Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
Staying disciplined when Ohio State runs the read-option might be the biggest key for Penn State if it wants to escape with a win.
Between quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde, Ohio State has two weapons that possess big-play potential on the ground.
At just under 280 yards per game, the Buckeyes boast the 11th best rushing attack in all of college football. When you factor in the read-option, things get complicated.
It's very dangerous when the defense is moving a certain direction and the ball carrier is going the other. As Bill O'Brien pointed out during his press conference yesterday, his defense needs to stick to the game plan that it has laid out. Via the transcript:
"We've got to play hard and play with great effort and do the best we can to keep him in there," he said. "When he gets out, we have to make sure that we understand our rules, our scramble rules when he gets out."
For Penn State to shut down—or at the very least, contain—Miller and Hyde, they'll need their linebackers to stay disciplined in the run game. Glenn Carson, Mike Hull and Nyeem Wartman need to let plays develop before making decisions.
Additionally, Penn State's defensive ends can limit Miller's ability to scramble by keeping him contained in the pocket.
If they can do this, the Nittany Lions should be able to constrict the run just enough to force Meyer's hand at attempting more passes. If that's the case, the advantage shifts to Penn State—Ohio State's pass offense is ranked 81st in the nation, while the Nittany Lions' pass defense is ranked 46th.