1.Who will play quarterback for Penn State?
True freshman Rob Bolden has started much of the season and started last week’s game against Northwestern, but was pulled after fumbling on the team’s second series. Redshirt sophomore Matt McGloin, who had previously filled in for an injured Bolden, is now listed atop the depth chart, and will start Saturday.
McGloin, who has led the team to three straight victories, including two in relief of Bolden, started slow last week against Northwestern but eventually tossed four touchdown passes to lead PSU back from a 21-0 deficit.
McGloin has seven touchdowns and one interception, but hasn’t faced an elite defense like Ohio State’s.
2. Will the Nittany Lions be able to move the ball?
The Blue and White enter the game ninth in the Big Ten in three key offensive categories: total offense, rushing yards per game and points per game. That spells doom against an OSU defense allowing just 14 points a game, good for third in the nation.
Running back Evan Royster became PSU’s all-time leading rusher two weeks ago against Michigan, but in three career games against OSU, Royster has rushed 36 times for only a 3.6-yard average.
3. Which Terrelle Pryor will show up?
As a freshman in 2008, Pryor passed for 226 yards in a defensive struggle against Penn State at Ohio Stadium. But his fumble early in the fourth quarter on a third-and-1 quarterback sneak led to what would be the deciding points in a 13-6 Nittany Lion victory.
Last season, Pryor played well in his home state of Pennsylvania, passing for two scores and running for another in a 24-7 Buckeye romp. In reference to Pryor’s fumble in 2008, Tressel said it’s not a big deal to him or Pryor anymore.
“It was a great lesson learned,” Tressel said. “We just needed a yard and he’s the first to admit he understands that and we haven’t had to harp on it.”
4. Should OSU fans expect a healthier defense?
The defense will get linebackers Ross Homan and Dorian Bell back from injury Saturday. Homan had been a favorite for first team all-Big Ten before his foot injury while Bell played mostly special teams.
Defensive backs Christian Bryant, Corey Brown, C.J. Barnett and Tyler Moeller remain out for at least the regular season and most likely the bowl game as well.
Luckily for OSU, PSU hasn’t had success throwing the ball in the Horseshoe. In eight games at Ohio Stadium since joining the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions have not thrown a touchdown pass.
5. Another November to remember for OSU?
Under Jim Tressel, the Scarlet and Gray are 26-4 in November, including 15-1 in the last 16 games. OSU hasn’t lost to a ranked team in November since a loss against Michigan on Nov. 23, 2003, nearly seven years ago.
Tressel said the key to OSU’s November success has been the players’ philosophy of sustained improvement.
“I think our guys do believe that you have to get better as the year goes on and hopefully we don’t get too high or too low,” Tressel said. “I think they’ve done a pretty good job of believing you have to keep working to get better and if you keep working to get better, you probably will.”