There will not only be major Big Ten implications with this showdown, but the college football national landscape will be shaped with this game.
With two of the top five offenses under the national spotlight on Saturday night, the over/under total opened at 66.5 and has already jumped to 71.
Here are four reasons why Penn State will pull off a victory as a home underdog.
1. The absence of Nick Bosa
The Bosa brothers have terrorized Penn State in the past. Penn State and Ohio State fans will remember the game-winning sack that was Joey Bosa got in 2014 against the Nittany Lions.
Nick Bosa has lived up to the hype his brother brought to his last name. The 2017 Big Ten Conference Smith-Brown defensive lineman of the year, Bosa, is a key cog in the machine that is Ohio State football.
In just two and a half games, Bosa recorded 14 total tackles with four sacks.
Bosa will be missed both in the pass rush and defending the run. The Penn State offensive line is getting better, but Bosa would tear it apart if given the opportunity. The dangerous combo of Miles Sanders and Trace McSorley will be able to take advantage of the outside run lanes with Bosa’s absence.
If Penn State didn’t lose to Ohio State in 2017, they would be in the Big Ten Championship, and would be in prime position to most likely make the College Football Playoff.
Just one point separated Penn State from reaching their potential with such a talented team. Many players on this Penn State team say first-hand the elation of the 2016 win contrasted with the 2017 loss.
No team goes into a rivalry game uninspired, of course, but Penn State has a particular chip on its shoulder this time around.
The Nittany Lions are a team with something to prove as a home underdog, and will surely come into this game on fire.
3. Quarterback mismatch
Dwayne Haskins has impressed in his early college career, yet he lacks the X-factor that J.T. Barrett had in his time at Ohio State. When it’s a late game situation in a hostile environment and the pressure is on, J.T. Barrett performed.
Trace McSorley has the experience necessary to out-duel Haskins in such a high-stakes game. He is a battle-tested vet who won’t shy away when the lights are bright and the world is watching.
Since the beginning of the 2016 season, when playing at home, McSorley has 43 passing TDs, 19 rushing TDs and only 11 INTs.
At the end of the day, it’s about who your quarterback is, and I believe Penn State has the edge at that pivotal position.
4. The Whiteout
When Saturday comes, it will have been 1,043 days since Penn State lost a home game.
Not only is Beaver Stadium one of the biggest home field advantages in the country, but it is doubled down when Penn State football calls for its annual White Out.
What hasn’t been said already about this supernatural phenomenon known as the Penn State White Out?
The crowd noise will be deafening while Ohio State is on offense. It is expected for there to be over 110,000 Penn State fans filling Beaver Stadium for this game.
You have got to believe Urban Meyer will have the 2016 loss, that also took place during a Penn State Whiteout, replaying in his head all week.
The crowd will have even a little more hostility towards the Buckeyes, as Urban Meyer will make his first appearance in Happy Valley since his three-game suspension due to the in-house handling of a domestic violence incident with his wide receiver coach.
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