The Nittany Lions will travel to Columbus on Saturday to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the player they should be putting the most focus on containing may not be quarterback Braxton Miller.
After serving a three-game suspension for "conduct not representative of the football program or university," running back Carlos Hyde has returned to the Buckeyes in a big way. Head coach Urban Meyer has responded by utilizing the 235 pound power-back from Florida in a power-ground game that Ohio State hasn't used much of in the last two seasons.
While containing Miller is always a headache for opposing defenses, it looks like stopping Hyde is the new top priority when facing the Buckeyes.
Penn State may have the right guy for the job.
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Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones has been dominant at times this season, taking over the line of scrimmage in the middle. Jones has had nine tackles in three different games this season, which is unheard of from an interior lineman.
On Saturday, Jones will face his biggest challenge of the year, both literally and figuratively.
Because of Ohio State's ability to execute the read-option, John Butler's defense can't focus solely on Hyde when playing the run. Too much attention on him will result in a huge game for Miller. Instead, Penn State will call on Jones, who leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss, to be a disruptive force on the inside. If he's able to throw off the timing of the Buckeye's ground game, it will force Ohio State away from its new comfort zone.
Keep an eye on number 91 in blue and white this Saturday. If he is able to get penetration and throw off the Buckeye's offensive rhythm, it could completely alter Ohio State's game plan. If not, the Nittany Lions will likely be in for a long day trying to take down Hyde at full speed.