STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) – Saturday will mark a tenacious showdown between Penn State’s pass defense against Ohio State’s passing offense, both of which lead the Big Ten.
“Winning and losing is based more on the matchup of your strength versus theirs,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said.
A big reason Ohio State leads the Big Ten in passing is its talented collection of pass catchers. The trio of Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka and Cade Stover all rank in the top six in the conference for receiving.
“They have arguably the best wide receiver group in the country, so and we have arguably the best defensive back group in the country,” Penn State cornerback Kalen King said. “In order for me to go where I want to go, I feel I have to stand up to that challenge and show the world what I can do as well, so I’m definitely looking forward to this opportunity.”
While most eyes may be glued to that battle, the Nittany Lions’ pass rush may be the key to slowing down Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord, who has thrown 11 touchdowns to just one interception.
“Our scheme helps that we’re aggressive. Our scheme helps that we play man coverage,” Franklin said. “Typically, we can get the quarterback to hold onto the ball a little bit without free access throws.”
The extra time has allowed Penn State to get to opposing quarterbacks often this season, the Nittany Lions lead the nation by averaging 4.5 sacks per game.
The last time that they defeated the Buckeyes was back in October of 2016.
“They have confidence in themselves, and we have confidence in ourselves,” King said.