Penn State fell 13 spots in this week's AP Top 25 following its nine-overtime loss to Illinois. By Nov. 2, when the initial College Football Playoff rankings are released, Penn State might be out of the top 25 completely.
Penn State visits Ohio State on Saturday hoping to end a two-game slide. But the Lions are 2-12 at Ohio Stadium since joining the Big Ten, and James Franklin is 0-3 there.
Here's an early look at he 37th meeting between Penn State and Ohio State.
No. 20 Penn State (5-2) at No. 5 Ohio State (6-1)
- When: 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday
- Where: Ohio Stadium
- TV: ABC
- Streaming: fuboTV
- Betting Line: Ohio State is an 18.5-point favorite, according to SI Sportsbook
- Series History: Ohio State leads 22-14
- Last Meeting: Ohio State 38-25 in 2020
- Streaks: Ohio State has won 4 straight vs. Penn State
About the Lions: That Penn State allowed 357 yards rushing to Illinois, the most in eight years, was astonishing. Even more astonishing? The Lions gave up just one touchdown. Further, Penn State's defense delivered its offense a chance with five conversion stops in overtime before finally succumbing to a pair of 2-point pass plays. "The game-winning play, that's all that matters as far as I'm concerned," defensive end Jesse Luketa said. "We played well leading up to that point. We were finishing, we were executing. We just have to execute, more especially in those big time moments." That's what Penn State's defense has become: a unit required to be perfect. Despite all those yards, Illinois reached the red zone only twice but went 2 for 2. Against Iowa, the defense gave up a long touchdown pass on a play-action move after being so disciplined the entire game. Now, Penn State faces the nation's highest-scoring offense that has been on a dynamic tear. Expecting the Lions to be perfect in Columbus will be quite the ask.
About the Buckeyes: Ohio State is on pace to break Penn State's modern Big Ten record of 47 points per game (1994). The Buckeyes lead the nation in scoring (49.3 ppg) and have topped 50 in each of their last four games. Meanwhile, Penn State has scored 38 points in its last two games (with nine overtimes) combined. After a freshmanesque start, which included a shoulder injury, quarterback C.J. Stroud has thrown for 1,002 yards, 14 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games. The Buckeyes have scored 16 touchdowns in their last two games. Penn State has scored three. The Buckeyes also lead the FBS in total yards (559.3 per game) and yards per play (8.44). The conference is quite aware of Ohio State's offensive-talent stockpile. Running back TreVeyon Henderson has been spectacular, and the receiving trio of Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Chris Olave have combined for 17 touchdown catches.