the

How can Penn State beat No. 3 Ohio State? Predictions, analysis, more: Blue White Breakdown

all right

another edition of the blue white

breakdown penn live's new

penn state football podcast i should say

primarily uh football podcast because we

did talk a little basketball last week

it is thursday morning i'm bob flounders

joined

by greg pickle we're hoping to hear from

dave jones

who's supposed to be a regular part of

our thursday podcast

you never know with dave greg so we're

gonna we're gonna proceed on and

hopefully we'll hear from him in a

couple of minutes but greg

uh i think both you and i didn't really

expect to be talking about 0-1 penn

state hosting

1-0 ohio state uh it is what it is

they've had every chance in the world to

beat indiana last week they didn't but

let's look ahead

the buckeyes double-digit favorites

penn state is short-handed um we've

talked we had a chance earlier this week

if the fans didn't

uh have a chance to uh check it out we

did a crossover podcast

uh with nathan baird and doug lamarese

of cleveland.com

a couple days ago please check that out

i thought there was lots of good

information greg

from uh the ohio state uh football guys

about what they think about penn state

and kind of how they see the game

but as we sit about you know 48 hours uh

from the game you and i are going to be

going up

uh just your thoughts you know 48 hours

out about maybe the challenge that penn

state's facing

well you know i think by the time this

goes live i'll have a post up bob it's

kind of the three things i heard this

week that penn state players and coaches

all said had to happen for penn state to

even have a chance to hang in this game

and the first the first two are obvious

and that's

you can't turn the ball over three times

including two

terrible interceptions and one muff punt

that didn't you know that was just

seemed like miscommunication and then oh

i'm sorry penn state got that back i'm

thinking the will levis fumble

on the seven yard line um was the third

turnover but

still the punt incident worked in penn

state's favor last week it's not always

going to moving forward

they are do some fumble luck probably

but at any rate uh the second one was

penalties you know james franklin after

the game bob

as you and i heard was very quick to

point out how uncharacteristic it was of

penn state to have 10 penalties and look

there's a lot of people i've got a lot

of emails from people who said that the

face mask was phantom and probably

it looked like it was um that pat friar

offensive pass interference was a little

bit touchy

um which it was close i mean i think by

the rule it was a foul i mean i but you

don't see it called

very often when it really wasn't uh

blatant i don't think

and then obviously the jesse look at the

targeting which james franklin was

pretty adamant that

it's not that he disagreed with the call

he just doesn't know what more the guy

can do in that situation he of course

will miss luquetta the first half of the

ohio state game so they got to get rid

of those two things

and then explosive plays we heard a lot

about that and

they think they 16 is what joe moore had

wanted 16 percent of the snaps to be

explosive plays

penn state had 12 and a half percent

against indiana

so they were obviously a bit off on

where they wanted to be

i guess i'll throw it back to you with

this question bob and you look at this

ohio state team they obviously can make

explosive plays

do you feel confident in penn state's

ability to make those this week

and if so who's going to make them yeah

so let's just clarify explosive plays

because everyone's got a different

a different definition i believe the

penn state definition of explosive plays

are

runs or passes of 15 yards or more 12 or

more on the runs and 15 on the passes

yeah i mean to me uh i consider

explosive plays to be chunk plays

and to me greg they are runs or passes

of 20 or more yards but

it depends on your interpretation um

what what i did notice is it just seems

like

and to be fair to penn state you know

they don't have journey ground um they

don't have noah kane

they're replacing kj hamler you know

they are not necessarily well equipped

to be their best version of themselves

when it comes to explosive plays

and really greg other than that 60-yard

throw

uh from sean clifford to jahan dawson

late in uh

regulation against indiana it was a

struggle for them

to get in the uh explosive play range

and i don't know i don't know how you

get better at that when you're facing an

ohio state team that is better

