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    Is this the year Penn State finally gets by Ohio State?

    Fubo News previews the big Ohio State vs. Penn State matchup this weekend. Watch the game and more on Fubo.

    The lone top-10 matchup for Week 8 of the college football season takes place in the Big Ten and holds not just major conference implications but potentially playoff implications as well. No. 7 Penn State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) is on the road visiting No. 3 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten).

    Whichever team wins this game will basically get the inside track for the Big Ten East’s bid in the Big Ten Championship Game. Penn State and Ohio State are two of the three undefeated teams left in the conference, with No. 2 Michigan also in the fold. Both Penn State and Ohio State will play Michigan later on (Penn State hosts the Wolverines on Nov. 4, while Ohio State visits the Big House for The Game on Nov. 25). Assuming both teams take care of business the rest of the way against unranked opponents, the winner of Saturday’s game will be win-and-in against Michigan, while still having a chance to get in with a loss in that game if there ends up being a three-way tie.

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    While that all may sound dramatic, it’s hardly unfamiliar territory. Since the conference switched from ‘Leaders’ and ‘Legends’ divisions to ‘East’ and ‘West’ in 2012, the trio of Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan has been the class not just of the Big Ten East, but the Big Ten overall during the regular season.

    In the postseason, though, it looks a little different. Michigan has represented the division in each of the last two Big Ten Championship Games. Prior to that, Ohio State made five of seven going back to the conference reformatting in 2012 (both school’s appearances tend to line up with the result of their regular season finale rivalry game).

    Penn State? Just once, in 2016.

    That’s not due to a lack of regular-season success. In four of the last six years – not including this year – the Nittany Lions went into their matchup with either Ohio State or Michigan ranked in the top 10. They’ve lost three of those four games.

    On top of that, Penn State has lost six games in a row to Ohio State, and 10 of its last 11 with the last four games all being decided by multiple-score margins despite Penn State being ranked in each of them. The Nittany Lions’ last win in the series came thanks to a late blocked field goal return in 2016 (the lone year they made the Big Ten Championship) and is the lone win for head coach James Franklin over the Buckeyes. They haven’t won in Columbus since 2011, and haven’t beat a ranked Ohio State team in Columbus since 2008.

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    Yet here we are again. Penn State comes into Saturday trying to prove it can punch with the Big Ten’s true heavyweights – and has to do so on the road. Can Franklin’s squad pull off the upset?

    Both teams come in with regularly similar resumes. Each team has one ranked win, with both coming against defensive-dominant, run-first teams. Penn State beat No. 24 Iowa 31-0, while Ohio State topped No. 15 Notre Dame 17-14 in last-second fashion.

    Penn State also has a win over what’s been a competitive West Virginia team, while Ohio State was the first team to beat Maryland. Beyond that, both teams’ schedules are mostly against lower Big Ten teams and non-Power Five opponents.

    Stylistically is where the teams start to differ on both sides of the ball. Penn State had dominated in the trenches in about every way imaginable this year. In the ground game, the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten and are ranked top-10 nationally among Power Five teams in both rushing yards per game (203.3) and fewest rushing yards against per game (72.5).

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    The offensive line isn’t just clearing the way for running backs but also helping out in the passing game. Penn State’s blockers have allowed just four sacks all year, which is the fewest in the Big Ten and tied for the fewest among Power Five teams nationally.

    For comparison, Ohio State ranks ninth in the Big Ten in rushing offense, and fourth in rushing defense. The Buckeyes’ 10 sacks allowed are the seventh-fewest in the conference.

    Still, the Buckeyes manage to throw the ball. Their 308 passing yards per game pace the Big Ten. They also have the third-best pass defense, but Penn State leads that category allowing just 121.2 passing yards per game.

    Within those stylistic battles, this game will come down to star power. There may be upwards of 20 NFL Draft picks playing in this game – and that only includes the 2023 class. Many of those players will go head-to-head with one another.

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    The player with the highest draft projection in this game is Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who some predict will be the first non-quarterback off the board. Harrison Jr. will face his toughest test of the season so far in this game in Penn State cornerback Kalen King, another projected first-round pick. King could also see time lined up opposite Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka, another projected first-round pick, and will

    If Harrison Jr. isn’t the first non-QB off the board this spring, another player coming for that distinction is Penn State tackle Olu Fashanu. Fashanu will be tested by Ohio State’s star pass-rushing duo of J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer. Both are projected top-60 picks if they declare for the draft this year (both are true juniors). Penn State also has a junior edge rusher expected to go in that range in Chop Robinson.

    The battles of potential 2023 draft picks keep going, from Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson going against this stout Penn State run defense. Buckeye tight end Cade Stover and linebacker Tommy Eichenberg are other players to watch.

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    Then, there’s the quarterbacks. Ohio State’s Kyle McCord is eligible to declare for this year’s draft, but with the depth of the class and his lack of experience (he’s a first year starter) it wouldn’t be surprising if he waits until next year to declare. Penn State’s Drew Allar is a true sophomore and not eligible until next year. Both McCord and Allar were five-star recruits, and (assuming McCord doesn’t declare this year) could be among the top quarterbacks in the Class of 2025.

    What does all this mean for Saturday? Penn State has been better against similar opponents, which is reason for optimism for those in State College. However, star power and home-field advantage trends towards the Buckeyes. This should be a close one – look to see whose big-name players make big-time plays late in the game to sway the decision.

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