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Nov. 12, 2010
University Park, Pa. - Penn State will look to maintain its momentum when it visits No. 8/7 Ohio State in a crucial Big Ten contest. The game, which will kick at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Ohio Stadium, will air on ABC (ESPN in outer markets), the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.
The border rivals are meeting for the 18th consecutive year and the visiting team has won the last three contests. The winner of the last five Penn State-Ohio State contests has won or shared the Big Ten Championship, with the Nittany Lions winning the 2005 and 2008 meetings.
ESPN's College GameDay Built by the Home Depot program, with host Chris Fowler and analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard, will originate from the Penn State-Ohio State clash. College GameDay begins every Saturday at 9 a.m. on ESPNU and moves to ESPN from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET. Nittany Lion fans in Columbus are invited to attend the program.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a thrilling 35-21 comeback win over Northwestern, as Joe Paterno became the first coach in NCAA Div. I-A (FBS) history to win 400 games. Penn State rallied from a 21-0 second quarter deficit to score 35 unanswered points, matching the largest deficit the Lions have overcome to win under the Hall of Fame coach (21-0 at Illinois in 1994). The Buckeyes were idle last week.
The Nittany Lions will be looking to improve on their 9-3 record on the road the past three seasons, including an 8-2 mark in Big Ten road games. Starting with an Oct. 20, 2007 win at Indiana, Penn State has won its last game at every opposing Big Ten stadium with the exception of Iowa (9-3 Big Ten road record since Indiana '07).
The Football Bowl Subdivision's active coaches ranking No. 1-2 in victories will square off in Columbus. In his 45th season leading the Nittany Lions' program, Paterno will bring a career record of 400-132-3 (75.0) into the contest. In his 10th season at Ohio State, and 25th year overall, Jim Tressel has 237-79-2 (70.8) mark to rank second in wins among active FBS coaches.
Penn State (6-3, 3-2) will bring a three-game winning streak into the contest, while the Buckeyes (8-1, 4-1) have pummeled Purdue (49-0) and Minnesota (52-10) since their only loss, at Wisconsin (31-18) on Oct. 16.
Ohio State leads the series, 13-12. The home team has won 12 of the 17 meetings since the Nittany Lions began Big Ten play in 1993, but the visiting team has won the last three contests. The Buckeyes won 24-7 last year in Beaver Stadium. Penn State won, 13-6, in Columbus in 2008.
The Nittany Lions have scored 109 points in their last three games (36.3 avg.), but will be facing one of the nation's premier defenses. The Ohio State defense tops the Big Ten, and is ranked in the top five nationally, in the four major statistical categories and has allowed a league-low 10 touchdowns and 122 points.
The Buckeyes are No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin (+1.44), having grabbed 15 interceptions, including a team-high three by senior cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, and recovered nine fumbles.
Led by sophomore quarterback Matt McGloin, the Nittany Lions delivered a season-high nine plays of 20 or more yards in the win over Northwestern, the third straight game in which Penn State has posted a season-high in big plays (6 vs. Minn. and 6 vs. Michigan). Penn State has a combined 21 plays of 20 yards or more in the last three games, matching its total from the first six games (total of 42 for the season).
Penn State out-scored the Wildcats 28-0 in the second half, rolling to a season-high 528 yards, gaining 268 passing yards and 260 on the ground -- 134 by senior Evan Royster and 131 by freshman Silas Redd. McGloin set career-highs with four touchdown passes, on 18 completions and 29 attempts. Derek Moye made five catches, incl. a 36-yard TD.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor keys an Ohio State offense that scores a conference-best 42 points per game. The junior has completed 67.6 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,997 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Pryor is also the team's second-leading rusher, totaling 463 yards and four touchdowns. Junior running back Dan Herron headlines the Buckeye ground game, rushing for 634 yards and 12 scores. In the passing game, Pryor has a tandem of prolific targets in receivers senior Dane Sanzenbacher (42-658-8 TDs) and junior DeVier Posey (40-601-5 TDs) at his disposal. Back-up senior running back Brandon Saine also has five receiving touchdowns.
Sophomore linebacker Michael Mauti led the Penn State defense with a career-high 11 tackles, with 3.0 TFL, in the win over Northwestern to earn Big Ten Co- Defensive Player of the Week honors. Mauti is second on the team and No. 10 in the Big Ten with 60 hits, including 5.0 TFL. Senior linebacker Chris Colasanti leads the Lions and is No. 2 in the conference with 83 stops, including 7.5 TFL. Junior safery Drew Astorino is third on the squad with 50 tackles and a team-high five pass break-ups.
Penn State and Ohio State will be in the same Big Ten division starting in 2011 and will continue to play annually. The squads next meet Nov. 19, 2011 in Columbus.
Following the Ohio State game, Penn State will meet Indiana at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. on Saturday, Nov. 20. The Nittany Lions will be playing in metropolitan Washington, D.C for the first time since 1993. The game will kick at 12:00 p.m. and air on the Big Ten Network, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.
Tickets for the Indiana game are available at www.GoPSUsports.com or by calling 814-865-5555 weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m. The Washington Redskins are donating a portion of all ticket sales for the game the Penn State's Dance Marathon.
Penn State Athletics is on Twitter (http://www.gopsusports.com/ot/twitter.html) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/pennstatenittanylions).