defensively and is

definitely faster but we'll see we'll

see it was only week one they hadn't

played in 10 months

and maybe they'll be a little bit

tighter things will go their way

um i do feel pretty strongly that ohio

state's going to be able to generate

some explosive plays even though penn

state played very well greg defensively

uh save her latent uh regulation and

late

you know in overtime 211 total yards to

hold an indiana team to that i think was

pretty impressive

um but really um

you you and i were both at the game last

year uh at the horseshoe

and james franklin said it right after

the game penn state defensively fought

about as hard as they could

to stay in that game they still gave up

28 points

they forced a lot of turnovers had they

not done that greg they probably would

have given up

in the 40s but really if penn state

cannot get a handle on justin field's

ability

to kind of run the ball or extend the

play

it's going to put a lot of stress on the

back end of that defense

and you just wonder greg with the

linebacker core the way that it is

right now with no michael parsons

because of the opt out you know

jessie luquette in the first half you

know can they come up with a scheme

to kind of limit justin king or not

justin k justin fields excuse me

and force him maybe to try and make

plays from the pocket

yeah they're gonna have to bob and i

think we didn't see i don't think we saw

any of keith nellis last week or if we

did it was very

very little i don't think he had a snap

though sometimes hard to tell

on tv who was in the slot but yeah i

mean i think

if you are talking about getting the

handle on this offense i think he's one

easy way to go about that

get him some run get him in the game

assuming he's not hurt or anything

um and see what he can do see if he can

make a play we saw him make

some very good plays on the ball last

year

we thought he would be a starter joey

porter jr has come in and kind of wowed

everybody and that's sort of taken over

and taken over that starting job

opposite tree castro fields but

i don't think that means keaton ellis

has completely lost a role on this team

and

i won't be surprised if we see more him

as a slot corner as a cover corner this

week when penn state goes to the 4-2-5

so that is one way that i think this

defense could look different compared to

what it was at indiana but there's no

question that

penn state earned some breaks off of bad

throws by michael penick's junior or

drops by indiana receivers they had guys

open to convert the ball in the second

half and he just missed him so

ohio state and justin fields i don't

think will miss

those throws but you never know if jason

always that defensive line can get some

more pressure

keep him in the pocket and contain him

you know the biggest problem penn

staters aren't into with this past

defense a lot of the time is that

they get into these scramble drills

where guys have too much time to cover

downfield

and they're two the guys on the other

side are just too elite and have too

much

knowledge of where to go the defender

can't have and they get

end up in open space and moving the

football down the field so

we'll see obviously i think penn state

liked what it did on defense i do think

it could have probably given up some

more yards had indiana play a little bit

better but

there was also some pass rushers that

caused those throws to be poor so

time will tell saturday night but yeah

if you're penn state i think you have to

weather the first half storm and hope

that

you know lance dixon and brandon smith

two guys who were considered elite

recruits

can go out and make an impact right off

the jump you know brandon smith

is a guy that i played okay i thought

but he didn't show up really on the stat

sheet lance dixon

uh kind of the same thing so you know

when you recruit well

and you and you feel good about a

position group sometimes it doesn't work

out because the injury like we saw with

journey brown and noah kane they went

from one of the strongest running back

rooms in the country to

a group that is still very good but not

quite what they were expecting it to be

and with the linebackers you know you

lose luchetta but you recruit it very

well and now you need those guys to step

up and

you know i know you listen to james

franklin wednesday night and he was

talking about

i believe this was in response to a

jason ahway question but

that you know you have to have patience

and guys take time to mature and all

that and no disagreement here

but at some point your guys need to be

