Penn State Hosts No. 2 Ohio State at 8 p.m. Saturday

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. – Penn State White Out crowd will be the backdrop for the fifth consecutive primetime meeting between the Nittany Lions and No. 2 Ohio State.

The contest will be televised on ABC from Beaver Stadium starting at 8 p.m.

(Photo of Penn State’s Saquan Barkley. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

Penn State has been successful at home recently, earning a 4-0 start to the 2016 home schedule for just the fifth time since 2000. The Lions have won 10 out of their last 11 at home dating back to last season.

The second-ranked Buckeyes will provide a strong challenge to the Lions. Ohio State has won the last four meetings against Penn State, but its closest call came the last time the two teams met in Happy Valley in 2014, as the Nittany Lions rallied from a 17-0 deficit at halftime to force overtime. Ohio State is also the third consecutive unbeaten opponent Penn State has had to face this season and the second ranked in the top five. The last time Penn State faced two top five teams in the same season was 2006 when it faced three.

Saquon Barkley will continue be a player to watch for Penn State. The sophomore Nittany Lion running back rushed for a career-high 202 yards in Penn State’s last outing and rushed for 194 yards at then No. 1 Ohio State last season. He leads the Big Ten with eight rushing touchdowns and nine total touchdowns. Quarterback Trace McSorley has also become a true dual threat performer. He ranks third in the Big Ten in passing yards, but has totaled 154 yards on the ground the last two games after totaling just 32 in the first four games.

The Penn State defense is coming off one of its best performances of the season, holding Maryland well below its season averages for points and yardage entering the game.

The Buckeyes have been ranked No. 2 all month and have won their last 20 consecutive road games, including last Saturday’s OT win at Wisconsin. Ohio State also defeated then-No. 14 Oklahoma on the road earlier this season.

Penn State will perhaps be helped by the presence of the 1986 National Championship team. The group will be honored at halftime to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their 12-0 season that culminated with a thrilling win over No. 1 Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.


  • Urban Meyer is in his fifth season as the Ohio State head coach. Meyer began his coaching career as the tight ends coach for the Buckeyes in 1986.
  • Other head coaching stops have included Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04) and Florida (2005-10).
  • This will be Meyer’s sixth match up against Penn State, as his Florida team beat the Nittany Lions in the 2011 Outback Bowl, 37-24.
  • He has won three National Championships, guiding Florida in 2006 and 2008, and Ohio State in 2014.
  • Meyer was an ESPN analyst for Penn State’s home game with Iowa on Oct. 8, 2011.
  • He is a 1986 graduate of the University of Cincinnati.


  • No. 2 Ohio State is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten.
  • The Buckeyes are coming off a primetime, overtime win on the road over then-No. 8 Wisconsin.
  • The win extended Ohio State’s road win streak to 20 games, the longest active streak in the nation. The Buckeyes have yet to lose a road game under head coach Urban Meyer.
  • The Buckeyes surrendered their first rushing touchdown of the year with 7:54 remaining in the fourth quarter against Wisconsin.
  • Ohio State is among the Big Ten leaders in all three phases of the game.
  • Ohio State enters the game averaging 49.3 points per game (fourth in FBS) and allowing just 12.8 points per game (third in FBS). Both figures rank second in the Big Ten.
  • The Buckeyes rank fourth in the nation and tops in the Big Ten averaging 300.5 yards rushing per game.
  • Ohio State has allowed an average of just 2.7 tackles for loss per game to rank second in FBS, while Penn State ranks sixth in the nation for tackles for loss averaging 8.7.
  • Mike Weber (102.0), Curtis Samuel (76.0) and J.T. Barrett (72.3) all rank in the Top 12 in the Big Ten for rushing yards per game.
  • Malik Hooker leads the Big Ten with four interceptions.


  • The Nittany Lions have spent October in Happy Valley, playing their longest stretch of home games this season and the longest since Penn State played five in a row at home early last season.
  • A three-game homestand began with an overtime win over Minnesota (Oct. 1) and continued with a win over Maryland (Oct. 8) and an off-week.
  • Penn State is 4-0 at home this year and for the 23rd time in Beaver Stadium history. It is just the fifth time since 2000 (2005, 2007, 2008, 2015), but the second time in as many years. The Nittany Lions started 6-0 at home last season.
  • Dating back to last season, Penn State has won 10 out of its last 11 home games.
  • Penn State will travel for the first time in more than a month next week to play at Purdue (Oct. 29). The Nittany Lions have two home games remaining: Iowa (Nov. 5) and Michigan State (Nov. 26).


