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Peach Bowl Prep Chapter 2: Penn State

Josh Hancher

Welcome to the second installment of Peach Bowl Prep.  My previous post covered the OSU v Notre Dame and gave the metrics from the next two Buckeye opponents .  Ohio State played 3 of the next four Big Ten Opponents at the shoe and rolled all them.  Through 7 games, they outscored opponents 347-104, and had tallied 29 passing TDs and added 17 rushing.  The OSU offense ranked 2nd in Power 5 offensive success rate and 1st in offensive yards per play.  Defensively, OSU allowed 4.6 YPP and 31% defensive success which ranked 6th and 2nd in Power 5.   Only Iowa allowed less than 50% success rate to the Buckeye offense, and only Wisconsin broke 40% success rate against them defensively.  Ohio State now went on the road for a white out game in Happy Valley against the 13th ranked Penn State who had bounced back from a loss to Michigan with a 45-17 win versus Minnesota.

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Penn State was a 15.5 point underdog and had gone 3-3 against the spread and needed a big win on the national stage after 41-17 blowout loss to Michigan. Ohio State was rolling and looked to be the team to beat in the Big Ten East as well as the country.  OSU came into the game with 58% passing play success rate 1st in all of FBS led by Stroud and receivers Harrison and Egbuka who had combined for 1300 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns.   Henderson and Williams were doing more than enough on the ground with over 1,000 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on their own second in FBS in rushing efficiency.   

Here is a compressed game video and if you watch, you can see that Penn State hung with the Buckeyes, but a disastrous 4th quarter ended the Nittany Lions hope of Big Ten title and possible playoff birth which could come with it.  


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Penn State had some success and battled and led for a lot of the game, but while some of the Buckeye efficiency was held in check, the explosiveness of passing game made the difference aided by critical Penn State turnovers and mistakes. Through 3 quarters, PSU led by 1 and statistically speaking they were equal.  Penn State actually had outgained OSU 292 to 263 and had 41% to 37% success rate edge.  In the fourth however,  the Buckeyes had 189 yards on just 15 plays and a 67% Success Rate effectively crushed Penn State's season.  Interesting to see if there are things that Franklin did early in the game that Georgia can exploit - Paging @Graham Coffey and @Jon Tweets Sports.

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OSU closing out PSU made the Michigan - Ohio State enormously important with just Northwestern, Indiana, and Maryland standing in the way for Buckeyes to be undefeated in the season finale.  While Northwestern was a wild game, you have to throw that game out as the weather was an absolute factor.  Maryland hung tough, but again, OSU won the late game battle and got a good road win.

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