Ohio State Football Preview: 5 Things To Watch, Nittany Lions Edition

David ThurmanCorrespondent INovember 13, 2010

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 23:  Head Coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs along the sideline after his team intercepted the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Check out our Know the Opposition feature for full information on Penn State. Below we have five things to look for as the Buckeyes host Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions this afternoon.

1. Watch to see if the Silver Bullets can stop Evan Royster and the Penn State ground game

A year ago, Ohio State held the all-time leading rusher in Penn State history to 36 yards on 13 carries.  If they can approach that success again, it will be a long night for the Lions. 

Royster, who struggled earlier in the year, comes in on a roll, so the Buckeyes have their hands full.  But if they can make PSU one-dimensional, it will be very hard for the visitors to find the end zone.

2. Watch to see if Terrelle Pryor can have a big game against his homestate school

You know Pryor would love to scorch the Nittany Lions, whose fans have given him grief during his career. 

Two years ago, his fumble cost the Buckeyes a chance to defeat Penn State.  Last year, Pryor got revenge but didn't put up big numbers through the air. 

So look for him to be uber-excited about this game, which could be a positive or negative depending on how he controls his emotions. 

Hopefully, he will have his "A" game because if he does, the Bucks will be too much for Penn State to stop.

3. Watch to see if the Ohio State defensive line can get after Matt McGloin

The former walk-on quarterback comes into this game with extreme confidence, and has lifted the fortunes of the Nittany Lions with his recent play.  But he is yet to face a big-time defense in a hostile environment. 

Hopefully, Coach Heacock will dial up some blitzes, but it would be even better if the front four can find their way to McGloin. 

A year ago, Cameron Heyward was a one-man wrecking ball in this game, but he hasn't played like that since.  Maybe this is the week he busts out of what has been a bit of a senior slump.

4. Watch to see if the Buckeye special teams can get the job done

Penn State is blessed with exceptional special teams, something OSU has lacked most of the season. 

Considering the speed of the Lion return men, it is imperative that Ohio State's coverage units stay in their lanes and keep them from making game changing plays. 

This is the one area where Paterno's squad seems to have a definite advantage, but if it is negated it will be awfully tough for Penn State to pull off the upset.

5. Watch to see if Joe Paterno can stay on the sideline all game

Seriously, the nearly 84-year-old coach is amazing, and while I don't look for him to have to run to the locker room to take care of business, it is interesting to see what effect his recent milestone will have on this game. 

Penn State players helped Joe get victory number 400 last Saturday, and one wonders if they will be caught resting on their laurels, having celebrated a bit too much, or if it gives them a newfound confidence and pride. 

Either way, we tip our cap to Coach Paterno for a brilliant career.


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