3. The Nittany Lions’ offense can’t keep up
Expect the Buckeyes to get cooking on offense this weekend.
It’s no secret the Buckeyes have been great on offense. This unit led by sophomore quarterback sensation Dwayne Haskins has been almost unstoppable in each game this season. He’s now fully entrenched in the discussion for the Heisman trophy. Defenses have failed to find answers to stop Haskins all season.
Haskins currently sits tenth in the nation in total passing yards. He’s also tied with fewest interceptions among those leaders as he’s tossed just one. He has the second highest completion percentage in the country even with 33 more attempts than the quarterback ahead of him. Haskins’ 16 passing touchdowns is second best in the nation.
The Buckeyes demolished the Nittany Lions in last season’s match up through the air. J.T. Barrett (not known for lighting up defenses with his arm) torched them for over three hundred yards and four touchdowns. He threw touchdowns to three different receivers in that game. Barrett was also efficient with his 33/39 completion rate.
A statistic that stands out when considering the last two match ups against the Lions has been the amount of quarterback runs. Both teams have used their quarterbacks in the run game significantly in both the 2016 and the 2017 match ups. In fact, neither team’s quarterback had under 13 carries in either game. Last season, both quarterbacks led their teams in rushing in this match up.
That will change in this season as the Buckeyes have moved on from the quarterback runs and put more focus into the passing game instead. The change from Barrett to Haskins has been refreshing as it gives more stability to a multi dimensional offense. As for Penn State, they’re still in the running quarterback phase with Trace McSorley. He has been one of the leading rushers for the team in every game and has a rushing touchdown in every game but one this season.
The Nittany Lions’ pass defense doesn’t scare anyone as they were a mere 43rd in the nation last season. They lost three defensive backs to the NFL Draft this spring. The Lions’ secondary will have great difficulty covering the sheer amount of receivers the Bucks will have on display this weekend.
If Haskins starts to heat up against this Nittany Lions’ secondary, then watch out because this offense can drop some serious points.