Game Data: Ohio State at Penn State

We take a look at the pertinent information, depth charts and one man's prediction for Saturday's game between Ohio State and Penn State at University Park, Pa. (7:45 p.m., ESPN). Click here for more.

Game Data

* Date, Time: Sat., Oct. 8, 7:45 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Beaver Stadium; University Park, Pa.

* TV: ESPN (announcers: Ron Franklin, Bob Davie, Holly Rowe).

* 2005 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 3-1 overall, 1-0 Big Ten, ranked sixth in Associated Press poll and USA Today coaches poll; Penn State, 5-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten, ranked 16th in AP poll, 18th in USA Today coaches poll.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (fifth year at OSU, 43-12; 20th year overall, 178-69-2; vs. Penn State, 3-1); Penn State, Joe Paterno (40th year at PSU, 348-116-3; vs. Ohio State, 6-10).

* Series History: The OSU-PSU series is knotted at 10-10. PSU leads 4-3 all-time in University Park, Pa. OSU holds an 8-4 edge since the Big Ten series began in 1993, including wins in the last three meetings (13-7 in 2002, 21-20 in 2003 and 21-10 last year).

The link below contains our complete look at the 20 previous games in the OSU-PSU rivalry.

Click here for a look at the OSU-PSU rivalry.

* Penn State Schedule: Sept. 3, South Florida, W 23-13; Sept. 10, Cincinnati, W 42-24; Sept. 17, Central Michigan, W 40-3; Sept. 24, at Northwestern, W 34-29; Oct. 1, Minnesota, W 44-14; Oct. 8, Ohio State; Oct. 15, at Michigan; Oct. 22, at Illinois; Oct. 29, Purdue; Nov. 5, Wisconsin; Nov. 19, at Michigan State.

* Penn State Key Players (2005 Stats): QB Michael Robinson (60 carries, 286 yards, 4 TDs; 64 of 123 passing, 1,030 yards, 9 TDs, 6 INTs), TB Tony Hunt (70 carries, 475 yards, 3 TDs), WR Deon Butler (17 catches, 325 yards, 4 TDs), WR Derrick Williams (15 catches, 219 yards, 1 TD; 15 carries, 87 yards, 2 TDs), DE Tamba Hali (3-1/2 sacks), OLB Paul Posluszny (57 tackles, 4-1/2 TFLs), OLB Tim Shaw (44 tackles, 3 sacks, 4-1/2 TFLs), CB Alan Zemaitis (20 tackles, 5 PBUs, 1 INT).

* Penn State Fast Facts: Location: University Park, Pa.; Enrollment, 41,289; Nickname, Nittany Lions; Colors, Blue and White; Stadium, Beaver Stadium (surface, grass; capacity, 107,282).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 4 Santonio Holmes, 5-11, 190, Jr.

8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 240, Jr.

LT 50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

75 Alex Boone, 6-8, 315, Fr.

LG 77 Rob Sims, 6-4, 310, Sr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Sr.

C 55 Nick Mangold, 6-4, 290, Sr.

50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

RG 72 T.J. Downing, 6-5, 305, Jr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Sr.

RT 74 Kirk Barton, 6-7, 325, So.

73 Steve Winner, 6-6, 300, Sr.

TE 80 Ryan Hamby, 6-5, 255, Sr.

87 Brandon Smith, 6-3, 240, R-Fr.

FL 7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 175, So.

5 Albert Dukes, 6-1, 190, R-Fr.

QB 10 Troy Smith, 6-1, 215, Jr.

12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, Jr.

TB 25 Antonio Pittman, 5-11, 195, So.

43 Brandon Schnittker, 6-2, 250, Sr.

FB 89 Stan White Jr., 6-3, 242, Jr.

49 Dionte Johnson, 6-0, 250, So.

SL 11 Anthony Gonzalez, 6-0, 195, So.

85 Brian Robiskie, 6-3, 190, Fr.

K 23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

85 Ryan Pretorius, 5-10, 190, R-Fr.

Ohio State Defense

DE 97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Jr.

99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 276, Jr.

or 87 Lawrence Wilson, 6-6, 225, Fr.

