Gleitman’s Gameday Guide: Penn State Week

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Welcome to Gleitman’s Gameday Guide, presented by Steamboat Dry Goods, a quick-hitting resource for fans on Buckeye Scoop as they prepare for the upcoming Ohio State game and the national slate of college football each week.

This guide will include my five players who must step up each week for the Buckeyes to win, score prediction and how it plays out, and “brave and bold” predictions for the upcoming contest. Additionally, I’ll take a look at the national and Big Ten games to let you know my picks (straight up and vs. the spread), as well as who I am picking as my four teams to advance to the College Football Playoff each week.

This week, Gleitman’s Gameday Guide takes a look at the Buckeyes next game against Penn State, as well as the rest of college football in week nine.


The Buckeyes are an 18.5-point favorites in this one, but if there is any program who won’t back down from Ohio State it is James Franklin’s Penn State team. Here are five players that need to step up to ensure Ohio State advances to 7-1 and keeps their CFP hopes alive:

  • QB CJ Stroud: Penn State has a good defense, especially in the secondary. This will probably be the best defense the Buckeyes have played to date this season. Stroud has to continue to do what he has been doing and OSU should be just fine in this one.
  • FS Bryson Shaw:Jahan Dotson is a great receiver and has a knack for beating defenses over the top. The Buckeyes haven’t been too challenged with the deep ball this season, but they could be in this game. Shaw is going to have his work cut out for him a few times in this game, is my guess.
  • Interior OL: Going to list these guys again as they have struggled this year with what opposing defenses have shown them. PSU’s run defense looks suspect, especially without PJ Mustipher (injury), as they gave up 365 yards on the ground to Illinois’ backs in last week’s 20-18 loss. That performance by the Illini included a 223 yard day by Chase Brown and a 142 yard day by Josh McCray. TreVeyon Henderson is better than both of those backs and should have success even if he has to bounce everything outside—but if he can run inside as well—forget about it!
  • Pass Rushers: Name any defensive end or interior pass rusher—the bottom line is they need to get home. Look what happened last week when they did that. And with Sean Clifford not 100-percent healthy, and looking like he won’t run, there’s an opportunity to tee off and take away any explosive play possibilities from the PSU offense.
  • TE Jeremy Ruckert: I assume PSU will look to take away what they can against Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. That has been the plan for most teams which has left JSN and Ruckert open to make plays. I can see a similar scenario unfolding on Saturday night, and I think Ruckert matches up well with the PSU linebackers in coverage.


This will be covered in our weekly staff picks, but I want to provide it here as well:

I’ve gone back and forth on this one a few times just because of the recent history between these two teams, where no matter how close in talent they were or what circumstances were attached, James Franklin seems to always be able to get his team up for this one.

Dating back to 2016, Ohio State holds the series lead 4-1, but those 5 games have been decided by an average of just 5.8 points. The Buckeyes’ four wins have been by an average of just 6.5 points per game, with two of those four wins coming by just a point (2017 & 2018).

With that said, I am just not seeing it with the 2021 version of Penn State. I have thought all season long that they had a very good defense with a very mediocre offense, and that proves even more true with Sean Clifford being banged up, as we saw last week.

I would not be completely surprised if PSU comes out of the gates with energy and hangs in tough for a bit, but I think there is a talent gap, coaching/scheme gap, and execution gap when it comes to these two teams at this current time. Eventually the Buckeyes are going to break through, and I think they could blow this one open some time in the second quarter.

Vegas has this at 18.5-points on the spread with the over/under at 60. That means they see a 39/40 to 20/21 type of game here. I think the Buckeyes will be a little more dominant than that and make a statement that they are “back” for real.

Ohio State 45 Penn State 17

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While the score prediction is pretty straight forward, here are three “brave and bold” predictions each week that I’ll make about things that happen in the game:

  • In 2018, Dwayne Haskins threw for 270 yards and 3 TDs (against 1 INT), with 8 yards rushing, in his debut as the starter against Penn State. In 2019, Justin Fields went for 188 with 2 TDs through the air and another 68 on the ground for a total of 256 in his debut against PSU. I predict CJ Stroud will beat both of them, meaning he will total over 278 yards of offense and have a minimum of 3 TDs responsible for in this one.
  • On defense, I think Ohio State will turn Penn State over three times in this one—with two interceptions and one fumble forced/recovery. I am calling Denzel Burke and Ronnie Hickman for the interceptions. I think Zach Harrison causes the fumble, and as a bonus I say Hickman picks it up and takes it to the house for a score.
  • Penn State will block a punt. That’s it. That’s the prediction.


Every week I will pick every Big Ten game and a few select national games both straight up and against the spread (LW SU: 9-6; LW ATS: 5-10; TOTAL SU: 75-42; TOTAL ATS: 56-61)

  • Penn State at Ohio State (-18.5): Ohio State Straight Up & Against The Spread
  • Michigan at Michigan State (+4): Michigan SU & ATS
  • Iowa at Wisconsin (-3.5): Iowa SU & ATS
  • Rutgers at Illinois (1.5): Rutgers SU & ATS
  • Indiana at Maryland (-5.5): UMD SU & ATS
  • Minnesota at Northwestern (+7.5): Minnesota SU & NW ATS
  • Purdue at Nebraska (-7.5): Nebraska SU & ATS
  • Texas at Baylor (-3): Texas SU & ATS
  • Georgia vs. Florida (+14) in Jacksonville: UGA SU & UF ATS
  • Texas Tech at Oklahoma (-19.5): OU SU & ATS
  • Ole Miss at Auburn (-2.5): Auburn SU & ATS
  • UNC at Notre Dame (-3.5): ND SU & UNC ATS
  • Virginia at BYU (-2.5); BYU SU & ATS
  • Cincinnati at Tulane (+24.5): UC SU & ATS
  • Colorado at Oregon (-24): Oregon SU & Colorado ATS


Here are my weekly picks for the CFP (top 4 and first 2 out) every week heading into the slate of games:

  1. Georgia: Bye week and they remain at number one. (Last Week: 1)
  2. Ohio State: I’m not fully sold on OSU yet as they haven’t beaten anyone with a pulse but they have been pure dominant while others have not. Cincinnati and Oklahoma did not look great, allowing OSU to jump them right now.  (Last Week: 4)
  3. Cincinnati: Not a great looking win over Navy, but the Midshipmen do that to people. Drop one spot but still in the CFP (Last Week: 2)
  4. Oklahoma: They struggled a bunch with Kansas. KANSAS! I expect a bounce back blowout against Texas Tech this week, who just fired their coach. Win and they’re in for the Sooners.  (Last Week: 3)
  5. Alabama: They struggled a bit with Tennessee before pulling away late. I think they are one of the four best in America but I have the other four ahead of them due to resume right now.  (Last Week: 6)
  6. Michigan: Blow out win over Northwestern but this week at Michigan State tells us more about this team. For now they are in the 6 spot, with Michigan State at 7, Oregon at 8, Ole Miss at 9, and Kentucky at 10 (Notre Dame at 11 and Iowa at 12 FWIW). (Last Week: NR)

Be sure to check out the Buckeye Scoop Staff Picks feature this week to learn how you can win a prize pack giveaway from Steamboat Dry Goods by predicting the score of the Ohio State game!

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