If you had told me a year ago that Ohio State vs. Penn State be coached by someone other than Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno, I probably would have laughed in your face.
Now, that's just something that we all have to get used to as the Buckeyes prepare to take on the Nittany Lions following a very disappointing overtime loss to the Purdue Boilermakers.
On the bright side for Ohio State, they will get a boost from wide receiver DeVier Posey who has been suspended all season up to this point. Posey is a big wide receiver who has 15 touchdowns over the last two seasons, and is undoubtedly one of the more dynamic playmakers on the Ohio State roster.
When the Buckeyes started their big three game winning streak against Illinois, they got a huge boost from the return of suspended running back Dan Herron. Herron was not impressive in the team's loss to Purdue, averaging less than four yards per carry and not reaching the 100 yard mark for the first time this season.
This is a game where the Buckeyes are going to need those two seniors to really step up their game. Quarterback Braxton Miller is really improving as a player, and that was evident on the stat sheet against Purdue where he threw two touchdowns and ran for another, but accuracy is still an issue.
Miller had to attempt a season high 18 passes against Purdue, and that is something the Buckeyes would like to veer away from. Now, they may be able to open up the vertical passing game a little bit more with Posey in the fold, because he can stretch the field and make plays after the catch.
This is a huge game for both teams because a loss basically takes the Buckeyes out of the Big Ten championship race, and a win for Penn State would mean they are guaranteed a share of the Leaders' division title.
One thing that Ohio State is looking to make sure of is that the fans don't heckle the innocent players who are traveling to their stadium to play a football game, and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith gave this message to the fans:
"We’re asking all of our Buckeye fans who’ll be here this weekend to continue to show the sportsmanship and class they represent as we welcome our visitors from Penn State," Smith said.
This is Penn State's first road game since Joe Paterno left, and their defense needs to be prepared for the rushing attack of Ohio State. The Buckeyes have so many weapons in terms of the running game that they can outlast Penn State if they continue to pound the ball, so the big men in the middle for Penn State need to really force the Buckeyes to throw early and often.
Enter Posey, who is making his season debut. If Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still and his crew up front can force the Buckeyes into passing the ball, it could get interesting and fast. Posey will be going up against a very good cornerback in D'Anton Lynn who is one of the best in the Big Ten in his first game, not exactly the same as if he were to debut in a normal season-opener like Ohio or something like that.
I expect Posey will be rusty, but in this offense, really anything goes. If Posey can break free up the seam on a double move, it could prove to be the difference in this big matchup.