the guys and go out and make the plays

you recruited them to make

and penn state will have a chance to

share that with those two guys and some

other guys this weekend

yeah what did you think greg now we

didn't go to bloomington dave jones was

there he got a better look at it than we

did but from

from your vantage point what did you see

from devon

ford um in his first heavy look

as a penn state running back i think he

had about 20 carries

um you know noah kane went out of the

game

very early uh he looked good early but

he's out for the year lower leg

injury um it's gonna have to be at least

for the time being until the freshman

get up to speed on all the facets that

go with playing running back craig

what uh what did you see from devon ford

in the first game and do you expect him

to take a jump forward against a tougher

defense

yeah i mean i think that one of the

things we saw with him is is

you can't run him the same way you run

journey brown and noah kane he's a

different back for a reason

and i think kirk soraka is going to have

a new attack

with this team with him this weekend and

they were kind of stuck where you know

you knew they weren't going to have

journey brown but they expected to have

noah kane

and they had a game plan set up for noah

and i think that

they were hoping to mix devin ford in

every now and again as a change of pace

guy but they did not have a plan for him

to be the feature back and so

i'd like some of what he did you know

there were times when especially in

short yardage that the defense

i'm sorry the offensive line just didn't

get enough push up front on third and

two third and one fourth and short you

know

and so he hit looked for a hole to hit

but there was just nothing there i mean

he was met pretty much either at the

line of scrimmage or a yard in the

backfield so

there's a lot of talent there i would

like to see penn state get kevon lee

more involved

in those short yardage situations he's a

guy that you know they were trying to

run

you know ford's what about 200 pounds

maybe

like 195 200 and they were running plays

that were drew up for noah kane who's at

226.

well guess who's guess who's in that 226

ballpark bob

lee is so i think you'll see more of him

in those situations and

that will help get devin ford into more

ideal situations so

i'm not ready to punt on this offense

yet i know a lot of people were

frustrated with

kirk soraka's play calling at times and

the execution at times and sean

clifford's play at times i get all that

at 500 yards offense man

right and you know they connect on one

or two of those uh plays

either in the short yardage or down the

field and it's a different conversation

that we're having

heading into ohio state week so let's

give it one more week penn state fans i

know you don't want to but give it at

least one more week let this guy

work his system i think you're going to

see more drives like penn state's

opening one against indiana this week

than maybe some of what we saw after

that which was disjointed and

you could just tell and you know i don't

know if we're giving enough

uh credence to the idea that penn state

was down it's basically two starting

running backs

before the game was three minutes old so

that's going to make a difference as

well but at the same time bob the

receivers

it's a big week for them you know cam

sullivan brown not a coveted absence

according to james franklin but

uh he they you know want to see what

they get out of him it hasn't been much

so far

you know daniel george didn't take a

step forward it's going to be

penn state's going to win this game i

think you need at least a touchdown a

piece from the two freshmen keandre

lambert smith and parker washington

all right all right that's almost like a

bold prediction pickle so calm it down a

little bit just calm it down

we're about halfway through the blue

white breakdown greg pickle and bob

flounders uh i have

a couple of very important questions for

you regarding this game before i get to

them though greg

just to remind our audience where they

can find us um how they can listen to us

um and uh also the fact that we're doing

this

every day it's not just me and you and i

dave jones is contributing as well

as is dustin hockett smith it's really

seven days a week now

we're trying to cover all the bases on

it on a daily basis but greg where the

what's the best place maybe to kind of

uh listen to

and view uh our podcasts yes the blue

white breakdown from penn live and you

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tuesday thursday and after each penn

