Penn State were the only Big Ten team to consistently fight Ohio State in the past four years.
But 2020 can be different.
After Penn State shocked OSU with a delayed blocked field goal in 2016, he lost by one point in 2017 and 2018 and “only” by 11 in 2019 – by far the closest conference game for Ohio State last season.
And drawing too many dramatic conclusions after just one game is never a good idea, but the 2020 openings don’t necessarily suggest any other super-close game.
Ohio State QB Justin Fields could be the nation’s best quarterback not named Trevor Lawrence. Rolling 52-17 against Nebraska, the Buckeyes look like the most serious challenger to a possible CFP showdown between Alabama and Clemson.
Looking at Penn State’s mileage, one would expect the Indiana Nittany Lions to have won big. But sales, penalties, and some unfortunate late breaks resulted in Week 8’s biggest surprise instead.
PSU QB Sean Clifford not only has to have a big game – also on site due to new problems with the return depth – but also avoid sales. The Nittany Lions also cannot feed on the white out atmosphere at home as there will be no fans at Beaver Stadium due to COVID-19.
The signs point to a formidable win in Ohio, but the 2020 sample size in the Big Ten is so small that the chance of a surprise is always there. PSU star DE Shaka Toney, who had two sacks against Indiana, will be hoping he and the defenses and fields on the ground limit, forcing other horse chestnuts to pick up yards.
Penn State is better than what it showed against Indiana. But it’s probably no better than Ohio State.