Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/18/11

The Rundown:

The Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2, 4-1 Big Ten) continue their quest at a Big Ten Championship game berth when they travel to Ohio State to face the Buckeyes tomorrow afternoon.

The Lions hold sole possession of first place in the Leaders Division of the Big Ten, with the winner of the division to meet the winner of the Legends division in the title game on December 3rd.

Those hopes took a hit last weekend when the Lions lost 17-14 at home to Nebraska in its first game without Joe Paterno in some 60 years. The loss forces Penn State to win out its two remaining games to earn a berth in the championship game.

Standing in the way are the Ohio State Buckeyes and freshman quarterback Braxton Miller. Also standing in the Lions’ way is Ohio Stadium, where the Lions have won just once since joining the Big Ten (in 2008) in 1995.

The Horseshoe also brings a sort of house of horrors for Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin, who threw two interceptions in last years game at Ohio State. McGloin was named Penn State’s starter after Tom Bradley took over for Paterno last week.

McGloin will have to overcome last years demons while facing another stout Buckeye defense, allowing just 18 points per game, good for 4th in the nation.

Ohio State’s quarterback will face the same type of distress as Miller faces Penn State’s outstanding defense, led by Nagurski finalist Devon Still and Co. The Lions have forced __ turnovers this season, and are allowing just 17 point per game.

Key Players:

  • Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State: The true freshman has an impressive win on his resume already, with a wild win against Wisconsin. Penn State has struggled somewhat with containing dual-threat quarterbacks this season, with Illinois’ Nathan Sheelhasse and more recently against Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez. If Miller can use his legs as effectively as his arm, the Lions could be on upset alert in the ‘Shoe.
  • Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State: Expect the Buckeyes to crowd the box to stop the Lions’ running game and Silas Redd, which leaves play open in the passing game. It’s up to McGloin to hit on some passes early to take the pressure off the running game. If he can do so, the Lions will leave with just one game standing between them and the Big Ten title game.
  • Devon Still, DT, Penn State: The Nagurski Finalist has wreaked havoc on the nation this season and Saturday should be no different. If Still and Co. can clog Boom Herron and the Buckeyes running game, the Lions will be able to get after and pressure the young Miller and force him into some mistakes.

Key Matchup:

  • Penn State’s special teams vs. Ohio State’s special teams: Often in rivalry games like this featuring two outstanding defenses, a special teams play turns the tide of the game. Both the Lions and Buckeyes have great kickers, and punt returners, whoever makes a play could turn the tide of this game.

Prediction: Penn State 14 Ohio State 13

  • I like Matt McGloin to overcome his Ohio Stadium struggles and lift the Lions over the Buckeyes with a last minute drive. The Lions will play with more urgency the rest of the way knowing they need to win out to earn a berth in the Big Ten Championship game, which starts this week with a win at Ohio State for the first time since 2008, the year the Lions last went to the Rose Bowl.
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