state game from bob and i so

well i got a question to you to roll

things forward

i can't wait let's go did you get the

sense listening to doug and nate talk on

tuesday that

maybe ohio state's defensive line isn't

as menacing as it once was

did you get that feeling it sounded to

me like maybe

they're in a place where they've

recruited that position extremely well

but perhaps they don't know if they have

the horses at that spot yet like they

have in the past

or did i read that wrong i don't think

you're reading it wrong but i would just

say this you know if if i was the ohio

state coaching staff greg

and i knew i had penn state in week two

no i'm not trying to disrespect nebraska

greg

because i actually grew up as a nebraska

fan but i don't know that i would have

ohio state's defense

ready to bear its fangs against nebraska

i mean i think they're just

trying to i mean maybe play a lot of

guys maybe keep it very simple

uh get them some experience get them

comfortable uh in their jobs

because i don't know how much they were

really gonna need that defense

against uh the cornhuskers they're gonna

need him

against ohio state but i definitely did

get that sense

from doug and nathan that maybe they

were not it wasn't exactly their a

effort and you know maybe that's just a

that could just be a coaching philosophy

they got a new defensive coordinator

but they're definitely breaking in some

new players they hadn't played in a

while

um so we're gonna i think you're gonna

know

early in the second quarter whether or

not the ohio state defense is going to

be as good

as people think it's going to be they do

have a lot of talent they've clearly

recruited

uh very well they certainly are not

lacking for four and five stars but

i i think that's a fair question from

you it was a good observation

i bet you both dug and nathan would say

they were

they were not maybe not surprised but i

do think that they thought they were

expecting a little bit more i just think

that if you're going to see it you're

going to see it

this week greg let's just talk you

hear it a lot like you hear it from

james franklin

he talked about it tuesday i think you

hear about it a little bit from the

players

the sense that hey we're penn state we

play

ohio state tougher than anyone we've

played in the toughest

of anyone in the big ten in recent years

we could have easily beaten them

a couple more times greg it's a new year

it's a different year does that in your

mind have

any bearing on saturday night's outcome

it's one thing to be a confident team

but after a couple series doesn't that

kind of go out the window just depending

upon the task at hand

yeah i think it's almost completely

irrelevant i mean maybe it gives them a

little bit of confidence but i i feel

like they've been a confident team for

the most part since james franklin got

here and really since 2016 when they

first beat ohio state it took

took things to a level confidence wise

that we had not seen before

with this penn state program in the

first couple years of the james franklin

era so

i mean it's great to be close to ohio

state and be competitive with ohio state

i mean

golf claps for that i guess but the

players and the coaches on this team

they don't want it and sean clifford

said it yesterday he's like

i didn't come here to hang with ohio

state i came here to beat ohio state

which is the mindset that he should have

number one and number two i think it

speaks to the fact that

it's great that you hang in there tough

with these guys and that you

are giving them maybe the best game that

they see all year

but i just don't know how much of a

difference it makes how much of a

difference it makes

especially in this year i mean they have

some guys starting that

played minor or no roles against those

ohio state game you know in those ohio

state games in years past

they have some guys who are working you

know on offense in particular in a brand

new system that ohio state has not seen

before

and that penn state has not taken

against ohio state now kirk sharaka has

some

confidence because i believe the gophers

in years past have moved the ball on

ohio state some i could be wrong

but you know i think that it it's great

again it's great that you can say that

you've been in it with them

in over the years that's wonderful but

to settle for that is

not what james not who james franklin is

not who the players and coaches in this

program

are and so i think it's a fair talking

point

this week but at the ultimately i think

sean clifford's nail on the head which

is that you know it's great that we've

been competitive but

we we came here to win this game and so

penn state gets it at home

which has obviously been better for them

than on the road but

it's going to be a significant challenge

regardless there's a reason ohio state's

what a 12

and a half point favorite i believe you

know penn state's been a double-digit

dog to them

multiple times this decade and some

games you know they've typically

fared better than the point spread

indicates they would

and i think that could be the case this

week but there's a lot of questions that

