Can Penn State upset Ohio State? What to know for Week 9

Jenna Harris October 29, 2020 7 No Comments

Can Penn State upset Ohio State? What to know for Week 9

Week 9 provides us our first Big Ten matchup that has potential College Football Playoff implications — Ohio State vs. Penn State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC). Even although Indiana upset Penn State final weekend, each groups are thought-about the most effective within the Big Ten.

We break down every part you want to know forward of the week’s greatest sport:

What we’re most wanting ahead to

Lyles: Just getting one other pattern out of each groups — however particularly Penn State. So far this season, we have seen how a group’s opening week does not essentially imply a lot (taking a look at you, Mississippi State), and PSU might be higher than its efficiency Saturday towards Indiana.

Hale: A Justin Fields incompletion. They’re love a photo voltaic eclipse — they arrive round solely as soon as each few years. Kidding apart, Fields had only one incomplete go within the opener, however made arguably his greatest contribution together with his legs. He had eight scrambles that netted 55 yards — 20 of which got here on third down — and a landing. Fields forces defenses to choose their poison, and he is more than pleased to beat you together with his arm or his legs.

Player to observe

- Can Penn State upset Ohio State? What to know for Week 9
Justin Fields (1) and Ohio State will look to fend off a Penn State group coming off a season-opening upset loss to Indiana. Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Lyles: I’m going to be unapologetically fundamental right here and say Fields. This is without doubt one of the greatest video games on Ohio State’s schedule, and with a limited amount of chances to make his case for the Heisman, he would really benefit from a big game.

Hale: Shaka Toney could be the key to an upset win for Penn State. Against Indiana, Toney was a beast, racking up seven tackles, two sacks and a QB hurry. There’s no perfect recipe for slowing down Fields and the Ohio State offense, but if Toney and the Penn State line can disrupt the Buckeyes’ backfield often enough, they’ve at least got a chance.

How does Penn State pull off the upset?

Lyles: If you’re a Penn State fan, the best hope here is that Ohio State has a down game and plays out of character. But if last week was any indication, Ohio State doesn’t look like they’re going to have that issue. Strategically, Penn State just has to hope to limit Fields, because there is likely no way to completely stop a player with his talent.

Hale: Step 1 in achieving any victory is to know your opponent. Let’s check in with PSU head coach James Franklin.

OK, so Penn State has that lined.

Step 2 is a small extra difficult, and it is all about forcing Ohio State to show it has a second gear. Against Nebraska, the Buckeyes struggled on the bottom until Fields was operating. Is {that a} measure of some opening sport rust or an actual downside? Penn State’s protection wants to search out out. That seemingly means spying Fields to maintain him within the pocket and getting sufficient stress from the entrance 4 to pressure the Buckeyes’ hand.

Predictions

Lyles: Ohio State 41, Penn State 28

Hale: Ohio State 33, Penn State 24

What else is value watching?

Oklahoma State at Texas (Saturday, Four p.m. ET on Fox)

You might have written off the Big 12’s playoff possibilities when it misplaced to a few Group of Five groups within the opening week or when Texas and Oklahoma each misplaced back-to-back video games. That’s honest. But it turns on the market’s one other potential playoff contender within the convention, and it is profitable in a completely stunning approach. We’re speaking about Oklahoma State, which has traded in a high-flying offense for a smothering protection. The Pokes lead the nation in sack price on non-blitz performs, are fourth in yards-per-attempt, seventh in QBR allowed, 10th in designed runs stuffed for a loss or no achieve and 11th in yards-per-play. This week will probably be its greatest take a look at, with Sam Ehlinger and Texas coming to city. The Longhorns have not met expectations up to now, however Ehlinger’s 24 touchdowns leads the nation.

UCF at Houston (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+/App)

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Knights QB Dillon Gabriel has tallied 2,178 passing yards and 20 total touchdowns through his first five games and is averaging 436 yards per game passing — 55 more than the second-most productive QB in the country, Alabama’s Mac Jones. If Gabriel maintains that average this week against Houston, he would be the first QB not coached by Mike Leach to throw for 2,600 yards in his first six games in the past 15 years.

Notre Dame at Georgia Tech (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC)

We’ve reached the midpoint of Notre Dame’s season, and the Irish still haven’t played an opponent with a winning record. But Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech still has some serious value. If there has been a clear blemish on Notre Dame’s résumé thus far, it has been the downfield passing game, which struggled throughout the season before finding some magic in receiver Ben Skowronek, who had two long touchdowns last week against Pitt. The job should get easier this week against the Yellow Jackets, whose defense has allowed the second-most passing TDs (18) and fourth-most completions of 20 yards or more (27) in the country.

Does the SEC invest in a CoinStar machine?

Lane Kiffin had plenty to complain about following a controversial ending in a loss to Auburn last week, but he did his best to hold his tongue. The result? He got fined anyway. But don’t ever suggest Kiffin won’t get the last laugh.