DT 94 Marcus Green, 6-3, 290, Sr.

97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Jr.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, Jr.

98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 290, Jr.

DE 57 Mike Kudla, 6-3, 265, Sr.

50 Vernon Gholston, 6-4, 260, So.

or 78 Alex Barrow, 6-4, 255, R-Fr.

SLB 42 Bobby Carpenter, 6-3, 255, Sr.

33 James Laurinaitis, 6-3, 231, Fr.

MLB 51 Anthony Schlegel, 6-1, 251, Sr.

46 Chad Hoobler, 6-3, 240, So.

WLB 47 A.J. Hawk, 6-1, 240, Sr.

52 John Kerr, 6-1, 246, Jr.

CB 26 Ashton Youboty, 6-1, 188, Jr.

2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

FS 21 Nate Salley, 6-3, 220, Sr.

32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Jr.

SS 9 Donte Whitner, 5-11, 205, Jr.

3 Jamario O'Neal, 6-1, 180, Fr.

CB 6 Tyler Everett, 5-11, 202, Sr.

2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

NB 2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

34 Rob Harley, 6-2, 202, Sr.

P 15 A.J. Trapasso, 6-1, 220, R-Fr.

LS 68 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, Jr.

Penn State Offense

LT 67 Levi Brown, 6-5, 322, Jr.

71 Mark Farris, 6-6, 285, Jr.

LG 59 Charles Rush, 6-2, 304, Sr.

57 A.Q. Shipley, 6-1, 294, R-Fr.

C 77 E.Z. Smith, 6-1, 280, Sr.

66 Lance Antolick, 6-3, 291, Sr.

RG 74 Tyler Reed, 6-4, 303, Sr.

65 Robert Price, 6-0, 293, Jr.

RT 68 John Wilson, 6-6, 316, Sr.

50 Andrew Richardson, 6-5, 305, Sr.

TE 81 Isaac Smolko, 6-5, 260, Sr.

44 Patrick Hall, 6-2, 244, Jr.

WR 2 Derrick Williams, 6-0, 195, Fr.

7 Justin King, 6-0, 179, Fr.

WR 3 Deon Butler, 5-10, 167, R-Fr.

4 Terrell Golden, 6-3, 208, So.

QB 12 Michael Robinson, 6-2, 218, Sr.

14 Anthony Morelli, 6-4, 222, So.

TB 26 Tony Hunt, 6-2, 224, Jr.

33 Austin Scott, 6-0, 208, Jr.

FB 30 BranDon Snow, 6-1, 241, Jr.

34 Matt Hahn, 6-0, 225, So.

K 23 Kevin Kelly, 5-7, 175, Fr.

Penn State Defense

DE 91 Tamba Hali, 6-3, 262, Sr.

47 Josh Gaines, 6-2, 263, R-Fr.

DT 13 Jay Alford, 6-3, 288, Jr.

53 Steve Roach, 6-2, 304, Jr.

DT 41 Scott Paxson, 6-5, 292, Sr.

99 Jim Shaw, 6-3, 282, Jr.

DE 55 Matthew Rice, 6-4, 262, Sr.

86 Mike Lucian, 6-2, 285, R-Fr.

OLB 20 Tim Shaw, 6-1, 234, Jr.

40 Dan O'Connor, 6-3, 200, So.

ILB 46 Tyrell Sales, 6-2, 234, R-Fr.

52 Dontey Brown, 6-2, 231, R-Fr.

OLB 31 Paul Posluszny, 6-2, 234, Jr.

37 Spencer Ridenhour, 6-0, 214, R-Fr.

CB 21 Alan Zemaitis, 6-2, 196, Sr.

11 Tony Davis, 5-10, 189, R-Fr.

FS 27 Chris Harrell, 6-2, 212, Sr.

29 Paul Cronin, 6-2, 223, Sr.

HERO 10 Calvin Lowry, 6-0, 200, Sr.

24 Nolan McCready, 6-0, 202, Jr.

CB 1 Anwar Phillips, 6-1, 187, Sr.

