Joe Pa’s boys are playing well where it most matters
Longtime readers will remember when we questioned the results of the so-called “Game of the Century” between Ohio State and Michigan in 2006 as, in reality, a battle between two defensively challenged teams.
We won’t have the same complaint about this past weekend’s matchup between the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes.
Penn State held OSU to 6 points – at Columbus – the Buck’s second lowest scoring output of the year. Ohio State’s one worse game was their loss to USC where they scored 3. To see how effective Penn State was defensively, let’s compare the boxes –
Think about that again – with their star Wells present, at home in Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes were held to 61 yards rushing, with 55 yards of that attributable to Wells. All-in-all, Penn State’s effort on defense compares favorably with the Trojans.
The Trojans had a better offensive day against the Bucks than Penn State by 67 yards, but the Lions played a near flawless game against Ohio State in a hostile environment, with no penalties and no turnovers. This is a disciplined team.
Penn State currently ranks 3rd nationally in scoring defense at 11.1 ppg. They are 8th nationally offensively at 41.8 ppg.
Having been tested on the road, the rest of the schedule sets up well with games at Iowa, and home against Indiana and Michigan State. Since it is hard to imagine Texas and Alabama going undefeated, Paterno’s boys look to be headed to the BCS title game, barring an upset.
Then, it will be interesting to see if the Big Ten getting blown in title games out is a phenomena unique to Ohio State or not.