No team has come particularly close to defeating Ohio State this year, but Joel Klatt thinks he figured out how Penn State can stop the Buckeyes this Saturday.
Ahead of the huge Big Ten showdown, the Fox Sports analyst laid out a “blueprint” for beating the Buckeyes on The Joe Klatt Show. Although nobody has provided an outline this season, Klatt looked at Ohio State’s losses to Oregon and Michigan last year.
Klatt’s formula starts with dominating the ground game. The Ducks ran for 269 yards and three touchdowns in their 35-28 win over the Buckeyes, and Hassan Haskins scored five rushing touchdowns for the Wolverines last November.
In doing so, both teams “dictated the entire style of the game.”
Klatt also expressed the importance of limiting explosive plays and tackling in open space. Finally, he emphasized the need for Penn State to stymie Ohio State in the red zone.
“Penn State, by the way, did this really well last year in Columbus against the Buckeyes,” Klatt said. “In fact, Ohio State last year had six trips inside the red zone. They only scored one touchdown and kicked four field goals. Came up empty on one of their trips. So Penn State is going to have to duplicate that if they want to win this game.”
Despite not fully capitalizing on their red-zone opportunities, the Buckeyes earned a 33-24 victory over the Nittany Lions last year. With only 33 rushing yards, Penn State certainly didn’t check off that box of Klatt’s blueprint.
This year, Penn State has a more explosive rushing attack led by freshman Nicholas Singleton. The No. 13-ranked school is nevertheless a 15.5-point underdog on the road.