Week 9 Big Ten Clash: Ohio State Buckeyes at Penn State Nittany Lions

Phenom Quarterback Braxton Miller is going to be able to play this week for the undefeated Buckeyes, after suffering what appeared to be a serious neck injury last week.
Ohio St-Penn St
Time: 5:30 PM EST
Spread: PICK
Total: 50.5
M/L: BOTH -110

All systems appear to be ‘go’ with Braxton Miller, the dynamic dual-threat QB of Ohio State, who suffered a serious neck injury last week that nearly cost the Buckeyes a football game. They were saved by the late game heroics of Kenny Guiton, but will be thankful to have the focal point of their offense back in the lineup this week against a tough Nittany Lions team that has been much better than expected after starting out the season with two tough losses to Ohio and Virginia.

Miller has been nothing short of phenomenal for the undefeated Buckeyes. He has 1,384 yards in the air, on a 58.7 percent completion ratio, with 11 TDs and a QB rating of 138.3. But his real damage has been done rushing the football. He’s been over 100 yards rushing in five of the Buckeyes’ eight games and he had 186 yards on 16 carries in the 63-38 pouncing of Nebraska. Miller’s health is the obvious key to this Ohio State team being a top team in the AP polls. Out of contention for the BCS due to NCAA sanctions, Urban Meyer’s squad’s goal remains just finishing as high as possible this season.

Ohio State has won three of the last four meetings on the road against Penn State, but lost last season 20-14 in Columbus. Miller had a good game rushing last year with 105 yards in the air, but he struggled to produce throwing the ball, completing only 7 of his 17 passes for just 83 yards. Miller has been a better player overall this year, but will have to overcome the Nittany Lions DL, one that has been very good. The Nittany Lions are 13th in the nation in defense, allowing just 15.7 points per game.

PSU does most of their offensive damage in the air, but they have a relatively balanced attack. Passing, they produce 257 yards per game (46th in the nation), while amassing nearly another 150 on the ground, which ranks the 79th in the nation in rushing. The net effect is a middling offense which averages 28.6 points per game (63rd). Their best offensive games, though, came the last two weeks, as they combined for 77 points in wins over then No.24 Northwestern and Iowa.

QB Matt McGloin has thrown for 1,788 yards with 14 TDs on the year. His QB rating is 136.8, and would be higher if not for the seven sacks levied against him this season. His completion ratio is good, 62.5 percent, but he hasn’t been that good scrambling and rarely rushes the ball for a gain. He’s been negative in rushing yardage in both the win over Illinois and the win over Northwestern, so that places more pressure on the backs…

Zach Zwinak, a sophomore running back, has rushed for 369 yards on 84 attempts and has three TDs on the year. Prior to last week’s 52 yard rushing game against Iowa, he had amassed 100+ yards in back to back weeks against Illinois and Northwestern. If McGloin can air it out and Zwinak can establish the ground game, this Penn State team could hand the Buckeyes their first loss of the season.


Buckeyes are 23-7 ATS in their last 30 games on grass, 26-10-1 ATS in their last 37 on the road, 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 on the road vs teams with winning records, 2-7 ATS in their last 9 following an SU win.


Nittany Lions are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 following an SU win, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 following an ATS win, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 after accumulating 450+ total yards previous game, 6-0 ATS in their last 6 overall, and 3-10 ATS in their last 13 after allowing less than 100 yard rushing the previous week. The Nittany Lions are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 after accumulating 200+ rushing yards the previous week.

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