Colin: The youngest team in the country has already had two road night wins against highly ranked opponents. How impressed should we be?
Baver: I think you really have to be impressed with the heart that this young team showed in the 2nd half and OT on a night when Ohio State clearly didn’t have its best stuff in Madison. It was Wisconsin’s night…and Ohio State took it from them. As for the way the Bucks jumped on Oklahoma from the get-go and never looked back, that was certainly impressive too. Young teams aren’t supposed to do this.
Colin: Bucky Badger took advantage of their bye week and really seemed to have our young D confused in the 1st half. What was working for them and should we expect Penn State to try something similar?
Baver: The jet sweep, that’s for sure. The Buckeye corners seemed to react slowly to the play, even after Wisconsin had run it several times. One tweet I saw summed it up: “Jazz Peavy jet sweep, rinse, repeat.” Peavy ran 6 jet sweeps for 70 yards. It wasn’t until the 5th time the Badgers ran it that Ohio State stopped it for shorter than an 8-yard gain. Wisconsin also hit their TE Troy Fumagalli 7 times for 80+ yards in total. Thankfully, Penn State has no one to run the jet sweep like Peavy and PSU’s TE Mike Gesicki has modest numbers so far this season.
Colin: At any point in the game did you think we were going to lose?
Baver: Yes…at halftime, I thought we were probably staring at a loss. And when Wisconsin had the 11-play, 81-yard drive to take back the lead in the middle of the fourth quarter, I had my doubts.
Colin: Other than JT having ice water in his veins, our offense still seems to struggle with an identity. What is our offensive identity?
Baver: I agree. For the most part, the read option is still Ohio State’s identity, and JT runs it very well. But, as everyone has been saying….at some point, this offense is going to have to throw the ball down field. And I wouldn’t expect to see much down field passing in Happy Valley with the forecast calling for ridiculous winds.
Colin: Penn State took our 2014 National Championship team to OT last trip to Happy Valley. Could we be forgetting how tough it is to play there at night?
Baver: I think the Bucks got a pretty good wakeup call at Camp Randall, not to mention the wakeup call they got in Happy Valley in 2014. So, no…I don’t think so.
Colin: You are heading to the game. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about attending a game at Happy Valley?
Baver: How ‘bout just some good and some bad?
Even though that program has been down, the atmosphere in that stadium is big time. The white out, the noise level, the intensity….the place rocks. In 2014, when PSU had the pick-6 early in the 2nd half that turned the game around, the place was insane….and it was insane/crazy until the final play when Bosa blew up the PSU O-lineman and Christian Hackenberg simultaneously. It’s what college football is all about.
On the flip side, while we were treated very well in State College by almost all of the Penn State fans in 2014…2005 was brutal. Ohio State was of course a few years removed from a Nat’L Title and a group of kids were relentless in harassing us all day long. One climbed up on a Buckeye fan’s RV trying to tear down his Buckeye flag. That was also the year the OSU band had bags full of urine thrown at them. It was pretty hardcore.
Colin: I know it still feels like the season has only started, but are there any rumblings about Buckeyes who might already be thinking about playing in the NFL next year?
Baver: Word on the street is that everyone that you think might consider leaving early is considering leaving early….and everyone that you wouldn’t think could make the early jump is considering making the early jump. My best guess at handicapping the OSU underclassmen that are draft eligible, based on what I am hearing…
Likelihood of leaving after the season:
Malik Hooker: 75% (draft eligible sophomore)
Raekwon McMillan: 60%
Marshon Lattimore: 50% (draft eligible sophomore)
Gareon Conley: 50%
JT Barrett: 40%
Curtis Samuel: 35%
Sam Hubbard: 35% (draft eligible sophomore)
Jamarco Jones: 25%
Billy Price: 15%
Tyquan Lewis: 15%
Noah Brown: 15%
Chris Worley: 10%
Michael Hill: 10%
Marcus Baugh: 10%
Colin: Give us an update on your picks so far and other games you will be keeping an eye on this weekend?
Baver: 10-12 against the spread. I saw that the great Phil Steele went 0-9 against the spread last week…so I am feeling a little better about my numbers. Too many points in Happy Valley. The Nits have a bye and the Bucks are of course off the emotional/physical game at Camp Randall. I like the Bucks 28-14, and the Nits +19 ½ is a good play. I like TCU catching 6 on the road at West by God. The ‘Eers luck finally runs out against a more talented TCU team that will thrive on the underdog role. And, okay, I’ll bite…I like the Aggies getting 18 at Alabama. Bama is the best team in the land and if they play their game, they will smack A&M….but Bama is prime for a letdown, and 18 is a lot of points.