Penn State is set to host its biggest game of the year on Saturday when the No. 9-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes head to Beaver Stadium. The Buckeyes are currently 8-0 while the Nittany Lions are 5-2. Both teams are tied at the top of the Big Ten Leaders Division.
While neither team can claim the Big Ten title due to NCAA sanctions, they are both eligible to win the Leaders Division.
Ohio State is vulnerable. The Buckeyes needed overtime to defeat Purdue at home last week. In the game, quarterback Braxton Miller suffered a concussion but has been cleared to play against the Lions.
Danny Sheridan in USA Today has Penn State favored by one point.
Below you will find bold predictions for the game. One thing is for sure, the fans dressed in all white will be loud and energetic as they cheer on their Lions.
BOLD PREDICTION 1: Matt McGloin will throw for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Quarterback Matt McGloin is having a great season. McGloin is the top passer in the Big Ten, averaging 255.4 yards per game and racking up 1,788 total passing yards.
McGloin is coming off back-to-back multi-touchdown games, tossing two against both Northwestern and Iowa. He threw for over 280 yards in both of those games.
Week 9 brings a favorable matchup against an Ohio State defense which ranks 11th in the conference in pass defense. The Buckeyes are giving up an average of 271.8 passing yards per contest.
McGloin and the Penn State offense should be able to move the ball against the Buckeyes. The senior quarterback will be fired up by the raucous whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium. Look for him to have a big game, solidifying Penn State's spot at the top of the Big Ten Leaders Division.
BOLD PREDICTION 2: Bill Belton will top 100 yards for the second straight week.
Sophomore running back Bill Belton finally got a chance to show his skills in Week 8 at Iowa. Belton, who was fully healthy for the first time since the start of the year, had a huge day leading the Penn State rushing attack.
Belton put up 103 yards on just 16 carries and found the end zone three times against the Hawkeyes.
In Week 9, Belton will face an Ohio State defense that gives up an average of 121.6 rushing yards per game.
Belton is a change of pace in the backfield from Zach Zwinak, who had been carrying the load in Belton's absence. While Zwinak is a power back, Belton is a playmaker who is a threat to break a big play anytime he touches the ball.
The Penn State offense has gone through quarterback Matt McGloin in 2012. However, if the Lions wish to be successful the rest of the year, the run game must be established in order to help out McGloin.
Look for Belton to be used early and often, racking up 100 yards and a score.
BOLD PREDICTION 3: The Penn State defense will hold Braxton Miller under 75 yards rushing.
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has had a stellar season and is right in the middle of discussions for the Heisman Trophy.
The dual-threat quarterback has thrown for 1,384 yards and 11 touchdowns. Miller is primarily known, however, for his running ability.
MIller has topped 100 yards rushing in five out of eight games this year and has 10 rushing touchdowns. The sophomore is fourth in the Big Ten in rushing yards, averaging 119.9 yards per game.
The Penn State defense will have its hands full with Miller, but if any defense can contain him, it's the Lions. Senior linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges will be well aware of Miller's running ability and will look to make it difficult for him to break free.
Miller is not going to beat Penn Sate with his arm, as he is only averaging 173 yards per game. The defense will be able to play up close to the line and keep him in check.
BOLD SCORE PREDICTION: Penn State 24, Ohio State 10
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