The Penn State-Ohio State Debate

 

Penn State has 12 wins, and Ohio State has 12 wins, this years game tips the scale and gives a team bragging rights for the year and a huge leg up in the Big Ten race. Terrelle Pryor looks to avenge the loss last year when he threw 1 INT and fumbled the ball in a crucial part of the unofficial Big Ten Title game. Penn State could prove it is not playing second fiddle to Ohio State and Ohio State can prove that it really is the top team in the league. It is safe to say that this years game is not short of story lines and drama. While many people unwisely try and predict seasons and games months before they happen….well…we’re going to do the same.

First of all, heres the past 8 years of the rivarly that has gotten rather interesting as of late. (This chart is from the OSU viewpoint)

10/25/2008 vs. *Penn State (11-2) L 6 13
10/27/2007 @ *Penn State (9-4) W 37 17
9/23/2006 vs. *Penn State (9-4) W 28 6
10/8/2005 @ *Penn State (11-1) L 10 17
10/30/2004 vs. *Penn State (4-7) W 21 10
11/1/2003 @ *Penn State (3-9) W 21 20
10/26/2002 vs. *Penn State (9-4) W 13 7
10/27/2001 @ *Penn State (5-6) L 27 29
9/23/2000 vs. *Penn State (5-7) W 45 6

THE OFFENSE:Receiving

Many critics of Penn State are claiming that the teams biggest downfall, or atleast one of their downfalls comes in the wideout position. The general feeling is that after losing Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood, and Deon Butler, (3 of Penn States best receivers ever) that they wont be able to reload with players that haven’t played very much. The fact of the matter is that for as good as they were, Deon Butler, the leading receiver on the team was ranked 62 in the nation in receiving yardage. The point being that even though they were good players, they weren’t putting up amazing numbers. What Penn State needs are people who can catch the ball, and they’ve got plenty of players who can. As a matter of fact 13 returing players have caught passes for the Lions squad. The Lions are also bringing back several players who are much larger targets to throw to than last years squad, Brett Bracket is a towering 6’6 and could prove to be an impact player on the team.

 

When it comes to Ohio State, they lost talent at the wideout position as well, but talented players who put up numbers much lower than that of Penn State. Thats not taking anything away from the talent of Brian Robiskieand Brian Hartline, but they put up a combined total of 1,014 yards, compared to Butlers and Norwood’s 1,447 yards. Some people are going to say that Penn State has lost better players so they will have a harder time reloading, but when it comes to production the Lions are bringing back 1,228 yards of receiving suppose to Ohio States 939 yards. Ohio State does have the upper hand with the return of Dane Sanzenbacher, a talented player third on Ohio State in receiving last year. Many publications have Ohio State rated the Big Tens 3rd best Wideout unit to Penn States ranking of 8th. No matter how you slice it, you’ve just got to play the game. Initial indications give this catagory to the Buckeyes, they’ve got talented players filling in the holes, but Penn State isn’t exactly loading up with a bunch of 1 stars.

 

Running backs: In a league full of running backs, Penn State clearly has the upper hand over every team in the conference. Evan Royster and Stephfon Green are going to be and have been two of the best backs in the league. Even Ohio State’s standout linebacker James Laurinaitis said that Evan Royster was the best back he played against last year. With Ohio State losing a great runner in Chris Well it’ll take a good effort from Dan Herron for Ohio States running game to compete with Penn State’s. Terrelle Pryor will always be a threat to run, but if he’s going to be sucessful it’ll come from his throwing and making good choices about when and when not to run. He’ll be an important part of the running game, but he cant be the entire running game.

Quarterbacks:Ohio State loves Pryor, and Penn State loves Clark. When it comes down to it they are both talented players, but when it comes down to stats Clark is a much better quarterback. Pryor has the playmaking ability but hasn’t truely shown how well he can be as a passing quarterback. It is true that Pryor led the leauge in QB Rating but he attempted almost 200 less passes than Clark so its easy to keep the rating up. There hasn’t been enough time to really get a grasp on how well Pryor will play in the long run,especially as a thrower, but short of an amazing breakout year its not hard to assume that Clark will put up better passing numbers. It is also worth noting that the OSU Coaching Staff intends on using the Pistol Formation, something the Big Ten hasn’t seen (Indiana will also run the Pistol this year.) That should help Pryor, but it wont make good throws for him.Pryor will have more of the playmaker standing in the league, but Clark is a better all around Quarterback. Edge goes to Penn State.

