No. 2 Penn State Gears Up for Biggest Game of the Season against No. 6 Ohio State in Columbus

No. 2 Penn State Gears Up for Biggest Game of the Season against No. 6 Ohio State in Columbus

Ohio State gameday looms near as No. 2 Penn State (7-0, 4-0) prepares to head to Columbus to face No. 6 Ohio State at their stadium, “The Shoe.”

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the Buckeyes are calling for a Blackout of their stadium for the 3:30 p.m. kickoff this Saturday.

Ever the humblest coach, Head Coach James Franklin gave Ohio State some credit toward the beginning of his weekly press conference.

“We have so much respect for the university as a whole and the football program and their history and their tradition,” said Franklin.

Franklin also noted, however, that he and the team are aware of what a challenge it will be to play at the Blackout game at Ohio State.

“It’s one thing to win at home with College GameDay and 110,000 ,” said Franklin. “It’s another thing to go on the road and do that… we’re excited about it and looking forward to it.”

Of the 31 times the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes have faced off, Penn State has won 14 of those matchups.

Most recently, of course, was last year, when Penn State toppled then-No. 2 Ohio State with this last minute play to give Penn State the lead.

Grant Haley (Atlanta, Ga.), now a senior, says he barely reflects on that play and is focused on the future.

“Don’t really watch it that much anymore,” said Haley. “It’s been a year, so kind of moving on and getting excited for this upcoming game this week.”

Haley did go on to admit that his winning touchdown did provide a pivotal moment for the game and program as a whole.

“It was a huge win for our program and obviously it gave us confidence throughout the season,” commented Haley. “I think that after each week we just kept believing in each other more and more… it’s just really given us that confidence and leadership and maturity that we have today.”

That confidence, leadership and maturity that fans have come to know and love about their Nittany Lions was on full display last week when the team took down Michigan 42-13, giving James Franklin the accolade of having beaten all Big Ten teams thus far during his tenure at Penn State.


Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) still holds the FBS lead in all-purpose yards per game with 211.1 and quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) leads the Big Ten in passing yards per game with 268.4 and received the honors of being both the Big Ten Player of the Week and Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week.

More riveting plays like this catch by Barkley from last week are definitely in store as the Lions head to the Shoe this weekend.

Ohio State’s sole loss this season comes from AP-ranked No. 10 Oklahoma, who the Buckeyes lost 31-16 in their second game of the season.

Since that loss, Urban Meyer has worked his team hard, securing significant Big Ten wins like a 56-0 trouncing of Rutgers, 62-14 defeat of the Terps and most recently, a 56-14 crushing of Nebraska.

Both Penn State and Ohio State are high-scoring teams with fierce defenses, and it will truly be a test of both will and skill this weekend.

Ohio State will be coming off of a bye weekend, which Coach Franklin acknowledged, but said that the Lions will get to the hotel early and get plenty of rest once in Columbus.

To cap things off, Coach Franklin praised his team’s high level of confidence and poise heading into this week’s showdown.

“It's going to be a real challenge. I don't think there's any doubt about it. But I do believe in our formula,” noted Franklin. “I think people within our circle understand our formula. I bring that up because I think there's confidence from our locker room and from our program that they know what to expect and they know how we operate.”

How many Penn State fans are making the journey to Columbus to cheer on our Lions? We would bet that there may just be more Penn State fans in the Shoe than Buckeye fans, but it’s just a guess. Whether you are near, far, or somewhere in between, be sure to cheer on your Lions this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. for what is arguably the biggest game of the year so far.