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Ohio State running back Master Teague III (right). (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)
October 27th, 2021
The No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes and their top-ranked offense will host No. 20 Penn State in a Big Ten East showdown Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. ET, inside the Horseshoe.
For the fifth straight game, since a Week 2 defeat to No. 7 Oregon, the Buckeyes scored at least 40 points and pushed their season average to 49.3 per contest, the best mark in the nation.
In their latest win, a 54-7 rout of Indiana, the Buckeyes piled on 30 points in the second quarter alone, and extended their win streak against their Big Ten foe to an FBS-record 27.
Heisman contender C.J. Stroud put on another showstopping performance, as he connected on 21 of his 28 passes, for 266 yards and four touchdowns. In his last three games, the redshirt freshman has completed 73.8% of his passes for 1,002 yards, 14 scores, and no interceptions.
CJ Stroud was on point in the first half for Ohio State 🎯16/21 Comp/Att201 Pass YDs3 TDs pic.twitter.com/rdLmv8YNxJ— ESPN (@espn) October 24, 2021
CJ Stroud was on point in the first half for Ohio State 🎯16/21 Comp/Att201 Pass YDs3 TDs pic.twitter.com/rdLmv8YNxJ
TreVeyon Henderson also shined in the run game. The freshman ran nine times for 81 yards and two scores, plus he added a touchdown reception to bring his touchdown total for the season to 14. Ohio State's freshman school record is 18, set by Maurice Clarett.
Backfield mate Miyan Williams contributed 60 yards and a score on eight carries, while receivers Jeremy Ruckert and Chris Olave combined for three touchdown catches.
On the other side of the ball, Ohio State's defense held Indiana to just 128 yards of offense.
Fourteen of the Buckeyes' players were listed as unavailable for the game, including running back Master Teague, but the junior is expected to return for Saturday's matchup.
Penn State's offense is a far cry from Ohio State's.
With quarterback Sean Clifford playing through injury, he managed 165 yards and a touchdown on 19-of-34 passing against 3-5 Illinois last weekend, while the run game put up a measly 62 yards.
One game after the Nittany Lions fell to No. 3 Iowa, 23-20, they got embarrassed against an inferior opponent in the NCAA's first nine-overtime contest.
ILLINOIS UPSETS NO. 7 PENN STATE IN THE NINTH OVERTIME‼️That’s the most overtimes in FBS history 😳 pic.twitter.com/uKlOg9Sd6j— ESPN (@espn) October 23, 2021
ILLINOIS UPSETS NO. 7 PENN STATE IN THE NINTH OVERTIME‼️That’s the most overtimes in FBS history 😳 pic.twitter.com/uKlOg9Sd6j
The Illini sacked Clifford four times Saturday and held Penn State's offense to four conversions on 17 third-down tries.
Illinois ranks 50th in sacks per game, while Ohio State averages 3.6 sacks (seventh most in the nation).
Penn State's defense has been the bright spot this season, but it also looked shaky in the team's 20-18 defeat Saturday.
The Illini ran for 357 yards, with 223 of those yards from running back Chase Brown.
A similar performance against Ohio State will result in a monstrous outing for Henderson, who ranks first in the nation in yards per attempt (8.8).
Ohio State has won its last five games by an average margin of 41.6 points and will enter Saturday's matchup as an 18.5-point favorite.
In this rivalry series with Penn State, the Buckeyes have triumphed in the last four matchups and eight of the last nine but have not won by more than 11 points since a 28-point thrashing in 2015.
The Nittany Lions desperately need a win, as they have dropped 13 spots in the AP poll, but injury issues will prevent them from hanging close with the Buckeyes.
Look for the Ohio State run game to take control in this matchup and make a statement just before the first College Football Playoff rankings are released Nov. 2.
Score prediction: Ohio State 34, Penn State 17
Our predictive engine is calling for Ohio State to win outright and for the total to go Over 59.5 points.
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