Ohio State Offensive Averages:

Points
27.6
(45th/4th)
Overall Yds
342.7
(76th/9th)
Passing Yds
150.2
(105th/10th)
Rushing Yds
192.5
(24th/3rd)

Penn State Offensive Averages:

Points
38.9
(11th/1st)
Overall Yds
448.9
(14th/1st)
Passing Yds
243.1
(37th/3rd)
Rushing Yds
205.8
(17th/2nd)

* In parenthesis are National and Conference Rank, respectively

DEFENSE: Both teams are known for good defense, even so both teams have their weak points; Ohio State has lost its linebacking core and Penn State has lost its secondary. With Sean lee, and Navorro Bowman returning and Ohio State losing its defensive soul in James Laurinaitis, the Linebacking edge clearly goes to the Lions. The Defensive Line is more or less a tie as Penn State and Ohio State return several talented players and tend to look like two unmovable objects hitting eachother for 60mins. Losing standout corner Malcolm Jenkins to the NFL has really hurt OSU as well, the advantage that Big Ten teams have however is that no teams except maybe Illinois have players that will burn you deep every time. This will be important for the Lions more than the Buckeyes as they have a completely new unit in the secondary. The Lions intend on putting 11 guys in the box and praying to several Gods all at once. All in all the defensive nod goes to the Lions; they have more leadership and more skill when its all said and done. If the secondary can’t come together however it’ll be hard to get the job done.

Penn State Defensive Averages:

Points
14.4
(8th/3rd)
Overall Yds
280.1
(8th/1st)
Passing Yds
186.8
(27th/3rd)
Rushing Yds
93.2
(8th/1st)

Ohio State Defensive Averages:

Points
13.9
(6th/2nd)
Overall Yds
293.8
(14th/3rd)
Passing Yds
183.5
(25th/2nd)
Rushing Yds
110.2
(17th/3rd)

* In parenthesis are National and Conference Rank, respectively

==========

After the Big Ten media day, Big Ten fans were buzzing about the announcement that Terrelle Pryor was selected as the Preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of The Year.“I really was [surprised],” Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. “When it was mentioned, I got to thinking there’s a lot of good guys coming back in this league. Daryll Clark and Juice Williams have been around for a long, long time, and you can go down the list of guys in our league.” This was just another cloud in the growing storm of hype and excitement around this young player and his program. While many fans and players have gotten tired of the never ending circus surrounding the Ohio State program, is it the case of a media love affair, or a hard earned reputation?

Ohio State is in an interesting situation, they’ve won or shared the Big Ten title for 5 of the past 7 years, but when it comes to playing in bowl games, and big non-conference games they have struggled. No other team in a BCS Conference has put up records so opposite of each other. It leaves the media an interesting choice: Hype up Ohio State as a powerhouse team in the Big Ten, or harp on the lack of success in the post season. The media tends to do both, but for those of us rooting for other Big Ten teams it can be a serious cause of annoyance and anger. That’s why announcements like Pryor’s recent preseason award has been many Big Ten fans tipping point. How can a young and somewhat unproven quarterback get the nod over so many older and more experienced players all around the Big Ten? Although the award really has no value in the grand scheme of things, the announcement is a great example of the media frenzy surrounding Ohio State. Who will truely turn out to be the POY remains to be seen, but it is yet another storyline that has been added to this unfolding drama.

No matter what, the debate will contiune…..but in the end…

“We are NOT normal, We are LEGENDS,We are PENN STATE”

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~ by blj1887 on July 29, 2009.

One Response to “The Penn State-Ohio State Debate”

  1. Great work in comparing the two squads. Interesting that Pryor was named offensive MVP over more proven veterans.

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