Penn State football is gearing up for its biggest game of the season, as the No. 7 Nittany Lions will face the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday in Columbus.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a dominant 59-0 win over UMass, in which they scored on their first nine possessions and racked up 634 yards of offense. Quarterback Drew Allar threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns while running back Noah Cain added 105 yards and two scores on the ground.
Penn State’s defense also shined, holding the Minutemen to just 65 yards and forcing four turnovers. Cornerback Daequan Hardy returned a punt for a touchdown and was named the Big Ten Co-Special Teams Player of the Week.
However, Penn State knows that Ohio State will pose a much tougher challenge, as the Buckeyes have won five straight games since losing to Oregon in Week 2. Ohio State leads the nation in scoring offense (49.5 points per game) and ranks second in total offense (559.8 yards per game).
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud has been on fire, throwing for 1,635 yards and 18 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He has a trio of talented receivers in Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who have combined for 1,331 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Ohio State’s defense has also improved, allowing just 13 points per game in its last four contests. The Buckeyes have a formidable front seven, led by defensive end Zach Harrison and linebacker Steel Chambers.
Penn State head coach James Franklin said that his team will need to be consistent and prepared to compete with Ohio State.
“This is going to be a very challenging atmosphere, but I think it’s nothing we’re not prepared for,” Franklin said. “We’ve played in big games before, we’ve played in big stadiums before, we’ve played against really good opponents before.”
Penn State has lost four straight games to Ohio State, including a heartbreaking 31-26 defeat in 2019. The Nittany Lions are hoping to snap that streak and keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive.
The game will kick off at 12:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on ABC.