Last season, the Ohio State football team handled Penn State at Ohio Stadium, 38-10. Powered by the run, the Buckeyes pulled away from the Nittany Lions, locking down James Franklin’s team in the passing game. Christian Hackenburg, Penn State’s starter at quarterback during the 2015 season, threw for just 120 yards, but did find a touchdown early in the second quarter.
It wasn’t all easy-going for the OSU defense, as then-freshman Saquon Barkley ran rampant on the Buckeyes from 194 yards and a 7.5 yards per rush average. Although Barkley failed to score, Penn State demonstrated the ability of its running game prowess with a true freshman.
This season, the offense has a new look at quarterback, with redshirt sophomore Trace McSorley leading the charge for Penn State. So far, he has eight touchdowns, as opposed to just 3 interceptions. Although McSorley has struggled with his accuracy at times this year, he has performed well enough to help lead Penn State to a 4-2 record this season.
But, the true catalyst to the Nittany Lions’ offense has been Barkley. The owner of eight touchdowns in just six games this year, the sophomore running back has gashed opposing defenses to earn a 5.0 yards per carry average.
The wide receiving unit for Penn State has been on the rise from last year, as redshirt sophomore DeAndre Thompkins has led the Nittany Lions in yards, while averaging 18.2 yards per reception. Junior wideout Chris Godwin has two touchdowns this season, tied with junior tight end Mike Gesicki for the team lead.
Even with a Silver Bullet defense that has been stellar for the majority of the season, OSU was pushed to the limit by Wisconsin last week, a team fresh off a bye week, just like Penn State.
Although the Buckeyes have enough playmakers to keep the team ahead today, don’t be surprised if Barkley and McSorley give OSU coach Urban Meyer reason to sweat in the frigid Pennsylvania night air.