4-Down Territory: Halloween Nights, Big 10 Frights, Southern Fights & Ultimate PSU Season Rolls On
1st Down: Big Ten Frights: #17 Indiana at Rutgers: The only battle of Big Ten unbeatens in week two –if that ain’t 2020. Both teams earned their underdog wins by playing solid defense and turning turnovers into points. Keep an eye on Hoosier LB Micah McFadden, maybe the best player in their win over Penn State. Rutgers has improved their pass rush and at quarterback....Michigan State at #13 Michigan: Michigan’s offense was one of the real surprises of the first week in the Big Ten. If they maintain that same level for seven more weeks they are a scary contender. As for Michigan State their 7 turnovers last week were the nail in the coffin. Against the Wolverines ball control will be vital……#9 Wisconsin at Nebraska: Covid-19 claims its first Big Ten game and given the surges in cases across the Midwest it may not be the last. The "no contest" raises more questions about what comes next.
2nd Down: Southern Fights: Arkansas at #8 Texas A&M: The Razorbacks are a surprising 2-2 this season and this will be the 4th different ranked team they've played in five games. To win they will need to do a better job scoring points on offense. On defense turnovers have been key but don't expect A&M to comply. For A&M this is a must-win for a number of reasons. A loss here would be a big setback in both the perception of the program’s long-term trajectory and in the short-term expectations fans had for this year…..Mississippi State at #2 Alabama: Mississippi State’s defense will provide another test for Alabama’s offense, but if there is a class Valedictorian among this year’s college offenses Alabama is it……LSU at Auburn: One oddity about the conference -only schedules is that a 3-2 Auburn team is unranked while a 5-0 Coastal Carolina is ranked. That said, Auburn needs a big game from quarterback Bo Nix. In three wins he's thrown zero INTs while in the two losses his completion percentage has dropped into the low fifties and he's thrown 4 INTs......Texas at #6 Oklahoma State: For the Longhorns to get back in Big 12 contention they will need to win out. Heading to Stillwater will be no easy feat. Oklahoma State’s offense looks to feast on what has been a forgiving Longhorn defense.
3rd Down: Games in Other Haunts: Boston College at #1 Clemson: BC’s defense has been solid this year, but Clemson’s offense has been exceptional.....BUT (and this is a HUGE BUT) Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is now out with Covid. Expect RB Travis Etienne to carry the ball more into the teeth of a defense that will force the new Clemson QB to beat them throwing the ball. Clemson LB James Skalski is out with an injury for this game and that is another big loss for the Tigers….Memphis at #7 Cincinnati: Now that the Bearcats vanquished SMU let the Cincinnati college football speculation begin. The Bearcats have a lot of business to finish before they can even entertain those thoughts and it begins with a Memphis offense that can score on anyone……..#15 UNC at UVA: Surprising stat for this one: In eleven years at UNC Mack Brown is 3-8 against UVA and has never beaten Virginia in Charlottesville.
4th Down: Halloween Night White Out Game: #3 Ohio State at #18 Penn State: The past 4 years against Ohio State, Penn State's quarterbacks have accounted for 62% of the Penn State rushing yards (66% if you eliminate sacks). OSU’s defensive scheme is vulnerable to running QBs as Nebraska showed last week. This is one of the younger OSU teams in recent memory—young but certainly talented. After one game it remains to be seen if the pass rush and secondary will be what Buckeye faithful are used to. On offense the RB positions for both teams are question marks. The offensive lines are both solid. The biggest difference may be OSU QB Justin Fields and the OSU WR corps which is deeper and more talented than almost anyone else’s in the country. Last year three Buckeye turnovers helped Penn State threaten late. If OSU ends every drive with their kicker or punter on the field they should be fine in a silent White Out at PSU. Warning: For those viewers in the battleground states of PA on OH expect to see plenty of political ads during this one.
Ultimate PSU Season Rolls On: For those just joining us--this began before the Big Ten decided to play this fall as a way to fill the football void for PSU fans....and we are determined to finish what we started with the Best Week 8 win from 1966-2019. This one would surprise a lot of people but for those who know the program’s history this was one of the bigger wins in the program’s history. It pushed Penn State and Joe Paterno onto the national stage.