Buckeyes Looking for Big Game Redemption: Receiving Corp Is Key

Robert SpeigleContributor IOctober 21, 2008

Two Big Ten powers and top ten teams will meet this Saturday in prime time.  Penn State will travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in a game that should determine the Big Ten Conference Champion.  It is the first night game at Ohio Stadium since 2005, and Buckeye fans make sure you come dressed in scarlet; Ohio State is planning for a "sea of scarlet." 

A fact to remember: Penn State has not won at the Horseshoe since joining the Big Ten, with a record of 0-7.  Ohio State has played seven night games at home and has a 6-1 record; the only loss coming to 2005 National Champion Texas.

The Buckeyes are looking for a good showing against a top ranked team to alleviate some of the pain that the Southern Cal. loss caused them.  Everyone knows the Buckeyes play great defense, and the offense is lead by bruising tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells.  He and freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor have lead the Buckeyes attack this year, after Beanie Wells came back from an early season foot injury, and Pryor took over for senior Todd Boeckman after the USC game.

The key to this game will be if the Buckeyes can establish any sort of passing game.  Penn State also plays great defense and Ohio State can ill afford to be one dimensional against a great defense. 

The Buckeyes receiving corp. is lead by Senior Brian Robiskie and juniors Brian Hartline and Ray Small.  Devier Posey, a freshman, has also started to get some of Terrelle Pryor's attention.

Robiskie started the season with a shoulder injury, but seems to be healthy and has been getting more involved in the offense. 

Ray Small has been important in the punt return game and has had a couple really good returns, including one against Michigan State last week.  He also has to pay more attention to securing the ball, narrowly avoiding a turnover after fumbling a punt return last week against Michigan State.

One other thing the Buckeye receivers will want to make sure they do is catch the ball before they run with it.  Ohio State receivers have dropped a lot of passes this year and to beat a great team like Penn State, they will need to have a minimal amount of mistakes.

When he has caught the ball, Brian Hartline has been the Buckeyes biggest play-making receiver with 19.1 yards per catch while Robiskie has the most receiving touchdowns with five.

Penn State features an experienced group of defensive backs with four seniors at the corners and safety positions.  The group is lead by hard hitting safety Anthony Scirrotto although he left last Saturday's game against Michigan with a mild concussion and is uncertain to play for the Nittany Lions.  He says he will be ready.

Lydell Sargeant leads the team with two interceptions.  The Penn State defense hasn't given up more than 24 points this season and hopes to put the clamps on Ohio State's play-makers.  If Scirrotto doesn't play, it will be a big factor in the game. 

Penn State has Daryll Clark to practice against, so they have a good idea of what to expect from the Ohio State offense.  Don't under estimate this defense Buckeye fans. Expect nothing less than the hard hitting games these two teams have played in the past.