Saturday, October 17, 2015
8:00PM (Eastern) on ABC
Penn State: Saquon Barkley-Questionable
Angelo Mangiro-Expected to play
Andrew Nelson-Expected to play
Ohio State: Erick Smith (S)-Expected to miss
Parris Campbell (WR)-Expected to miss
Mike Weber (RB)-Questionable
Saquon Barkley vs. Ezekiel Elliot: This game features two premium running backs. Elliot broke out as a true offensive star last season, while Saquon Barkley has been breaking out this season as a true freshman. Even against good defensive lines (which both of these teams possess), I expect both backs to pass 100 yards rushing, provided that Barkley plays.
Christian Hackenberg vs. Cardale Jones: Both Hackenberg and Jones were considered potential first round draft picks in recent months, but both have slipped due to inconsistencies in their game. Both are big, strong armed gunslingers, and either one or both could go off on Saturday. Cardale Jones has the better arsenal of receiving talent at his disposal, but Hackenberg might have the advantage in terms of skill set. It will be interesting to see which of these quarterbacks will boost their draft stock on the biggest stage they've seen so far this season.
Carl Nassib vs. Joey Bosa: Two of the top defensive linemen in the nation, and both potential first round draft picks. Joey Bosa has been getting some talk as a potential #1 overall pick recently, although getting shown up by Nassib could bring him back down to earth. I really believe that Nassib will have the bigger game on Saturday, although if Paris Palmer is playing left tackle I might have to reconsider.
Christian Hackenberg vs. Ohio State Secondary: This Ohio State secondary is loaded with NFL talent, and Hackenberg will be hard pressed to find wide open receivers. Timing will be critical, as Hackenberg will need to throw his receivers open, not vice versa. Look for some plays over the middle to Kyle Carter when the starting safeties rotate out, as Erick Smith's injury depletes their depth at that position quite a bit.
This could be the kind of game that is really close until all of a sudden it isn't. It could be a four-touchdown blowout, but I am going to be a complete homer and say that the Good Guys hang tight and keep it within two. A strong defensive effort keeps Ohio State in check, and Hackenberg throws two TDs and a pick, while Barkley gets a TD and Big Toe picks up a field goal. Ohio State answers with 3 Eliot TDs, a field goal, and a TD apiece for Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett.
Ohio State 38, Penn State 24.