James Franklin talks intense matchups with Ohio State: 'We're one of the few teams to be them'
If Penn State is going to avoid an 0-2 hole, they’ll have to rise to the monumental task of upsetting the highest ranked team in the B1G.
No. 18 Penn State hosts No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday night (6:30 p.m. CST/ABC).
After a heartbreaking overtime loss to Indiana, Saturday’s showdown with Ohio State is a virtual must-win for Penn State in order to keep their conference hopes alive.
Ohio State leads the all-time series 20-14 and has won 7 of the last 8 meetings with Penn State. However, Penn State coach James Franklin has strong conviction that his squad can hang tough with the Nittany Lions.
“We’ve had some great battles with Ohio State and we’re one of the few teams to beat them these past few years,” Franklin said.
Penn State’s last victory vs. Ohio State was in 2016. In the last three meetings, Penn State hasn’t lost by more than 11 points.
While those might count as moral victories depending on your ideology, not being able to get actual victories still stings for Penn State.
“We’ve found a way to beat them when very few people have, and we have played them to the wire,” Franklin said. “Sometimes, those games to the wire are the most painful for everybody.”
Anchored by Heisman Trophy contender Justin Fields, Franklin is well aware the challenge which Ohio State poses. Ohio State handled Nebraska 52-17 in Week 1.
“Obviously, they’re as talented a roster as any other team in the country,” Franklin said
Not too many people outside of Happy Valley are giving Penn State a chance but you can be certain Franklin isn’t concerned with the outside noise.
And if Penn State can pull off a victory against Ohio State, they’ll be right back in the B1G mix.