win was due to an extremely rare blocked field goal.
But in these nine losses, Penn State has only lost by 14 or more twice – a 63-14 thrashing in 2013 and a 38-10 demolition in 2015 – with both of those blowouts taking place in Columbus. I’m a fan of trends, and the trend in this series is for Penn State to stay within two scores at home, but lose to a much better program.
OSU 42, PSU 28
Brandon Walker: Penn State I believe will put up a fight on its home field and keep it competitive for a while.
Penn State always plays competitive against Ohio State at home. But aside from Georgia, Alabama and you could argue Clemson, who has more talent top to bottom in the country than the Buckeyes? Ohio State is capable of doing the same thing to Penn State as Michigan but it could be much worse because the passing game with CJ Stroud and the wide receivers is the best in the country. And do you really want Sean Clifford getting into a track meet with this particular team?
I say Penn State will fight for a half, but Clifford will throw a couple of interceptions and Ohio State’s offense will impose its will.
OSU 49, PSU 24
Jarrod Prugar: This game defines the legacy of Sean Clifford. I don’t think Penn State wins, but Clifford will play some of the best football of his career against Ohio State Saturday. The Nittany Lions matchup way better against the Buckeyes than they did against Michigan. In the end, Ohio State wins, but it’s close.
OSU 34, PSU 24
Joe Smeltzer: Let’s see, how do I write my honest prediction without being boring?
Maybe I can’t do it, but I’ll give it a go. OSU is better than PSU and might be the best team in the country. With that said, PSU’s secondary is one of the few groups that is capable, in theory, of matching up with Ohio State’s vaunted receiving corps. Now, Ohio State is capable of running the football, too, and could easily carve Penn State up that way. But I think Ryan Day will want to use this game to show what his Heisman Trophy-favorite QB can do, and PSU’s secondary is respected enough that throwing for a lot of yards against it would make a statement. I think this strategy would hurt the Buckeyes to an extent— personally, I’d run the ball and try to replicate what Michigan did two weeks ago— but Stroud and his fabulous group of receivers will be good enough to put up more than enough yards and points.
As usual, PSU will be competitive against OSU, but not have enough firepower in the end.
OSU 38, PSU 24