Ohio State-Penn State match-ups


Ohio State's Chase Young takes down Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robison during Saturday's game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

Ohio State's Chase Young takes down Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robison during Saturday's game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.


 Ohio State #2 Chase Young takes down Tulane #1 Jonathan Banks for a loss at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University September 22th 2018 Photos by Don Speck

Ohio State #2 Chase Young takes down Tulane #1 Jonathan Banks for a loss at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University September 22th 2018 Photos by Don Speck


QUARTERBACKS

Justin Fields transferred from Georgia to Ohio State but he originally committed to Penn State before flipping to Georgia. Fields has thrown for 2,164 yards and 31 touchdowns and has rushed for 377 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has thrown only one interception, which came against Michigan State.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford has passed for 2,450 yards and 22 touchdowns and has rushed for 374 yards and five touchdowns. Clifford, a sophomore, was a 4-star recruit from Cincinnati St. Xavier.

Advantage: Ohio State

RUNNING BACKS

J.K. Dobbins has 1,289 yards rushing, already far ahead of the 1,053 yards he had last season when he shared time with Mike Weber. Dobbins came into this season saying he felt like last season was a failure for him. He has put 2018 behind him in a big way. He is averaging 7.0 yards per carry this fall after dropping off to 4.6 yards per carry last year. The two closest games Ohio State (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) has played have been 24-point wins over Florida Atlantic and Michigan State, so Dobbins and the rest of the starters have not played a lot in the second half.

Penn State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) uses several running backs. Journey Brown (521 yards, 6 touchdowns) has had back-to-back games of 100 yards or more rushing in the Nittany Lions’ win over Indiana and their loss to Minnesota the last two weeks. More than half of his carries have come in the last three games. Earlier in the season Noah Cain (350 yards, 6 touchdowns) was the top running back but he has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.

Advantage: Ohio State

RECEIVERS

Binjimen Victor (27 catches, 459 yards, 6 touchdowns) matched his season high with five catches in a 56-21 win over Rutgers last Saturday. In a rare occurrence, Ohio State had two tight ends — Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann — catch touchdown passes in that game.

Penn State played without its No. 1 receiver K.J. Hamler for the last three quarters of its 34-27 win over Indiana last week after he landed on his head during a kickoff return. Hamler has 46 catches for 791 yards and eight touchdowns. Nittany Lions coach James Franklin said he is optimistic Hamler will play Saturday. Tight end Pat Freiermuth (34 catches, 424 yards, 7 touchdowns) is the other big pass catching threat.

Advantage: Ohio State

OFFENSIVE LINE

When some people think the 594 yards your team gained against Rutgers could have been better, you’re probably doing pretty well as an offensive line. Ohio State’s starters are healthy but top back-up offensive lineman Joshua Alabi has missed the last four games because of an unspecified injury.

After years of being seen as a weak spot, Penn State’s offensive line appears to be much improved. Center Michal Monet and left guard Steven Gonzalez lead the line.

Advantage: Ohio State

DEFENSIVE LINE

Chase Young’s return after sitting out the Maryland and Rutgers games has been highly anticipated. Without their best pass rusher, the Buckeyes had seven sacks against Maryland but only one against Rutgers. OSU has 42 team sacks.

Penn State defensive ends Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney each have 6.5 sacks. Penn State has 33 team sacks.

Advantage: Ohio State

LINEBACKERS

Add K’Vaughan Pope to the list of linebackers who have helped Ohio State’s defense improve this season. Pope, a sophomore, has had interceptions the last two games.

Penn State’s Micah Parsons leads his team in tackles with 75 and Cam Brown is second with 56.

Advantage: Ohio State

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Damon Arnette did not play last week but is expected back this week. He has played with a cast on his hand after suffering a broken bone earlier in the season. OSU is No. 1 in the Big Ten in pass defense and has allowed only six touchdown passes.

In the last two games, Minnesota has thrown for 339 yards and Indiana had 371 yards in the air against Penn State. The Nittany Lions are No. 12 in the Big Ten in overall pass defense but have allowed only eight touchdown passes.

Advantage: Ohio State

SPECIAL TEAMS

Is Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman in a slump? He has averaged 35.8 yards per punt the last two games. His season average is 44.3.

Penn State’s Hamler is a dangerous punt and kickoff returner. Jake Pinegar is 9 of 10 on field goals.

Advantage: Ohio State

Ohio State's Chase Young takes down Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robison during Saturday's game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/11/web1_Ohio-State-vs-Fau-DS-4-.jpgOhio State's Chase Young takes down Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robison during Saturday's game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
Ohio State #2 Chase Young takes down Tulane #1 Jonathan Banks for a loss at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University September 22th 2018 Photos by Don Speck
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/11/web1_ChaseYoung.jpg Ohio State #2 Chase Young takes down Tulane #1 Jonathan Banks for a loss at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University September 22th 2018 Photos by Don Speck
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/11/web1_Ohio-State-logo-2.jpg

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