Friday, October 26, 2007

Ohio State has its Buckeyes.....

JaOSU is in town this week, if you haven't heard. So is gameday. So is bad weather, paternoville, a whiteout, a night game, and oodles of drunken PSU faithful. Sounds familiar.
The biggest difference is the state of the teams playing. Back in '05, PSU was the (huge) underdog, and nobody outside of Happy Valley knew any better. Just ask Corso and Herbstreit. So what happened? Poz ran amok, the defense played lights out for the final half, and the offense capitalized on turnovers. That game still gives me shivers. To this day, I will promise you that even though I watched the game with friends at the Lion's Den, I felt the thumping in the stadium. Bible truth. Anyone who was in Penn State, and not at the game, will tell you the exact same thing. A team that had once held prominence in the national eye was now back, and everyone felt it.
Not this year. Even though JaOSU comes to town in similar peripheral conditions, the team is not the same. Their offense is relatively untested (the '05 team already played Texas), and Laurinitis is no Hawk. Hawk was a straight-up brute, and handled every aspect of the game. Laurinitis can cover well (great hands), but is still not quite there in the run defense. He will be there senior year (hopefully not next year), but not as a sophomore.
As Michigan State showed last week, Boeckman can be rattled. Compound that with playing for the first time on the road against a very competent defense, and things could get interesting. Add on 110k+ inebriated, screaming fans and sloppy conditions, and things will get tricky. Bradley has to let fly at the start of the game-do not let Boeckman get comfortable. Boeckman is the #1 rated passer in the B10; keeping him out of a rhythm is paramount.
Wells, on the other hand, rang up 221 on the MSU defense last week. This indicates that he is finally injury-free, or that the MSU defense gave up. This is the same defense that held Indiana in check. Sort of. Wells absolutely frightens me right now, especially that the running game will be such an important issue given the conditions. He has good ball control, and I anticipate many dumpoff, screen, and swing passes his way Saturday night. Giving myself ulcers thinking about this. The good? Iowa and Wisconsin ran similar plays. I would feel much more confident if we had Odrick.
What I pray for on defense
  • Attack early and often. Against Iowa And Wisconsin, we brought pressure multiple times from the LBs rushing outside the DEs. It worked wonders.
  • Create turnovers
  • Justin King will reestablish himself. Word on the street is that he is still trying to shake off the shoulder injury he incurred from the ND game.
  • Sciorotto pulls a Lowry and intercepts Boeckman in OSU territory. PSU fake pitch D-Will off-tackle right, Morelli to Golden for a TD.
  • Maurice Evans snorts tiger blood; De-spleens Boeckman.

What I pray for on offense

  • Morelli keeps up his play. Just solid quarterbacking.
  • With the loss of Hahn, I just don't see us going for over 120 on the ground. If we do, we win.
  • Keep it to two turnovers or less, none inside our 30.
  • Keep Lawlor in the backfield for blocking. We are depleted on the line with Lucian and Shaw being questionable for the game.
  • No short passes over the middle.
  • MRob to be on the sidelines (SF is in their bye week).

Special teams

This is the Achilles heel for the Buckeyes. They know it, we know it. We need a big play on special teams. This can be in the form of Kelly not missing a kick, or Wallace/King giving us great field position. It can even be just not letting up a big return. I just know we need something out of them this week akin to last week, sans the lengthy Indiana punt return.

I have no clue how these teams are going to react to each other. It is nice that PSU has adopted a less-conservative approach in the last 3 games, but the fact that Illinois and Indiana both put up points on us still unnerves me. Will PSU continue to pass on first down? Will we try to pressure Boeckman? Will our O-line be able to hold back the formidable OSU front 7?

My random, clueless predicitons

OSU has 4 false start penalties. Anthony Morelli goes 24-40, 210 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT. Kinlaw/Royster go for 145 yards on the ground. Penn State wins the battle of the LBs again.

PSU 24 OSU 16

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