Penn State's proving ground: How to watch, what to know vs. Ohio State

Frank Bodani
York Daily Record

The best part of Penn State is its pass defense.

But who throws the ball better than anyone in the country?

Ohio State.

So this may be the most important and dynamic match-up Saturday in Beaver Stadium − with the Nittany Lions a huge underdog.

Penn State ranks fifth nationally in pass efficiency defense and boasts two of the leaders in pass breakups in star cornerbacks Joey Porter, Jr. and Kalen King. Porter is a potential first-round NFL Draft pick next spring. King is one of the highest-graded defenders nationally by Pro Football Focus.

Penn State's Joey Porter Jr. motions to the Nittany Lion faithful after Minnesota is penalized for a second false start in the first quarter at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in State College.

The Lions own significant talent and depth among their corners and safeties.

But can they slow down Ohio State?

The Buckeyes own the No. 5 total offense in the country and the most scintillating quarterback-receiver combination. Junior C.J. Stroud has stunning numbers, including a 70-percent completion rate and 28 TD passes to just four interceptions.

And he throws to no better set of wideouts around.

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) catches a touchdown against Michigan State Spartans cornerback Charles Brantley (0) during second half action at Spartan Stadium Saturday, October 8, 2022.

Sophomores Marvin Harrison, Jr. and Emeka Egbuka already have combined for 79 receptions and more than 1,300 yards and a stunning 17 touchdowns.

And they are just the beginning.

Backups Cade Stover and Julian Fleming (remember him, Penn State fans?) are coming on hot now and would be starters for most everyone else. And the best, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, hasn't even been much of a factor yet. He's been bothered by a hamstring injury.

No matter, Penn State must win enough of these battles Saturday. It starts up front by finding ways to pressure and disrupt Stroud. But Porter, King and the others must be able to not only hold their own, in one-on-one match-ups, but help take the ball away.

It's difficult imagining a Penn State victory without forcing multiple turnovers.

What time does Penn State play Ohio State?

The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes will kick off at noon Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

What TV channel for Penn State vs. Ohio State?

The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports.

How can I watch Penn State vs. Ohio State online via live stream?

Check out fuboTV for a free trial.

What are the odds for Penn State vs. Ohio State? 

Ohio State is favored by 15.5 points. The over/under is 61.5 points, according to Tipico Sportsbook.  

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Game day details

TV: Gus Johnson will handle play-by-play with Joel Klatt on color commentary. Jenny Taft will report from the sideline.

Radio: WSBA 910 AM, WGLD 1440 AM

Listen online:Penn State Sports Online Audio

Weather: Sunny and a light breeze with a high temperature around 60 degrees.   

Rankings: Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) is No. 2 in both the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches and the Associated Press polls. Penn State (6-1, 3-1) is No. 13 in both.

Series: Ohio State leads, 23-14, and has won five-straight and nine of the last 10 meetings.

Record-setter: Sean Clifford is now the first Penn State quarterback to throw four touchdowns in a game five times. His big performance vs. Minnesota also gave him the school record for career completions (722), passing Trace McSorley.

Penn State head coach James Franklin smiles as he greets supporters following the Nittany Lion's 45-17 win over Minnesota at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in State College.

Penn State 

Head coach: James Franklin (73-35, 9th season at Penn State; 97-50, 12th season overall)

Last three seasons

  • 2021: 7-6 (4-5 Big Ten) 
  • 2020: 4-5 (4-5 Big Ten)
  • 2019: 11-2 (7-2 Big Ten)

2022 schedule

9/1 at Purdue, W, 35-31

9/10 OHIO UNIVERSITY, W, 46-10

9/17 at Auburn, W, 42-13


10/1 NORTHWESTERN, W, 17-7

10/15 at Michigan, L, 17-41

10/22 MINNESOTA, W, 42-17

10/29 OHIO STATE, noon

11/5 at Indiana


11/19 at Rutgers


Penn State's Mitchell Tinsley goes 20 yards to score a touchdown after Minnesota's secondary blew the coverage in the third quarter at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in State College.

Top Penn State performers

  • Jr. WR Parker Washington (30 receptions, 388 yards, 55.4 ypg., TD; 11 punt returns, 74 yards)
  • Sr. WR Mitch Tinsley (28 receptions, 340 yards, 48.6 ypg., 4 TDs)
  • Fr. RB Nick Singleton (82 carries, 561 yards, 6.8 ypc., 7 TDs; 11 kickoff returns, 210 yards, 19.1 avg.)
  • FR. RB Kaytron Allen (78 carries, 396 yards, 5.1 ypc., 4 TDs; 7 receptions, 52 yards) 
  • Sr.  QB Sean Clifford (115-of-187 passing, 61.6%, 1,445 yards, 13 TDs, 3 INTs; 32 carries, 141 yards, 4.4 ypc., 4 TDs)
  • Sr. S Ji'Ayir Brown (41 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 1.0 sack, 3 INTs, 4 QB hits, forced fumble)
  • Jr. LB Curtis Jacobs (36 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 1.0 sack, INT, fumble recovery)
  • Fr. LB Abdul Carter (31 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 1.5 sack, 2 pass breakups, forced fumble)
  • Jr. CB Joey Porter, Jr. (21 tackles, 11 pass breakups, fumble recovery)
  • So. CB Kalen King (16 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 10 pass breakups, forced fumble, fumble recovery)

More recent PSU coverage

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, center talks to quarterback C.J. Stroud during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan State, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Ohio State

Head coach: Ryan Day (41-4, 5th season at Ohio State)

Last three seasons

  • 2021 record: 11-2 (8-1 Big Ten)
  • 2020 record: 7-1 (5-0 Big Ten)
  • 2019 record: 13-1 (9-0 Big Ten)

2022 schedule

9/2 NOTRE DAME, W, 21-10 

9/10 ARKANSAS STATE, W, 45-12

9/17 TOLEDO, W, 77-21

9/24 WISCONSIN, W, 52-21

10/1 RUTGERS, W, 49-10

10/8 at Michigan State, W, 49-20 

10/22 IOWA, W, 54-10

10/29 at Penn State, noon

11/5 at Northwestern


11/19 at Maryland

11/26 MICHIGAN             

Oct 22, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Zach Harrison (9) attempts to sack Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Spencer Petras (7) during their NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Iowa Hawkeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brooke LaValley/Columbus Dispatch

Top Ohio State performers

  • So. WR Emeka Egbuka (41 receptions, 735 yards, 105 ypg., 7 TDs; 7 punt returns, 51 yards)
  • So. WR Marvin Harrison, Jr. (38 receptions, 598 yards, 85.4 ypg., 10 TDs)
  • Jr. RB Miyan Williams (74 carries, 516 yards, 7.0 ypc., 9 TDs)
  • So. RB TreVeyon Henderson (80 carries, 474 yards, 5.9 ypc., 4 TDs) 
  • Jr.  QB C.J. Stroud (133-of-190 passing, 70%, 2,023 yards, 28 TDs, 4 INTs)
  • Jr. LB Tommy Eichenberg (57 tackles, 7 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, INT, 3 QB hits)
  • Sr. LB Steele Chambers (35 tackles, 4.0 TFLs, 1.0 sack, INT)
  • Sr. DT Mike Hall, Jr. (15 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, fumble recovery)
  • Sr. DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste (13 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 3.0 sacks, forced fumble)
  • Sr. DE Zach Harrison (10 tackles, 2.0 TFLs, 1.0 sack, 2 pass breakups, 4 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles)

Frank Bodani covers Penn State football for the York Daily Record and USA Today Network. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @YDRPennState.