#3 Ohio State hosts #7 Penn State in Top-10 Showdown Saturday at Noon; DC Jim Knowles talks Buckeyes defense

By Danielle Daniels


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Unbeaten and Top 10-ranked heavyweights Ohio State (No. 3) and Penn State (No. 7), each sporting 6-0 overall records and 3-0 marks in the Big Ten Conference East, meet in a Big Noon Kickoff on FOX Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

First and Ten

  • The game will match teams nationally ranked for a seventh consecutive game and for the 24th time in 39 meetings. This will be the first Top 10 affair since three consecutive in 2017-18-19.
  • This is the 31st consecutive year the two teams will meet on the gridiron, all since Penn State joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993.
  • This 31-year streak is Ohio State’s longest active streak of years playing one opponent with Indiana (15 consecutive years) and Michigan State (the Nov. 11 game will be 13) next.
  • The streak will end in 2025 with the Big Ten’s new Flex Protect XVIII scheduling model protecting only the annual – except for 2020 – Ohio State / Michigan game.
  • The two teams will play in 2024 in State College.
  • Ohio State fans will be asked this week to 1) arrive on campus early; 2) get into the stadium early; and 3) wear red and “Scarlet the ‘Shoe”!
  • Coach Ryan Day is 34-2 vs. B1G competition.
Jim Knowles

Jim Knowles OSU DC 10 17 2023 Penn State Week Preview Week 7.mp3

Numbers to Know
WR1: Marvin Harrison Jr. ascended to WR1 last year vs. Penn State after hauling in a career-best 10 receptions for a career-best 185 yards and 10 first downs against a talented Penn State secondary.

72-6: Ohio State is 72-6 in Big Ten Conference divisional play since 2014, which is No. 1 nationally with a .923 pct. Michigan State, Penn State (in 2016) Iowa, Purdue and Michigan twice are the losses.

45: Ohio State led Penn State, 16-14, entering the fourth quarter last year at Beaver Stadium. The teams combined for 45 points in the fourth, including a JT Tuimoloau “pick-6” for OSU’s final points.

1 and 2: Ohio State’s offense will face a severe test in a Penn State defense that is No. 1 in the nation in total (193.7) and passing defense (121.2), and No. 2 in scoring (8.0) and rushing (72.5) defense.

Ohio State/Penn State: The Series

  • Ohio State and Penn State are meeting for the 31st consecutive year and for the 39th time in a series that originated in 1912.
  • Ohio State has won six consecutive games over Penn State, 10 of the last 12 and leads the all-time series in wins, 23-14.
  • The average margin of victory during Ohio State’s current six-game winning streak in the series is eight points.
  • Saturday will be the 31st meeting between the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993.
  • In that span, Ohio State is 21-7 vs. Penn State with an 12-2 record in games played at Ohio Stadium.

Close Calls

  • If there’s one thing the Ohio State-Penn State game has annually provided, its drama.
  • In 2014, Penn State came back from a 17-0 halftime deficit and forced overtime. In the extra session, however, J.T. Barrett scored on TD runs of five and four yards and Joey Bosa had a “walk off” sack to help Ohio State win, 31-24.
  • In 2016, Penn State scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win, 24-21.
  • The following two years, in 2017 and 2018, Ohio State rallied from fourth quarter deficits of 10 points or more and won by one point each time.
  • In 2019, the Buckeyes’ 11-point win over Penn State was its smallest margin of victory over a Big Ten opponent all season.
  • Fourteen of the 39 games in the series have been decided by a touchdown or less (35 percent).

Pregame Publicity

  • For the third time since 2019, two major pregame shows will be in Columbus on Saturday morning.
  • FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff show will be set up in its usual location outside of the RPAC while ESPN’s College GameDay will be on the south lawn of St. John Arena.
  • Saturday marks the eighth time that both Big Noon Kickoff and College GameDay have originated from the same site.
  • Ohio State is 39-18 all-time in GameDay games and 12-3 when Big Noon is on location.