#9 Penn State (9-1, 6-1) at #2 Ohio State (10-0, 7-0)
Look at any measure and you’ll find that this game is a gross mismatch. Therefore, prayers to the almighty gods of football might be the only hope for the Nittany Lions. (O mighty shammmaaaaaa…) Most of us have been counting this game as a loss since the early days of the season, and little has evidenced itself in Penn State performances to date to change that opinion, at least for this turkey.
The Sanguinarians are bubbling with anticipation of a close game, one that could go either way, which I’m not seeing. They say, “We always play them close.” Good for those die-hards! They’ll cling to all kinds of non-sequiturs trying to justify their position while I don’t have to move a muscle. (It is they who swing both ways). ESPN’s power index gives PSU a 15.7% chance. I give them less.
However, as we are all aware, this is a tune-up game for the season-ender, the all-important clash with another manufactured rivalry courtesy of the retiring Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, Rutgers, who I like to call Piscataway Junior High because that’s about the level of their play. (I firmly believe their stadium should be named Asia Carrera Memorial Field, too, but I digress). We can’t use our whole playbook with the Scarlet and Gray, lest the other Scarlet boys learn all our secrets. (Scarlet Nights remind me of red-light districts in Trenton for some reason, but here I am, off the track again).
tOSU Finally Finds the “D” in the Alphabet
Unlike prior years, tOSU now has a defense, which allows fewer than ten points per game, while their omnipresent offense is averaging 51.5. Their lowest margin of victory was a 24-point rout of Moo U.
It is that defense that screws Penn State, who will need to score a shitload of points and control IITOP to have a chance. Against common opponent Indiana, the Schmuckeyes started slow, establishing a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, which they extended to 30-10 by halftime, then ultimately coasted to a 51-10 victory. The Nittany Lions played Indiana basically even-up, thanks to a porous defensive secondary that seemed to be chasing Hoosiers receivers from behind all afternoon.
Ohio State allows an average of 90 rushing yards per game. In the Wisconsin game, which they won 38-7, they held the great Jonathan Taylor, operating behind a humongous offensive line, to just 52 yards. For icing on the cake, the mighty Schmuckeyes defense stuffed Badger QB Jack Coan five times.
Furthermore, yon Bucks sport an average net turnover advantage of 1.3 per game.
Rush defense is the one area where PSU has a better record. That’s probably because everyone knows they can always find an open receiver against the Swiss Cheese Nittany Lion secondary, so they eschew the run in favor of the alley-oop. Nevertheless, let’s give credit where credit is due. The Lions have allowed an average of 75.9 yards per game on the ground. What they’ll do against J.K. Dobbins, who is averaging 142.9 yards per game, remains to be seen.
If forced to pass, the Kitties aren’t in great shape, even with the fourth-ranked passing offense in the conference. tOSU leads the Big Ten in overall Pass Defense, Pass Defense Efficiency, and Sacks. Can Sean Clifford scramble out of trouble when he finds his receivers covered and his offensive line distractedly taking a leak? Sackmeister and TFL leader Chase Young will definitely play. Clifford could develop turfbutt. I don’t know whether Hamler will be playing, but I can say that without him, that’s one more nail in the coffin.
Offense: It Goes Without Saying, Already
Offensively, I don’t even want to think about tOSU’s dominance. You think Penn State’s offense is prolific? The Schmuckeyes are 15 points and 115 yards per game better in the raw stats. J.K Dobbins is second only to Jonathan Taylor in rushing, while Justin Fields ranks at the top of the conference in pass efficiency. He has so many excellent receivers, you wouldn’t believe.
Hard to find any weaknesses in this year’s tOSU product, so I won’t try. I’ll leave that for the egg-spurts at BWI, BSD, 247, etc. I’m sure they’ll dig up something to give the Sanguinarians a ray of hope. Not this Turkey. Nope. If you’re looking for sunshine (which means you’re new here), you’ve come to the wrong place. The only sunshine for the Lions will be in sunny Tampa on New Year’s Day — if they get by Rutgers.
Prediction: Five Things More Likely to Happen This Year Than PSU Winning on Saturday
- Hell will freeze over due to global warming. (All that warmth has to come from somewhere!)
- Trump will be convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors by the U.S. Senate and will be appointed as the new Ambassador to the Ukraine by President Pence.
- 5G will cause cancer in rodents who are force-fed 5G routers chased with a glass of Roundup and subjected to microwaves by certain ignoramuses in my neighborhood who spread disinformation about bears, coyotes, bridges, and radio waves.
- You will catch a flying Higgs boson with your teeth and show it off in science class (for roughly 1.56 x 10-22 seconds, anyway).
- One by one, the stars will all go out and you and I will simply fly away.
Distinguished Alumna: Bertha Lamme Feicht
Bertha Lamme Feicht (1869-1943) is widely recognized as the first female (non-civil) engineer in the U.S. She graduated tOSU in 1893 with a degree in engineering; for the sake of argument and fellowship, we’ll call it electrical.
Actually, the degree at that time was in mechanical engineering with a specialty in electricity. Her thesis was titled “An Analysis of Tests of a Westinghouse Railway Generator,” which was a pathway to eventual employment by Westinghouse as its first female engineer. She worked there until she married Russel S. Feicht, her supervisor and fellow tOSU alum, in 1905.
Feicht spent the remainder of her life after college in good old Pittsburgh until her death in 1943. She is buried in Homewood Cemetery, and some of her personal effects, including her slide rule, T-square, and diploma, are housed in the collections of the Heinz History Center in da Burgh. In honor of this distinguished Yinzerette pioneer, the Westinghouse Educational Foundation, in conjunction with the Society of Women Engineers, created a scholarship named for her in 1973.
Well, it’s late November and Rod Stewart really should be back at school. Right now, the weatherman does not portend well for Saturday in Columbus, expecting rain mixed with snow and a high of 42°. So, we here at the Nittany Turkey are once again flying the slippery balls flag. Advantage, Ohio State. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these Schmuckeyes from the swift dismantlement of their weekly opponent.
Da Bottom Line
I’m writing this early in the week, so I haven’t yet seen the direction the spread is heading. Not that it matters, because I think tOSU could cover even if it goes up to three touchdowns and beyond. My only hope is that reading this drivel pisses off the Nittany Lions so much that they get their slippery balls in gear to play a perfect game. What are the odds of that?
Infinitesimal, in my opinion. They would have to fix the problems with unsafe safeties in the secondary and non-tackling tackles up front. The O-Line would have to stop the Sackmeister. Receivers would have to stop dropping balls and Clifford would have to be persistently on-target. To use an oft-abused, worn-out, hackneyed cliché, the stars would have to align. WTF? Prayers?
While the current spread of tOSU-19 with an over/under of 59 suggests a final score of 39-20 in favor of the Schmuckeroos, I’m looking for a replay of the PSU vs Michigan 2018 score: tOSU 42, PSU 7.
We’re right on the o/u, so lay off, but tOSU will without a doubt cover the spread. (That’s what I originally wrote, but it is clear that I know nothing about math. 42 + 7 = 49. I still say lay off the o/u because I don’t trust tOSU to take the foot off the gas even when they have an insurmountable lead.)
I’ll be back after the game so you can all take potshots at me for being soooooo wrong. Why not start with the potshots before the game? It’s great sport! Maybe I can get some trolls from BSD to spout off their Sanguinarian diatribe here.