What does Rutgers do for an encore?

The Scarlet Knights stunned everyone final week with a snug win over Michigan State wherein they compelled the Spartans into seven turnovers. That’s not a formulation Rutgers can depend on each single sport, however seeing how they fare towards a newly ranked Indiana group ought to assist give us a greater thought of how good (or unhealthy) this group is.

Travis Etienne goes for a file

Since 1978, Ted Brown has held the file for probably the most profession dashing yards in ACC historical past. Given the sheer variety of elite backs to return by means of the league within the 42 years since — Dalvin Cook, C.J. Spiller, Warrick Dunn, Tiki Barber — it is nearly a miracle the mark has stood for therefore lengthy. And but, with simply 43 extra yards vs. Boston College on Saturday, Clemson’s Etienne will eclipse Brown’s mark and maintain the file on his personal. It will probably be a becoming second. Etienne has averaged greater than 7.6 yards per carry in his profession, scored 64 occasions on the bottom, and has been the league’s Offensive Player of the Year in every of the previous two seasons. In quick, Etienne is the most effective again ever to play within the ACC, and after Saturday, he is prone to have yet another file to show his case.

Memphis at Cincinnati (Saturday, Noon ET on ESPN)

Can Memphis discover the top zone? No doubt Cincinnati has a ferocious protection, however its red-zone efficiency has been the Bearcats’ greatest weapon in a 4-Zero begin to the season. Of the 74 groups to have performed not less than three video games to date, no protection has been higher than Cincinnati’s within the pink zone, permitting a landing on only a quarter of their opponents’ drives contained in the 20. Last week’s win included two SMU drives that ended with a turnover on downs and two quick area objectives within the pink zone, turning what would possibly’ve been an in depth contest right into a Bearcats blowout. Memphis will not go down so simply. The Tigers rank No. 2 nationally in red-zone TD price.

Player to observe

Lyles: The Florida Kyles

We’re speaking Trask and Pitts right here. The Gators play for the primary time since their 41-38 loss to Texas A&M three weeks in the past. If Trask and Pitts can hold their early-season chemistry going and the protection simply type of flashes up, UF can bounce again.

Hale: Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn

If you have not been paying consideration since Okay-State’s opening loss to Arkansas State, it’d come as a little bit of a shock to search out the Wildcats are actually ranked 16th within the nation and have a shot at making the Big 12 title sport. Perhaps the most important purpose for the turnaround is their freshman tailback. Vaughn has blossomed into one of the vital dynamic threats within the nation, averaging 134 yards from scrimmage per sport, and he is the one participant within the nation to account for 300 yards on each the bottom and thru the air to date. Vaughn will run into a tricky take a look at this week, nonetheless, with West Virginia coming into play main the nation in whole protection (amongst groups with a number of video games performed).

Under-the-radar sport of the week

Lyles: Arkansas at Texas A&M

- Can Penn State upset Ohio State? What to know for Week 9play

1:41

Take a have a look at how coach Sam Pittman’s squad has turned issues round this season with assist from Florida switch Feleipe Franks at QB.

Hello, it’s I, the individual nonetheless very intrigued by every part that’s Arkansas soccer this season. I’m not essentially assured they’re going to upset Texas A&M this week, however I do wish to see how a lot of a soccer sport the Hogs are going to offer the Aggies. The Razorbacks have been the most effective story of the faculty soccer season up to now, and at worst, I feel they’re at some extent the place they’re not less than going to be aggressive.

Hale: Northwestern at Iowa

Do you love offense? Just cannot get sufficient of QBs airing it out for large performs? OK, it’s possible you’ll wish to skip this one, then. Neither group has made its bread and butter with offense, however that does not imply this would possibly not be an intriguing matchup. Iowa fell on a late TD towards Purdue final week, whereas Northwestern continued the Big Ten custom of embarrassing Maryland.

The Wildcats have not began 2-Zero since 2015, after they completed 10-3. Meanwhile, Iowa hasn’t opened a season with two losses since 2000, Kirk Ferentz’s second yr on the job.

Upset of the week

Lyles: Georgia State over Coastal Carolina

The magic needs to be up for the Chanticleers sooner or later, proper? And do not get it twisted — as somebody who loves Sun Belt soccer, I’ve loved their success. But Georgia State is a worthy opponent. The Panthers are 2-2 however these two losses have come by a complete of solely 10 factors. Plus, they could be going through a Coastal group with out injured QB Grayson McCall.

Hale: Charlotte over Duke

The Blue Devils had an off week to strive to determine their offensive woes, however the formulation is straightforward. Duke has tossed 12 interceptions in six video games, and it ranks fourth from the underside in red-zone TD price. That sounds love the recipe for an upset, and getting a win over an in-state Power 5 college would quantity to one thing of a Super Bowl for Charlotte. We think about the celebration in Club Lit will get a small rowdy if Will Healy’s group can pull this off.

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