were not necessarily answered at in

bloomington last week

that they're going to have to have

better solutions for this week to not

only stay in this game but even have a

chance to win

yeah um i'm going to piggyback on that

then greg um

you know i know that a lot of people

have written about it this week and a

lot i think a lot of people

are thinking this as well you know it's

one thing it's one thing

to play penn state at beaver stadium

when there's a white out

and when there's a hundred and ten

thousand people and it's so loud you can

if you're an offensive player you can't

hear anything and you get into this

you you're scrapped you're snapping the

ball from the line of scrimmage in the

student section and

it's really tough to audible you know

there's false starts there's delays of

games it's tough to communicate

that's one thing and that's a tough that

is a tough environment

people think it might be the toughest

environment in college football

greg when there is no noise and it's not

going to be

really a challenge i think to

communicate

um and there's no white out i mean how

much

how much is penn state going to miss

that against the team that

has has the athletes that ohio state's

us because it has to

it has to have a significant impact on

the game yeah

i think the point spread tells you all

you need to know don't you think this is

the touchdown point spread if this is a

white out week

yeah i would say a little bit more yeah

um

and yeah and greg right away i think the

line opened at eight and it

shot up it moved like four points

immediately

and it's kind of hovering at 12 12 and a

half 11 and a half but

i mean you know it is it is a strength

that penn state

uh has is the white out and the crowd it

is an advantage

um it's it does impact the other team um

i know ohio state's always embraced that

when they had urban meyer he talked

about

loving that atmosphere but it takes a

while to settle in it

it just does and i know penn state did

play

ohio state very tough in 2017 on the

road without the white out

in the horseshoe and they could have

easily won that game but i just think

you're already without micah parsons

you're already without journey brown

you're already without noah kane now you

don't even have the crowd

on your side if you want to make the

list of pros and cons for penn state

uh to win this game greg those are four

those are four

really big pros those and they're not

you take those away

um and ohio state's not really isn't

really missing much i mean there's some

question whether crystal lava the

wideout

is going to play and if they don't have

him that's certainly going to help penn

state

but man it just is it is you know i was

i was just you know when

when we were talking about this game

before the pandemic started maybe in

january

the match up you know what it was going

to look like with penn state at full

strength

ohio state having to come in you know to

beaver stadium

what you know what was that going to be

it was going to it was shaping up to be

just a phenomenal game

and it still might be that way greg but

penn state has is going to really have

to

adjust on the fly it's unfortunate but

you there's no getting around the fact

that they are short-handed

and ohio state is in i think in a much

more favorable situation right now

yeah yeah i don't know how you could

view it any other way i mean they get

sean wade and wyatt davis back

from opting out penn state loses parsons

to an opt out now they lose a starting

linebacker who's replacing him luketa

for a half

they lose journey brown to well you know

i i'm i guess he's not going to play

this week i don't know that whole it

continues to be bizarre where

it's uh you know well he's his medical

condition and he could come back and we

don't know when he's going to come back

i mean

i'm assuming he's out until we hear any

otherwise but

wouldn't it be very james franklin like

to just suit him up

on saturday bob out of the blue i don't

think it's going to happen but i'll

throw things out there just for the heck

of it because he hasn't said he's not

going to play so

i guess there's that but yeah you lose

brown you lose kane i mean

yeah there's no question that ohio state

got the better of the

pandemic roster shakeout there's just no

question um

so yeah they come in in better shape and

then a little bit better form than i

think penn state is there's no argument

to be made there

and so the lions are gonna have to again

clean up some of the major mistakes they

made in indiana

play better in all three phases special

teams probably the biggest one i mean

you know there's no blake gilligan to

save seven point you know five points

like he did against ohio state you know

back in uh

back in 16. so it's uh it's going to be

a gut check game for penn state there's

no doubt we'll find out where they're at

bob

i think we'll know much more about where

this team can go after this game i know

that's a small branch to walk out on

but uh we'll know about where things go

after this

and i don't think you're going to find

too many people picking penn state to

win but i think you'll find a lot of

them