7 Justin King, 6-0, 179, Fr.

P 36 Jeremy Kapinos, 6-1, 222, Jr.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: OSU will try and establish the run against Penn State, but the Nittany Lions proved their mettle this past Saturday by holding Minnesota's rushing onslaught to just 113 yards on the ground. Granted, PSU jumped on Minnesota early, so the Golden Gophers had to abandon the run. OSU can't afford to think run-first and fall into a similar hole. It is my guess that Ohio State will continue to attack opposing defenses with running plays coming from different angles and formations. OSU's use of the run against Iowa -- with both Troy Smith and Antonio Pittman going over 100 yards -- was textbook. However, PSU's defensive front is larger and more experienced than Iowa's.

The Buckeyes will need to complete some passes to move the sticks. Smith will need to be "on" as he was against Iowa, and not as he played against San Diego State. PSU averages three sacks a game, so some pressure will be there. But I think the OSU offensive line should be able to handle most of the heat. The best thing Ohio State can do would be to somehow hit some vertical passing plays early to loosen things up a bit. OSU could need Santonio Holmes, Anthony Gonzalez and yes, even the forgotten Buckeye, Ted Ginn Jr. to step up here and make some plays. PSU corner Alan Zemaitis can ball with the best of them, but the Lions lack depth and experience overall in the secondary.

* When Penn State Has The Ball: This PSU offense is coming into its own each week. Some of that is a function of who PSU has played. The Lions rolled up 539 yards total offense, including 364 on the ground in last week's bludgeoning of Minnesota. Ohio State counters with the nation's No. 1-rated run defense, so, obviously, something has to give. If PSU is able to sustain drives with Tony Hunt and quarterback Michael Robinson on the ground and keep the ball away from Ohio State, it could be a very long night for the Buckeyes.

However, I think most believe OSU's run defense is up to this task. That would put the game in the hands of Robinson. He was just 13 of 32 passing against Minnesota and has six interceptions (against nine touchdowns) this year. He has also fumbled eight times, losing four of those. If OSU's front seven can get after Robinson and harass him into two or three costly mistakes, it could be a long night for the Nittany Lions.

Robinson has some weapons to throw to, including true freshman phenoms Derrick Williams and Justin King. Will he be able to hook up with them for game changing plays against Ohio State's defense? Hmmm.

* How It Will Go: Before the season, Penn State was my pick as the sleeper team in the Big Ten. They had only had one winning season in the last four years. But the defense was stellar -- nobody scored more than 21 on PSU last year -- and the offense could not help but get better. My hunch was correct as PSU pulled out a squeaker at Northwestern and routed Minnesota at home. The Nittany Lions, at 5-0 for the first time since 1999, are on the verge of respectability.

The Minnesota game was a raucous home environment for PSU in Beaver Stadium. With the OSU game set for a 7:45 p.m. start, expect more of the same. In fact, as I write this on Monday, students are already camped out in tents waiting for tickets for Saturday's game. That's almost unheard of.

This game was also probably the one OSU game that gave me serious pause. I felt OSU had what it needed to match up with Texas and Iowa at home and with Michigan on the road. But this game gave me an uneasy feeling -- a resurgent team on its turf and at night, where OSU has failed miserably the last two years. The whole thing looks like a set-up.

But I can't take my mind off that Ohio State defense. I had one associate say, "Ohio State is the only team in the Big Ten playing defense this year." I'm not sure I'd go that far, but defense is the one constant in this game. If the OSU offense can muster two touchdowns and look for some help from the defense or special teams (Ginn did have a punt return TD in last year's 21-10 win in Columbus), that may be the recipe for victory. I've got it: Ohio State 27-21

* For The Record: I am 3-1 straight-up and 2-2 against-the-spread with Ohio State. (As of Monday, OSU was listed as a 3-point favorite.)

* Other Picks: On this week's Bucknuts Radio Hour, Mr. Bucknuts picked OSU 24-10. Kirk Larrabee had it OSU 23-17, while Jerry Rudzinski said OSU 26-17. Mark Brennan of FightOnState.com (pennstate.scout.com) picked Penn State 20-17.

-- Steve Helwagen


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