Penn State vs Ohio St: Five Keys to Victory for the Nittany Lions

Penn State
Nick Singleton and fellow true freshman running back Kaytron Allen have made a favorable first impression. T. Frank Carr/BWI.

Run the Ball Efficiently and Win Time of Possession

If Penn State wants to have any chance at winning this ball game, first and foremost, they must keep the Ohio State offense off the field. If Penn State can the ball effectively 40-50 times and control the clock it will limit the amount of Ohio State’s explosive has to strike.

The Nittany Lions have two really good young backs in Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. In addition to these two guys, Penn State must find a way to get Sean Clifford some designed runs and get their speedy receivers some touches in space.

Win on Third Down

If Penn State is able to pull of the upset third down conversions will very likely play a big role. Penn State must convert all their third and short and mediums. This will keep drives alive so they continue to control time of possession and keep the Buckeye offense parked on the sidelines.

Win the Turnover Battle

Throughout his career, Sean Clifford has had a propensity for throwing debilitating interceptions in big games. It sounds like a broken record saying that but it’s true.

Against a team as good as the Buckeyes, you throw just one pick and the entire game could turn. Next thing you know you could be looking at a three score deficit.

Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (9) lines up against Michigan during an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa.on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Barry Reeger/AP Photo.

Contain Marvin Harrison Jr and Jaxon Smith-Njigba

When you look at these two guys they are some of the best receivers in college football and future first round draft picks. Obviously, there’s no stopping these two guys you can only contain them. If Penn State can hold them each to under 100 receiving yards, they’ll have a good shot at pulling off the upset.

The Nittany Lions have the personnel in the secondary to do so. Joey Porter Jr. is an All-American level corner and Jy’Ayir Brown is a future pro at safety. Additionally, Kalen King at the other corner is a high four-star recruit and has played well this season.

Take Advantage Inside the Redzone

To win this game Penn State must score touchdowns when they get inside the redzone. If the Nittany Lions settle for too many field goals in the red zone, this one could be over pretty quick for James Franklin’s bunch.

When they get to the red zone, Penn State must be able to punch it in the end zone for seven. The Nittany Lions have a very good tight end room led by Brenton Strange. They could be a huge factor in the red zone.

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