Penn State Offense Vs. Ohio State Defense Highlights Prime Time Matchup

Michael WalshContributor IOctober 22, 2008

The "Spread HD" offense run by the Penn State Nittany Lions and PSU QB Daryll Clark can be described in several ways. "It's a spread offense in high-def is what our quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno had named it. It's 'high-definition' or 'highly diverse.' And so far it hasn't been 'huge dud,' said Clark.

The new offensive scheme designed by offensive coordinator Galen Hall and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno has the Nittany Lion offense scoring at will on opponents, averaging over 45 ppg, good enough for seventh in the nation.

Penn State is led by Clark, a first-year starter who has thrown for 1,531 yards and 11 TDs. He has also run for another 190 yards with eight TDs.

Clark will be challenged this weekend by an Ohio State defense (ABC, 8 pm) that ranks 10th in the nation in total defense.

When Daryll Clark steps under center on Saturday night, his first job will be to find Ohio State's ball-hawking cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins is tied for the team lead in interceptions with three, along with safety Kurt Coleman.

The Ohio State secondary has been the strong point of a team allowing 265 ypg. They have accounted for nine of the team's 11 INTs and have also recovered two fumbles.

While OSU's secondary has been their strong point this season, the Buckeyes are led by their linebackers and All-American James Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis, Ross Homan, and Marcus Freeman are the team's three leading tacklers. Freeman leads the team in sacks and tackles for loss.

The weak point of the Buckeye defense to this point has been the defensive line. The OSU coaches have rotated a number of players into the lineup but with limited success. The loss of Lawrence Wilson has caused the team to go to backups in key situations. 

One player who has stepped up has been DE Thaddeus Gibson. Gibson recovered a fumble and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown in a blowout win against Michigan State.

The Buckeye defense will be on its heels this weekend when it faces a veteran offensive line and RS sophomore RB Evan Royster. Royster leads the Big Ten with 7.7 ypc.

Royster is relieved by RS freshman Stephfon Green. Green's speed (4.24/40 time) compliments Royster's power and provides the breakaway speed Royster lacks.

In previous years, Penn State has lacked a playmaker at quarterback. The strong OL and ground game would often be shut down and the offense forced to throw.

This season, if you stop the rushing game, then Daryll Clark can beat you with the pass.

If you stop the passing, then Evan Royster and Stephfon Green will run right by you.

Come Saturday, will the "Spread HD" offense be in High-Definition, or will the Buckeyes unplug the TV?