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Tale of the Tape: Penn State

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The Buckeyes hold an 18-14 edge over Penn State all-time in this series and since Penn State joined the Big Ten, the Buckeyes hold a 17-8 edge in the previous 25 meetings. These two teams bring the longest current active winning streaks in the league to this game with Ohio State on a nine game winning streak and Penn State on an eight game run, no other team in the conference has more than a three-game winning streak (Michigan).

Obviously, someone will have to lose this game and will see their streak end while the other team will find themselves atop the Big Ten East standings and taking a major step toward representing the B1G East at the conference championship game in Indy in December.

Both of these teams have be able to put points on the board, as the No. 1 and No. 2 scoring offense teams in the nation, each putting up in the mid-50s per game. Ohio State has pulled its starters earlier this season in most games and could have scored more but both teams have taken care of business and enter this contest with identical 4-0, 1-0 records.

Where does each team hold an edge? We break down what each team does well and what each team may struggle at by position group as we go to the Tale of the Tape here in advance of one of the most meaningful games of the entire college football season, regardless of conference affiliation.

Ohio State Defense vs. Penn State Offense 
Ohio State Stat Rank Penn State Stat Rank

Rushing Defense

142.0 YPG

59th

Rushing Offense

275.0 YPG

10th

Pass Eff. Defense

110.73

30th

Passing Offense

239.5 YPG

62nd

Scoring Defense

17.0 PPG

23rd

Scoring Offense

55.5 PPG

1st

Ohio State Defensive Backs vs. Penn State QB/WR/TE

If Ohio State is able to win this battle here, the game should be an easy one and there will be more than 100,000 sad fans filing out of Beaver Stadium. Based on what we have seen so far, Ohio State's secondary has still be prone to give up a big play and while Penn State's passing numbers are not where you might expect them to be with a veteran quarterback, don't sleep on the Nittany Lions throwing the ball. Damon Arnette is coming off of one of his better games as a Buckeye and Jeffrey Okudah made a great interception that did not count due to an offside call on Jashon Cornell. Okudah later on that drive was beat on a perfectly thrown ball that Okudah did not play poorly, but just still could not break up the play. The Buckeyes continue to get Shaun Wade more and more time on the field as he is too good to keep off and if Ohio State does in fact employ more of a 3-3-5 look this week, look for Wade to see a lot of time on the field. Jordan Fuller is going to have to come up in run support to try and limit what the Nittany Lions will do on the ground but also will have respect what Penn State can do in the air, even if Penn State has only broken 230 yards passing in one game. On the flipside, Ohio State has only allowed more than 200 yards in one game (vs. TCU) and Penn State may look to pass to set up the run.

Trace McSorley, for all of his accolades has not had a great year throwing the ball through four games (playing in three) for Penn State, checking in at sub-54-percent as a thrower with eight touchdowns against two picks. McSorley's strengths are with his leadership and his legs but don't think that he can't make a clutch throw, because he can. He had to come up big in week one against Appalachian State in overtime and when the Nittany Lions screwed around against Illinois with touchdown passes to Juwan Johnson and KJ Hamler. Hamler leads the Nittany Lions in touchdowns and receiving yards while Johnson is the most popular target with 12 receptions. Outside of the two of them, there is no receiver with more than seven receptions on the season and six combined touchdowns, with two of them going to Brandon Polk. No replacement for Mike Gesicki has emerged on this depth chart as of yet and Jonathon Holland leads the way for the tight end group with seven catches and a touchdown but Penn State has thrown to three of its tight ends this season and the Buckeyes won't be able to nap on the position as James Franklin has had a tight end lead his team in receptions the past two seasons.

Ohio State Linebackers vs. Penn State Running Backs

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