inside the number well greg then let's

get let's not

let's not dance around it you teed me up

um

we got a couple minutes left here on the

penn state uh blue white breakdown it's

going to be me

and you giving our picks i know there's

some picks on penn live already i

believe there are or there will be very

soon depending on when you

listen to this how do you see the game

give me like

one thing that might swing it the way

you see it

yeah i think that we've seen ohio state

even when penn state has a lead in the

second half or it's close in the second

half

they find a way to put a game away or

come back and then put a game away

penn state really has not been able to

do that against a lot of teams

indiana now included in that mix so i

think the lions

will give ohio state a game i do we'll

see you and i will be there from beaver

stadium to see

all the action unfold and i guess my

biggest concern is that

i don't see where penn state's explosive

plays are going to come from on offense

they stay in this game

and i'm not confident in them being able

to corral justin fields for a full four

quarters so put those two things

together i think like i said that

penn state stays inside the number but i

just can't see them pulling this game

out i believe i had it 30 to 24

ohio state in that ballpark there's

definitely gonna be some points on the

board i just don't see penn state

scoring

enough of them to uh 34-28 i had it bob

i just don't

see penn state scoring enough for them

and getting enough stops to win

yeah um the the points you made about

uh the defense and justin fields

uh are i think that is probably the

thing i would watch the most i i just

think the line penn state's linebacker

group is going to have some issues there

there the scenario that maybe they they

do

corral fields or they make life a little

bit miserable for

for them it's gonna have to be the

defensive ends playing

out of their minds penn state's got

three really good ones

shaka tony jason away and also adisa

isak

they all as the indian i thought as the

indiana game went on they

all i thought played better and better

and better

even though jason didn't have a lot of

stats he was in the backfield

a lot that the indiana offense uh

offensive line really struggled to

handle him

chaka tony came alive late in that

fourth quarter had

put up some big numbers adisa isaac

nearly had that sack i think in overtime

i mean those guys have to get some

pressure on fields but they also have to

make make sure he doesn't

you know maybe slip inside them break

contain they're gonna have to play

really well i think it's a huge key the

other thing is

i i have my doubts about penn state's

wide out group getting separation

against the ohio state corners um and if

you're gonna score points against ohio

state they're gonna have to make some

plays

in the pass game uh it's it's a tall

task i know you picked it close i'm not

going to pick it close

i uh i i'm going to trust the source i

talked to this week who kind of sees it

the same way that i do

um it's they played them so tough and so

close the last couple of years

um i don't think i just i just think for

all the things i talked about with the

running backs and no micah

no no whiteout no crowd i'm gonna i'm

gonna say

i'm gonna say 4217 ohio state and i i

just think that penn state can

can rebound after this game and they

they made me look dumb before

but i i i just think the combination of

what ohio state has in fields and some

of those skill players

and what penn state is missing greg i

think this time

this year in this environment i think it

catches up to penn state

and they're just gonna i see them really

having a hard time

as the game goes on trying to match ohio

state play for play

but you might be right you're usually

right i'm usually wrong i have it 42-17

and uh i think it could be a pretty long

second half of penn state

where are we out on the clock do we have

a quick time time for a quick dave jones

story or no

uh well it's we're at 26 minutes so if

it's a quick one

dave as everyone knows his season

predictions we missed dave on this

podcast today but he picked penn state

to lose in indiana and then win this

game

called me around noon on wednesday and

was debating whether or not he was going

to go back on that pick after watching

oh he called nature he called me too the

flip-flopper

he ended up picking penn state anyway

26-24

he he has he yeah i'm gonna i'm gonna

start recording my conversations with

dave jones off

so he can he can't claim one way or the

other but

he is the world's greatest flip-flopper

if you guys don't know it and also greg

even though he's not with us

i just want to give a shout out to dave

it was

national black cat day uh on tuesday

and uh i know that's a big day to dave

he's he's experienced a lot of them

we're thinking of him

uh may he have many more but yes so he's

got penn state winning

26-24 i'll tell you what if he hits the

if he hits the back-to-back upset

parlay indiana and penn state i will tip

my cap to him i don't like to do it but

that would be

a pretty pretty uh gutsy call on his

part

hopefully we'll get a chance to talk to

him soon