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Penn State vs. Ohio State: Can the Buckeyes Cover 18.5 Point Spread
Penn State’s College Football Playoff chances were completely diminished after a heart-breaking nine overtime loss to Illinois last weekend. They will be coming into Columbus looking for revenge against Ohio State that has turned into a bigger rivalry over the past couple of seasons.
Ohio State is leading the Big Ten East at 4-0. Michigan and Michigan State are also 4-0 in the conference and have a matchup this weekend which should shake up the standings after this weekend. Penn State is right below these teams in fourth with a record of 2-2.
Previous Matchup Data - Ohio State
Ohio State has been blowing out teams as of late, so let’s look at their past matchups and how they have fared.
The Buckeyes started off slowly this season with a 14 point win at Minnesota and losing by even to ranked Oregon at home. After week two, Ohio State has turned the page on slow starts and has looked phenomenal.
They have beaten Tulsa, Akron, Rutgers, Maryland, and Indiana by a point margin of 21, 52, 39, 49, and 47, respectively. They have shown to have the talent to cover this 18.5 point spread as long as their offense and defense continue to click on all cylinders.
Previous Matchup Data - Penn State
In the two games that Penn State has lost this year, they have lost by a combined total of five points. Their five wins have been by a margin of six, thirty-one, eight, twenty-one, and twenty-four, with one win against a ranked team in Auburn. One of their losses came against then-ranked number nine Iowa.
Penn State has shown signs of brilliance this season, but injuries, including an ongoing one to starting quarterback Sean Clifford, have slowed down their momentum. Two straight losses to kill their College Football Playoff dreams should make this team hungry for a key win against one of their rivals.
Ohio State’s Ability to Cover
There is no reason to think that Ohio State doesn’t have the ability to cover. The only question people are asking is: How will this defense hold up against a solid, ranked team? Ohio State has the number one scoring offense in college football with 49.3 points per game, so that shouldn’t be their problem.
Their defense is giving up 18.6 points per game which ranks 17th in college football. This should match up well against Penn State who ranks 81st with 25 points per game. Their defense ranks third in points given up per game with 14.3 and first in yards given up per pass with 4.9.
This should be a very interesting matchup with a potent Ohio State offense that relies on the big play against a very good passing defense that is excellent at preventing big pass plays. If Ohio State can establish the run and wear the defense down, they have a very good chance of covering in this game. If not, this could be a close one to the finish in Columbus.
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