With so much on the line for both Ohio State and Penn State, Saturday’s game is receiving a lot of press. Most of the press is covering the match-up between Ohioan Daryll Clark and Pennsylvanian Terrell Pryor playing for schools in the opposing states. To the far from creative writers and sports analysts I suggest that maybe it is time for them to revisit what football is actually about or leave their sports writing position for something more mundane and as lifeless as their eventual product… say, gardening tools for example.
The Senior QB for the Nittany Lions is walking on a path of little notability in an effort to set some scoring records at PSU; which does deserve mentioning. It should also be pointed out that Clark has gone up against zero ranked opponents this season. The Nittany Lions lone loss was to the only team on their schedule who eventually came into the ranking picture. In that game against Iowa, Clark threw three interceptions.
What more can be said about OSU Sophomore QB Terrell Pryor than he has had major issues with developing in his role.
The real story comes with a TEAM effort of protection.
Protecting the ball, protecting the QB, pass protection, protective pads, whatever type of protection you’re into. All are key elements in determining the winner of this oh-so-important Big Ten all or nothing game.
Buckeyes team captain and clearly wise old owl Senior CB Kurt Coleman is picking up what I am putting down. “We gotta be efficient on offense, and we can't turn the ball over, and on defense we have to limit the big plays and we have to get turnovers,” Coleman said. “I think the smallest minor details determine the outcome in big-time games.”
The Big Ten ranks 1st above all other conferences in interceptions with 1.09/ game and is second to only the Sun Belt in total turnovers.
The OSU defense forced three turnovers against New Mexico State, giving them 24 turnovers created this season. That is second in the Big Ten, tied with Indiana and one behind Iowa.
A secret to the D’s success against the Lion’s O could be the zone blitz. Clark and crew have struggles with the wait and think in the past and the bigger, faster and stronger Buckeye defense would be just the team to make it effective. Clark has seven interceptions on the season including the three thrown against Iowa. Clark must protect the ball while hoping his line will protect him from OSU DE Thaddeus Gibson. His four sacks lead the team, but perhaps more importantly, Gibson also has three fumble recoveries. He always seems to be around the ball.
Last week the Buckeyes offense collected 559 yards and had seven players achieving more individual yards than the Aggies did as a team in over 45 plays. They were also playing the nation’s worst defense. This week they face the nation’s 5th ranked D.
Protecting Pryor from himself may be the solution on offense for the Bucks. Pryor has thrown 13 touchdown passes but also nine interceptions to go along with five lost fumbles. He's completed only 54.6 percent of his passes. The Nittany Lions contained his running last year in Columbus and forced him to fumble on a crucial 3rd and 1 while still leading by 3 in the 4th quarter, the key turnover of the game.
Protection means supervision or support. What does it mean in this football game? If executed, it means a victory for Ohio State.
About the Author
Written by Rebekah Edwards