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Penn State Vs. Ohio State: Lions Will Face Tough Buckeye Defense

Matthew McGloin and the Penn State offense have racked up a bunch of points lately, averaging 36 points per game in their last three contests, all wins over Minnesota, Michigan and Northwestern. As impressive as the big scores have been, though, it's important to keep them in perspective.

Minnesota's defense is No. 103 in points allowed per game nationally and Michigan is No. 104. Northwestern, while significantly tougher than the other two, is still mortal at No. 42. The Ohio State defense is a different animal entirely. The Buckeyes are No. 3 in points allowed per game and have held opposing offenses to 10 points or less five time. They're also first in the Big Ten in nearly every statistical category.

Joe Paterno is ready for a tough game.

They're very well disciplined. They're very well coached. They have four or five kids that can play for anybody, four or five guys, that could go right into pro football. Very good athletes. They have a couple linebackers. Don't ask me their names...But just looking at them, they run well to the ball. They play with a lot of pride. They line up properly.

I mean, they're not running all over the place. They had the one bad game. But after that they got together, and I'll tell you they played really well the last couple of ball games.

Wisconsin managed to beat Ohio State 31-18 at Camp Randall in October by establishing a steady rushing attack with running backs John Clay and James White. The pair ran for 179 yards on 38 carries, a 4.7 yard per carry average. If Penn State can establish the same kind of success on the ground, it will open up play action passing for McGloin, an element of his game that has looked very good in his first three games. This will lead to a balanced attack, which will be key if Penn State is to win in Columbus on Saturday.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.