Each week, we’ll tell you what to expect, what to keep an eye, and where and when you can catch the Nittany Lions this football season.
Game details: No. 18/17 Penn State vs. No. 3/3 Ohio State, 7:30 p.m. kickoff, broadcast on ABC.
Venue: Beaver Stadium, where Penn State boasts an all-time record of 297-74 (80 percent winning percentage).
Weather forecast (via Accuweather): High of 46 degrees with a mix of sun and clouds.
All-time series: Ohio State leads 20-14.
Last meeting (2019): The Buckeyes earned a 28-17 victory in Columbus.
Throwback classic (2005): This one truly is a classic. Penn State prevailed in one of the most memorable games ever at Beaver Stadium, winning 17-10 over sixth-ranked Ohio State (the Nittany Lions were ranked sixteenth). The victory propelled Penn State toward a Big Ten title, with the Nittany Lions narrowly missing out on playing for the national championship. We spoke with former defensive back Calvin Lowry (2002-05), who picked off a pass in the second quarter to set up a Penn State touchdown. Lowry recalled what it was like playing in the big, and you can check out that story on the blog.
The lead: A sold-out White Out against Ohio State on Halloween, can you imagine the scene?
Penn State wins if: the Nittany Lions both establish the ground game in a big-time way. This will be an extra challenge with the news this week that Noah Cain will miss the rest of the season, coupled with Journey Brown out indefinitely. Still, there’s plenty of talent for Penn State to call upon, and Devyn Ford especially will be needed, as he’s the most experienced running back. Sean Clifford can (and probably will) contribute, as the signal-caller led Penn State in rushing a week ago with 119 yards.
Ohio State wins if: the Buckeyes give Justin Fields room to both run and throw. A former Penn State commit, Fields is one of the leading Heisman Trophy finalists and is incredibly effective with his arm and his legs. If he’s able to impact the game in both areas, that’ll give Ohio State an advantage.
Count on: the Penn State linebackers stepping up. With Jesse Luketa set to miss the first half after being called for targeting in last week’s loss at Indiana, players such as Lance Dixon will be called on to help limit the Buckeyes as much as possible.
Keep an eye on: the S-Zone. Thanks to the Lion Ambassadors, the Penn State Alumni Association’s student alumni corps, the S-Zone will be a banner stretching across 800 seats above the team tunnel at Beaver Stadium. Through a partnership with the Penn State Alumni Association, Blue & White Society, and Lion Ambassadors, the banner will honor the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 and feature the names of members of those classes. We’re excited to unveil the banner this weekend and for all Penn Staters to see it.
Trivia tidbit: This game has been played incredibly close recently, with a total of 16 points deciding the last four games between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes.