The Ohio State Buckeyes host the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday at noon ET in a Big Ten rivalry bout. Ohio State (6-0) is No. 3 in the most recent AP Top 25, and Penn State (6-0) comes in at No. 7, with both teams angling for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Below, we take a closer look at Saturday’s Penn State vs. Ohio State matchup with info on the odds, betting lines, and player props for this Week 8 NCAA football game.
Battle for the Big Ten
Ohio State has lost out on the Big Ten title to Michigan in consecutive seasons after winning four straight conference crowns from 2017-20. Penn State last won the Big Ten in 2016. Both programs have key conference matchups to come, with Penn State hosting Michigan on Nov. 11 and Ohio State battling Michigan on Nov. 25. Still, this head-to-head matchup could go a long way toward determining the Big Ten winner.
Penn State offense versus Ohio State red zone defense
The Nittany Lions have won 11 straight games by 14-plus points and scored 30-plus points in 13 straight, but Ohio State has a stalwart defense that is allowing the third-fewest points per game (9.7) in the nation. Ohio native Drew Allar quarterbacks Penn State against a defense that is yielding the fourth-fewest passing yards per game (153.4) in FBS this season.
Penn State has engineered long drives behind a strong rushing attack, with Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton both among the top 10 leading rushers in the conference. Ohio State’s red zone defense is the sixth-best in FBS in terms of opponents’ touchdown conversion percentage (66.7%).
Ohio State receivers versus Penn State secondary
Led by elite pro prospect Marvin Harrison Jr., who leads the Big Ten with 604 receiving yards, Ohio State has a number of receivers who have proved difficult for teams to cover. The Buckeyes average 9.3 yards per pass (13th in FBS), and Kyle McCord is coming off one of his best outings this season with 276 yards and three TD passes in a 41-7 win at Purdue.
Penn State’s defense is yielding the fewest passing yards per game (137) in FBS at just 4.9 yards per attempt. The Nittany Lions average 2.2 takeaways per game. McCord averaged a modest 6.5 yards per attempt with a 56.8% completion rate in a Week 3 matchup at Notre Dame.
Penn State vs. Ohio State odds and betting lines
Penn State vs. Ohio State player props
Some of the best players in college football will take the field in this matchup. Here is a look at some player props to consider:
Drew Allar has a line of passing yards in this matchup. The sophomore might end up needing to throw more often if Ohio State’s offense creates a high-scoring environment. Allar passed for 208 yards at Illinois and 189 yards at Northwestern in conference road games this season, with 33 attempts in both contests. Allar also has odds of to throw over 0.5 interceptions.
Kyle McCord, meanwhile, has an over/under line of passing yards and is getting odds to top 1.5 passing touchdowns. This is his toughest matchup to date, but McCord is averaging 275.2 passing yards per game this season.
Penn State vs. Ohio State injury report
Ohio State ruled out running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams with undisclosed injuries last week. The Buckeyes also lost Chip Trayanum in the first quarter with an unspecified injury. Sophomore Dallan Hayden could draw the start at tailback. Wide receiver Emeka Egbuka (leg) has a chance to return to action this Saturday. Defensive tackle Jaden McKenzie and third-string tight end Joe Royer were limited in practice last week.
Penn State held out offensive lineman JB Nelson, tight end Khalil Dinkins, and receivers Tyler Johnson and Carmelo Taylor ahead of a Week 8 homecoming matchup against UMass. Kaytron Allen and Trey Wallace have been battling injuries this season but are expected to be active.