  • Penn State will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its 1986 National Championship, honoring the squad at halftime.
  • Penn State went 12-0 and defeated No. 1 Miami, 14-10, in the Fiesta Bowl for its second National Championship in four years.
  • The Penn State defense weathered a four-down goal line stand in the last minute of play, ultimately sacking Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde for the fifth time to seal the win. Testaverde was also picked off five times.
  • More than 70 million people watched the thrilling primetime telecast on NBC, breaking the previous record for a college football telecast.
  • The 1986 team produced many Penn State household names, including team captains Shane Conlan, John Shaffer, Bob White and Steve Smith. The squad also produced four All-Americans, as linebacker Conlan, tackle Chris Conlin, running back D.J. Dozier and defensive tackle Tim Johnson all were honored.
  • A program-record 13 Nittany Lions were selected in the 1987 NFL Draft, led by first round picks Conlan (Buffalo) and Dozier (Minnesota).


  • Penn State and Ohio State both rank among the top-10 programs in winning percentage and total victories in NCAA history.
  • Four of the top-12 winningest programs in NCAA history are from the Big Ten.
  • Penn State sits No. 8 in all-time victories (860) and No. 10 in winning percentage (.685).
  • Ohio State sits at No. 5 with 881 victories and No. 4 with an all-time winning percentage of .724.
  • The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes are also among the most ranked teams in NCAA history, according to the AP poll (since 1936).
  • Ohio State has spent 102 weeks ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll (1st all-time) and Penn State has earned the No. 1 ranking by the AP on 21 occasions (T-15th all-time). (Not including preseason rankings)
  • Penn State’s 589 weeks ranked among the AP Top-25 rank ninth all-time, while Ohio State’s 858 weeks are the most in NCAA history.

AP Poll statistics are since 1936.


  • Penn State junior P Daniel Pasquariello and Ohio State graduate student P Cameron Johnston both trained with Prokick Australia.
  • Penn State freshman OL Alex Gellerstedt and Ohio State DB C.J. Saunders played at Coffman H.S.
  • Ohio State associate head coach and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was a graduate assistant at Penn State in 1990 and went on to coach the Nittany Lion defensive backfield from 1991-95.
  • Ohio State assistant head coach and defensive line coach Larry Johnson coached 18 seasons at Penn State serving four years as a defensive ends and special teams coordinator and 13 years as a defensive line coach.


  • For its seventh game of the season, Penn State is playing its fourth straight unbeaten opponent.
  • Kent State (0-0), Pitt (1-0), Temple (1-1), Michigan (3-0), Minnesota (3-0), Maryland (4-0) and Ohio State (6-0) have a combined 18-1 record prior to playing PSU.
  • In its last two games, Penn State gave Minnesota and Maryland their first losses of the season.


  • No. 2 Ohio State is the second top-five ranked team Penn State is facing this season. The Nittany Lions faced then No. 4/5 Michigan on Sept. 24.
  • The last time Penn State face multiple top-five teams was 2006 when it met No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 1 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan.
  • Prior to 2006, Penn State had not faced multiple top-five teams during the regular season since 1983.


  • After playing two games at night in 2015, Penn State will play at least three this season.
  • Penn State and Ohio State are scheduled for their eighth primetime clash since 2005 and will be in primetime for a fifth consecutive year.
  • This year marks the ninth time since 2000 that Penn State will play multiple night games in the same season (Ohio State, Iowa, at Rutgers).
  • The game against Iowa (Nov. 5) will be Penn State’s first nighttime regular season game in November since Nov. 14, 1987 at Pitt, and the game against Rutgers (Nov. 19) will be the latest regular season night game since Nov. 23, 1985 at Pitt.
  • It will be the first time Penn State has played two primetime games in November.
  • This season marks the 16th consecutive Penn State will play at least one regular season night game.
  • Penn State has a 42-29 record in night games, going 10-10 at home, 20-12 on the road, 1-1 at regular season neutral sites and 11-6 in bowl games.
  • The Lions’ night games over the past 15 seasons include: Ohio State and Rutgers (2015), Boston College (Pinstripe Bowl), Ohio State, Michigan and Rutgers (2014); Ohio State, Michigan and UCF (2013); Iowa and Ohio State (2012); Northwestern (2011); Alabama, Iowa and Michigan (2010); Iowa (2009); Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio State (2008); Notre Dame, Ohio State and Texas A&M (2007), Michigan (2006), Illinois, Ohio State and Florida State (2005), Minnesota and Boston College (2004), Nebraska (2002 and `03), Miami (Fla.) (2001) and Indiana (2000).
  • On Oct. 12, 2013, the Nittany Lions claimed the longest game in Big Ten history when they edged Michigan under the lights, 43-40, in front of a sellout Beaver Stadium crowd of 107,844 on Homecoming.
  • The first night game in Beaver Stadium was Sept. 6, 1986, a 45-15 season-opening win over Temple.


  • Penn State has a 15-14 record after a bye week since starting Big Ten competition in 1993.
  • The Nittany Lions are looking to end an 0-5 skid following bye weeks and earn their first win since 2012.
  • Last season, the Nov. 14 bye was the latest first-bye date for the Lions since 1958. They played Michigan following the off week and suffered a 28-16 setback.
  • The Nittany Lions had two bye weeks in 2013 and 2014.
  • Penn State fell at Michigan (18-13) following its first bye week of 2014, and fell, at home to No. 13 Ohio State, 31-24 in double overtime following its second.
  • The Lions fell at Indiana (44-24) on Oct. 5 and at No. 4 Ohio State (63-14) on Oct. 26 during the 2013 season.
  • Penn State won at Iowa in 2012 following their only bye week during that season.



  • Penn State sophomore running back Saquon Barkley and junior linebacker Brandon Smith were selected as the Big Ten Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, after outstanding performances in the win over Maryland.
  • It was the second-straight week a Nittany Lion won defensive accolades, as safety Marcus Allen claimed the Oct. 3 Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
  • The last time the Nittany Lions had both the Big Ten Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week was in 2009 whenDaryll Clark and Navorro Bowman won the awards after the Michigan State game.


  • Three Nittany Lions have suffered season ending injuries this season. Two were veteran starters.
  • Senior LB Nyeem Wartman-White was injured during the Temple game. He missed nearly the enitre 2015 season with an injury suffered in the opener against the Owls.
  • Redshirt freshman Jan Johnson was injured at Michigan in his first collegiate football action.
  • Junior T Andrew Nelson suffered a season-ending injury against Maryland. Nelson had started eight consecutive games.


  • Penn State allowed a season-low 11 first downs to Maryland, its fewest allowed in a Big Ten game since holding Minnesota to seven in 2009.
  • Penn State held Maryland well below its season averages entering the game. The Terps were averaging 43.2 points per game, while allowing just 14.5. They rushed for an average of 300 yards in the first four games before being held to 170 rushing yards and 270 yards of total offense (466.2 average).
  • The 100 yards passing allowed were the fewest in a Big Ten game since giving up 68 at Indiana in 2014.


  • Penn State’s 524 yards of total offense against Maryland were the most since posting 574 against Eastern Michigan in 2013 and the most in a Big Ten game since having 546 yards against Indiana in 2012.
  • It was the first game with 500 or more yards since the 2014 season opener vs. UCF (511).
  • The Nittany Lions ran for 372 yards vs. Maryland, its fourth-most rushing yards in a game in the last 20 years. It is the most in a game since producing 389 vs. Youngstown State in 2006.
  • The rushing yard total was the most in an FBS and Big Ten game since piling up 390 yards vs. Michigan State in 2002.
  • The 62 rushing attempts were the most in a Big Ten game for Penn State, while the 372 yards rank No. 3 on the Nittany Lions’ Big Ten ledger.
  • The Nittany Lions scored on the first possession of the game, a 5-yard pass from Trace McSorley to Mike Gesicki. It was the first touchdown on the opening possession for the Nittany Lions since playing at Illinois in 2014.


  • Penn State has allowed a total of 21 third-quarter points through six games this season, an average of 3.5 points in the third stanza.
  • Just 65 of the 171 points allowed by Penn State have been after halftime.
  • Penn State has shut out two teams in the second half this season, Kent State and Maryland.


  • After totaling just 32 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown in the first four games this season, QB Trace
    has rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns combined in the last two games.
  • Against Maryland, McSorley had a career-high 81 rushing yards on 18 attempts, the most rushing yards by a Penn State quarterback since Daryll Clark had 83 against Illinois in 2009. His previous high of 73 yards came the previous week vs. Minnesota.
  • McSorley’s 73 rushing yards on only eight attempts against Minnesota led the team. The last Penn State quarterback to lead the team in rushing was Michael Robinson at Michigan State on Nov. 19, 2005. Robinson had 90 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown run against the Spartans.


  • Sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley is third in the Big Ten in passing yards with 1,436 in his first season as the starting quarterback.
  • McSorley threw one touchdown pass against Maryland, moving his touchdown pass streak to seven straight games with at least one scoring strike.
  • The last Penn State quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in seven or more consecutive games was Christian Hackenberg, who posted an eight-game streak in 2013. Matt McGloin had a 13-game streak starting with the last game of 2011 and the entire 2012 season.
  • McSorley has thrown for 200 or more yards in four of his six career starts.
  • McSorley had one of the most productive games by a Nittany Lion ever against Minnesota. He accounted for 408 yards of total offense — 335 passing and 74 rushing — to mark the third-highest total in school history. It was the most yards of total offense since Christian Hackenberg posted a school-record 454 yards against UCF in the 2014 Croke Park Classic vs. UCF. McSorley also had his longest career completion, an 80-yard touchdown to Irvin Charles.
  • McSorley posted his second career game with 300-plus passing yards, ending the night with 335 yards on 19-of-41 passing with one touchdown and zero interceptions.
  • McSorley’s 335 passing yards were a career high, moving past his 332 yards through the air at Pitt earlier this season, and rank No. 13 on the all-time passing list.
  • McSorley is the 12th quarterback in Penn State history to register a 300-yard passing game, and just the fifth to record to have multiple 300-yard pass games, joining Christian Hackenberg, Matt McGloin, Kerry Collins and Daryll Clark.


  • Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton extended his streak to 32 consecutive games with a catch, the longest streak sinceBobby Engram (1993-95) caught at least one pass in 36 straight games. He had two catches for 35 yards.
  • The streak ranks tied for the 12th-longest active streak in FBS. Robert Davis (Georgia State) and Corey Davis, (Western Michigan) lead the country with 43-game streaks.
  • Hamilton ranks seventh all-time at Penn State with 144 career receptions and 15th with 1,683 career receiving yards.


  • Sophomore running back Saquon Barkley is having another standout season for Penn State.
  • Barkley posted his first 200-yard rushing game and seventh career 100-yard effort with 202 yards on the ground against Maryland.
  • Barkley was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
  • He became the 15th different Nittany Lion to eclipse the 200-yard mark. The 202-yard performance tied for 23rd all-time on Penn State’s single game rushing list (John Cappelletti vs. Maryland, 1972) and was the first 200-plus yard performance since Bill Belton had 201 against Illinois in 2013. It was also the most by a Penn State player since Larry Johnson had 279 yards against Michigan State in 2002.
  • Barkley moved into 22nd on the career rushing charts with his performance, jumping six spots in the game. He ended the afternoon with 1,658 career yards on the ground.
  • Barkley’s six runs of 10-plus yards against the Terps give him 16 such efforts this year and 50 for his career.
  • He ranks third in the nation with nine rushes for 20 yards or more.


  • The Brandon Smith story took another positive turn, as the former walk-on was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after the Maryland game.
  • Smith, had a game- and career-high 14 tackles versus the Terps. He surpassed his previous high of eight against Temple. Smith also came up with his first career interception, picking off QB Perry Hills at the Penn State 45 with 2:06 to play in the first quarter.
  • With the Penn State linebacking unit hampered by injury with the three opening day linebackers and two others out for the Maryland game, Smith has stepped into a leadership role.
  • Penn State allowed just 100 passing yards against the Terps, which were the fewest in a Big Ten game since giving up 68 yards at Indiana in 2014.
  • Pressed into action against Temple when injuries hit Linebacker U,
    Smith made eight tackles, after having just one career stop entering the game. Smith also added his first career tackle for loss, a combined stop with Torrence Brown in the fourth quarter.
  • Entering the Temple game, Smith had played three defensive snaps (all in 2016) and 44 total career snaps.
  • Smith received the chance to start at Michigan and made two tackles, including one for loss, in the first quarter, but was disqualified on the first play of the second quarter for targeting. The Big Ten laster announced that the call should have been reversed by the replay official.
  • Smith was back in the starting lineup against Minnesota and made seven tackles, including an assist on a TFL and a pass breakup.
  • Smith ranks third on the team and first among linebackers with 31 tackles.


  • Junior S Marcus Allen leads Penn State with 57 tackles through six games.
  • Allen’s average of 9.5 tackles per game ranks 25th nationally and second in the Big Ten.
  • Allen made 81 tackles as a 12-game starter last season.
  • Allen made a career-high 22 stops (8 solo, 14 assisted) against Minnesota, the most by a Penn State player since Paul Posluszny made 22 stops at Northwestern in 2005
  • Allen is only one of two FBS players to reach the 20-tackle mark in a game this season. Rodney Butler of New Mexico State made 24 stops (4 solo, 20 assisted) against New Mexico on Sept. 10.
  • At the time, Allen vaulted from 148th in FBS and 20th in the Big Ten with 7.0 tackles per game to 22nd in FBS and first in the Big Ten with 10.0 tackles per game.
  • Allen was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week and the Big Ten Rose Bowl Game Player of the Week for his performance.
  • The 22 stops are tied with Posluszny and Ron Crosby (vs. Ohio, 1974) for No. 4 on the all-time single game tackles list.
  • Allen’s 22 tackles are the most by a Big Ten player since Wisconsin’s Mike Taylor had 22 stops at Ohio State on Oct. 29, 2011.
  • Allen had 28 tackles in the first four games of the season.
  • His previous career high was 12 tackles against Michigan in 2015.

Copyright © 2021 EYT Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of the contents of this service without the express written consent of EYT Media Group, Inc. is expressly prohibited.

Comments are temporarily closed. A new and improved comments section will be added soon.