Ohio State is getting ready to hit the road for the first time for this weekend’s game at Penn State.
Before the season this appeared to be the toughest test on the Buckeyes’ schedule, and even after an upset loss by the Lions in Bloomington, that may still be true.
PSU outgained Indiana 5.6 yards per play to 3.3, and had several opportunities to put the Hoosiers away before the dramatic final play.
While most Buckeye fans can probably rattle off their team’s win totals against Michigan over specific time spans, that may not be nearly as true for the series against the Nittany Lions.
Here are 10 of the most interesting notes on this weekend’s game. You can click here to find this week’s official game notes from Ohio State. You can view Penn State’s game notes here.
The last time Ohio State scored on its first offensive play of the game was at Penn State in 2001. Steve Bellisari connected with Michael Jenkins on a 66-yard touchdown exactly 19 years ago today (October 27, 2001). Penn State overcame a 27-9 third quarter deficit that day to pull out a 29-27 win.
The last time a Buckeye returned a punt for a touchdown in two consecutive games was 16 years ago, in a streak that started this week. Ted Ginn had a 57-yarder against Penn State on October 30, 2004, and then a 60-yarder at Michigan State on November 6.
Penn State completed seven passes against Ohio State in 2015, the fewest of any game in the James Franklin era at Penn State. Then, they completed eight passes against the Buckeyes in 2016, which ties for the second-fewest.
The Buckeyes have won at least a share of 10 Big Ten conference titles since 2000. That’s the most league championships of any Power 5 team in the nation except for Oklahoma (13). Oregon and Florida State are tied for third at seven each.
The series between the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions was fairly even for the first nine seasons Penn State was a member of the Big Ten. After Jim Tressel’s first season, OSU held a narrow 5-4 edge. Since 2001, the Buckeyes have gone 14-4 against Penn State, losing only in 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2016.
The Bucks have won 16 straight conference games against teams ranked in the AP top 25. That is the longest streak in the history of the AP poll, which goes back to 1936.
Ohio State has put up a record of 19-3 against Michigan and Penn State since the start of the 2009 season. Purdue has as many wins over the Buckeyes (3-3) during that span as the Wolverines and Nittany Lions combined.
Saturday is the 22nd anniversary of one of the most famous plays in Penn State history. LaVar Arrington’s “LaVar Leap” stopped an Illinois drive in a 27-0 Penn State win on October 31, 1998.
Ohio State has won 35 of the 37 games it has played against Big Ten East opponents since the switch to an East/West alignment before the the 2014 season. The only losses came to Michigan State (2015) and Penn State (2016).
The Buckeyes ran the ball 61 times in a 28-17 win over Penn State in 2019. JK Dobbins had 36 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns, while Justin Fields put up 68 yards on 21 rushes. The 61 total carries is the most of any team facing Penn State during the James Franklin era.