1. Establish Bill Belton early - Looking back at Iowa, I credit Bill Belton for a lot of Penn State's hot start. His ability to get outside and gain some signifcant yardage in the first and second quarter really opened up the passing game. Just by him gaining about five yards on a carry made it easier for the second down or third down pass. As Bill O'Brien says, NASCAR is all about momentum. Bill Belton helped create that momentum against Iowa.
As bad as Ohio State has been this year on defense, its rushing defense is actually not terrible, ranking fifth in the Big Ten (its passing defense is 11th). If Belton is able to get through the slightly-better rushing defense early, Ohio State's entire defense will collapse.
2. Contain Braxton Miller - This is as simple as it gets for the defense. Stop Braxton Miller and you probably win the game. Miller averages about 120 rushing yards per game and about 173 passing yards. One of the things he does best is scramble after the play breaks down. Penn State needs to prevent him from doing that. It needs to force him to throw incomplete passes or at the very least hold him to short gains when he scrambles. The Nittany Lions have the personnel to do this, too. Kain Colter and Nathan Scheelhaase, two of the Big Ten's other versatile quarterbacks, gained just 31 yards on 16 carries against Penn State.
3. Pray the kicking game works out - Ohio State has blocked three punts, two extra points and one field goal this season. As we know, Penn State has had special teams troubles in pretty much every aspect possible, especially with kicking. Sam Ficken's second field goal attempt last week was so low that it would have been impossible not to block it. As Bill O'Brien and many of the players have said, special teams breakdowns are huge momentum boosters for the opponent. Penn State overcame these breakdowns against Northwestern and Iowa. It will likely be tougher to do that against Ohio State.
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