Dave & Drew Thurman (4:11 pm)
Mascot: Nittany Lions
Stadium: Beaver Stadium (107,282)
Coach: Joe Paterno (43rd year at Penn State; 380-125-3)
2007 Record: 9-4 (Won Alamo Bowl over Texas A&M, 24-17)
2008 Record: 8-0 (Ranked 3rd in the polls)
Base Offense: Ace (3 receivers)
Base Defense: 4-3
Lettermen: Returning 38, Lost 20
Returning Starters: Offense - 9, Defense - 9, Specialist - 2
Returning Stars: WR/ KR Derrick Williams; DE Maurice Evans
- Tom Verducci: senior writer for Sports Illustrated
- Lisa Salters: ESPN reporter
- Donald Bellisario: television producer (Magnum PI, JAG, NCIS)
- Richard T. James: Inventor of the Slinky
- Todd Blackledge: NFL quarterback and television sports analyst
- Mike Scioscia: MLB catcher and manger
- Franco Harris: NFL Hall of Fame running back
- Bonus for fans of The Office: Toby Flenderson, HR representative of Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch is a PSU alum!
Cheerleaders (Since you won't look at them during the game):
Penn State Overview:
When the Nittany Lions have the ball you can expect to see a very explosive and diverse unit. So far this season they have averaged an incredible 45.4 points and 482 yards a game. A big key to this success has been the emergence of Daryll Clark at quarteback. Clark has thrown for 1531 yards with 11 touchdowns, but also has 190 rushing yards with eight touchdowns. He has also been very efficient only throwing 2 interceptions, and completing 63 percent of his passes.
Clark has lot of options to throw to in the passing game, two of which are Deon Butler (486 yards, 3 TD) and Jordan Norwood (405 yards, 5 TD). What is really scary about these two young men is that they both average over 16 yards a reception. The weapons at wideout don't stop with Butler and Norwood, the Nittany Lions also have Derrick Williams. He has only 283 yards and one touchdown through the air, but has also been deadly on special teams with three touchdowns (2nd on team in all purpose yards). Kick returns have especially been his forte as he averages 32.2 yards a return with two touchdowns.
The rushing attack is also deadly for the Nittany Lions. Besides Clark as a dual threat quarterback, Penn State has several options at tailback. The number one option is Evan Royster. So far this season he has 893 yards with 10 touchdowns. The most impressive thing about Royster though is the fact that he averages 7.7 yards a carry. The second option for Penn State is Stephfon Green who has 411 yards to go along four touchdowns. These two young men along with Clark help the Nittany Lions average 234 rushing yards a game.
The defensive unit for the Nittany Lions have been no less impressive than the offense. They have held opponents to 263 yards and 11.8 points a game. What is really incredible about this unit is that they have been led by a freshmen linebacker. That linebacker is Navorro Bowman, and he leads the team with 70 tackles (9.5 TFL), one interception, and two forced fumbles.
The Buckeyes will also have to look out for the two defensive ends that will be coming at them Saturday in Maurice Evans and Aaron Maybin. Maybin has been a tackling machine thus far with 33 tackles, 14.5 of which have been tackles for loss. The two have combined for 12 sacks, and will have the offensive tackles working hard.
The numbers are hard to look at in this game, because the Nittany Lions blow the Buckeyes away in quite a few categories. So going in the Buckeyes are going to have to hope for some equalizers. Two of these equalizers will have to be turnovers and the crowd. If the crowd can help rattle Clark and the Buckeyes win the turnover margin, a victory will be very feasible on Saturday.
On offense expect the Buckeyes to again come out with a very diverse offense. Tressel is known for opening the playbook in big games, and the first half last week showed that. This week look for the Buckeyes to open the playbook even more than last week, especially trying to throw the Nittany Lions off with play action passes early. This will be a very important game for Robiskie and Hartline! Also expect Beanie to run the ball a lot. Last week he had 31 carries, and if all goes well expect another 25 this week. With defensive ends that over pursue, Beanie could very easily bust a long one to the outside.
On defense, expect a physical unit that will have the crowd on their side as "Hell's Bells" plays on third down. Royster up the middle will not be as effective as it has against other teams, but Clark will hard be to stop. The secondary will probably struggle on several drives trying to cover a host of talent receivers while trying to help if Clark chooses to run. Penn State will score in this game, the key will be clamping down in the red zone and forcing turnovers. No matter how you look at it, this game is going to be a battle. Final score...
Dave has it: Ohio State 27 Penn State 24
Drew has it: Ohio State 23 Penn State 21