Ohio had a big win at home against Florida Atlantic Saturday, but it didn’t get to celebrate for long.
Ohio had to adjust its mindset quickly in order to prepare for its next game against Penn State at the notorious Beaver Stadium. Ohio has beat Penn State before, back in 2012, but things look different for the two teams now.
Here is everything you need to know about Penn State heading into the game Saturday:
Penn State head coach James Franklin is in his ninth season with the team. He had head coaching experience prior to joining Penn State, previously serving as the head coach at Vanderbilt from 2011-2013.
When Franklin was announced head coach at Penn State in 2014, he was thrown into a program that was still picking up the pieces after the death of longtime head coach Joe Paterno in 2012. However, Franklin took it all in stride and rejuvenated Penn State’s program. Over the past eight seasons at Penn State, Franklin is 68-34.
Sean Clifford is one of the most experienced players on the Nittany Lions roster, as he is in his sixth season with the team. Throughout that time, the redshirt senior has played in 38 games, starting 33 of them.
In 2021, Clifford became the only Penn State quarterback to have three games with 250 passing yards and three passing touchdowns in two different seasons. After throwing for 282 yards and four touchdowns against Purdue on Sept. 1, Clifford may be on his way to his third season with those numbers.
Clifford is no stranger to completing deep passes, which is something Ohio will need to watch out for Saturday. In the season opener on Sept. 1, Clifford completed a 67-yard touchdown pass to Brenton Strange in the second quarter.
Penn State did not rely on its rushing game as much as its passing game against Purdue. It utilized multiple different running backs in that game, two freshman and one sophomore. Just one running back, Nicholas Singleton, had 10 rush attempts. He only netted 31 yards on those 10 attempts, but Kaytron Allen and Keyvone Lee also rushed for 31 and 30 yards, respectively.
Penn State’s leading receiver so far this season is Mitchell Tinsley, a transfer from Western Kentucky. In Penn State’s first game this season, Tinsley caught seven passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Last season at Western Kentucky, Tinsley made 87 receptions for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also averaged 100.1 receiving yards per game and 16.1 yards per reception. Because he was so skilled last season, Franklin knew Tinsley would make an immediate impact on Penn State’s offense this season, and he will likely make an impact against Ohio.
Penn State’s defense has been consistently solid over the past few years. In 2021, it allowed the fifth fewest yards per game in the Big Ten. On Sept. 1 against Purdue, Penn State’s defense had two sacks for a loss of 17 yards.
Ohio’s confidence is high after its 41-38 win on Saturday. However, it knows the game at Penn State will arguably be its toughest this season.
It won’t be impossible for the Bobcats to get a win, but both the offense and defense will need to be in top-tier shape. Kurtis Rourke and the offense are going to need to create big plays more so then they did on Saturday, and the defense will need to make more big stops as well.