Penn State Football: Why Nittany Lions Will Upset Ailing Ohio State Buckeyes

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 23, 2012

Photo Credit: AP
Photo Credit: AP

After losing its first two games of the season, Penn State has won its last five contests, including a 39-28 victory over then-No. 24 Northwestern in Week 6.

Ohio State, Penn State's next opponent, is 8-0 this season, but two narrow victories over Indiana and Purdue the past two weeks—combined with quarterback Braxton Miller's wobbly status—point to an upset in University Park.

David Jones of The Patriot-News called Miller a "firm go" for Saturday's game on Tuesday, but you have to wonder if Miller's heavy workload is beginning to get to him. He rushed for just 47 yards on 12 carries against a beatable Purdue defense last week and he's registered the second-most carries among FBS quarterbacks this season (141 carries for 959 yards and 10 touchdowns).

The hit Purdue cornerback Josh Johnson placed on Miller last week was nasty.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said on Monday, via the Patriot-News report, "(Miller) made a comment to me that he'd never been hurt like that...I think it rattled him a little bit. Like it would anyone.”

Penn State has the defense to make life hard on Miller and the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions have held opponents to 15.7 points per game this season, 13th in the nation. They have also allowed just 3.4 yards per carry (27th in the nation) and four rushing touchdowns.

On top of that, Penn State's pass defense isn't half-bad, either. The Nittany Lions have held opposing quarterbacks to 6.0 yards per pass attempt (tied for 20th in the nation). Given Miller's rough outing against Purdue last week (9-of-20, 113 yards, one interception), that figures to come into play on Saturday.

There's also the fact that the Penn State offense has been rolling lately, scoring a combined 112 points in its last three games. Senior quarterback Matt McGloin went 26-of-38 for 289 yards and two touchdowns against Iowa last week, while sophomore running back Bill Belton rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns.

The Buckeyes are allowing 24.3 points per game this season (51st in the nation) and they gave up 49 points to Indiana two weeks ago. This defense can be beat.

It all adds up to an upset at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.

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