Franklin Talks Late Red Zone Series Against Ohio State

J.T. Barrett is back in the Heisman Trophy mix after leading the comeback party against Penn State

Ohio State, the team that's at No. 6, defeated Rutgers, Nebraska, and Maryland - Penn State's final three opponents - by a combined total of 174-28. You have Connor McGovern, who is a true sophomore, starting at the center position.

ON THE LINE: The victor of this game receives the Land Grant Trophy. The Spartans had won the previous three meetings.

While Penn State will need a lot of help to jump back into the playoff discussion, there are winnable games left on the schedule against solid competition that could help strengthen the Lions' resume for the committee.

In the front, Ohio State lines up 2016 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the year Tyquan Lewis, Bednarik Award semifinalist Nick Bosa, Sam Hubbard, Jalyn Holmes, and Dre'Mont Jones.

Northwestern's Justin Jackson showed Michigan State's defense the problems a versatile running back can create. The schools were the prototypes after which the land-grant system was patterned.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio doesn't want to get into a shootout with a team averaging 39.8 points a game. Penn State's Saquon Barkley is that good - and that much more risky and elusive - both on the ground and as a pass catcher.

Saturday's game will be the only time Daniels and Welsh will likely face the Buckeyes during their college careers. Up double-digits in the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions were unable to hold off the furious comeback of the Buckeyes and left Columbus with a heartbreaking loss. Barkley needs 199 yards rushing for his third 1,000-yard season.

Wadley leads the Iowa offense with 643 yards rushing. The latter score was the only time he was able to break free in the ground game, as he netted eight yards on his 20 other carries. McSorley has 47 career touchdown passes, one shy of the school record.

Previous year against Michigan State, McSorley torched the Spartans for 376 passing yards (a career high at the time) and four touchdowns. I have them solidifying the 3rd spot in the Final 4 after a convincing win in the Big 10 championship against the Badgers from Wisconsin.

The Buckeyes rank second nationally in total offense with 571.2 yards per game.

Linebacker Jason Cabinda (59) and safety Marcus Allen (51) are the team's top tacklers.

Penn State's secondary will be tested for the second straight week, as the Nittany Lions were shredded by Barrett. The Lions' offense is the most explosive one the Spartans have faced so far and will put a ton of pressure on the Michigan State offense to keep up scoring points as well. The Hawkeyes did come away with a 17-10 win, but did not leave with much momentum heading in the big matchup on Saturday.

This year, Michigan State won its first four conference games against Iowa (17-10), Michigan (14-10), Minnesota (30-27) and IN (17-9). It bounced back from its other loss, a 38-18 thrashing by Notre Dame, with a seven-point victory over Iowa. (65.9 percent completion rate, 2,071 yards, 16 TDs, 5 interceptions, 8 TDs rushing); WR DaeSean Hamilton, 6-1, 206, R-Sr.

Franklin and the Lions have not given any update on Bates' status for Saturday's game at Michigan State, though Franklin told reporters in State College after Wednesday's practice that it won't be a game-time decision. The Spartans have allowed 19.6 points per game, a number that was inflated a bit by last week's triple-overtime loss to Northwestern, with 22 points allowed in the overtime sessions.



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