Biggest threat to Ohio State in Big Ten East: Michigan or Penn State?


Ohio State has shown they are vulnerable, so which conference rival is more likely to beat them, Penn State or Michigan?

The No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes have not looked like a team many expected to runaway with another Big Ten championship and return to the College Football Playoff

Instead of dominating their first three opponents, they lost to Oregon and had unimpressive victories over Minnesota and Tulsa.

Meanwhile, Big Ten rivals Penn State and Michigan are off to impressive starts. Both are playing good football at 3-0 with quality primetime wins, but can either of them beat Ryan Day’s team this fall?

How Penn State can beat Ohio State

The Nittany Lions have beat Wisconsin 16-10, Ball State 44-13, and Auburn 28-20. Their wins have been highlighted by the performances of senior quarterback Sean Clifford and their aggressive defense.

Through three games, Clifford has passed for 757 yards and four touchdowns, completing 71 percent of his passes.

Meanwhile, Penn State’s defense has been a turnover forcing machine. In the first three outings, they have four interceptions and have recovered three fumbles.

The combination of those two strengths is Penn State’s formula to dethroning Ohio State as Big Ten champions. They will have to force the Buckeyes to turn the ball over and then attack their subpar passing defense.

How Michigan can beat Ohio State

‘Beat Ohio State’ are heavy words in Ann Arbor. The only problem is that they haven’t done it since 2011. After the first three games of the season, it looks like the Wolverines will have a good chance to snap the Buckeyes eight-game rivalry winning streak.

No. 19 Michigan, who started the season unranked, is 3-0 after blowout victories over Western Michigan, Washington and Northern Illinois.

Powered by their explosive backfield of Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins, the Wolverines enter Week 4 averaging just under 48 points a game. They are averaging 350.3 rushing yards a game with 7.2 yards an attempt.

Their defense has also been impressive, giving up just 11.3 points a game and limiting opponents to 289.3 yards of total offense a game.

Who is more likely to beat Ohio State?

This may just be the year for Michigan, the year that they finally beat Ohio State. Their monstrous run game and strong defense give them a good shot at beating an Ohio State team who hasn’t shown much defensively yet.

While Penn State has also been impressive on both sides of the ball and could be a threat to the Buckeyes as well, there is one remaining difference between when Michigan and Penn State play Ohio State. That is where the game takes place. Penn State has to travel to Columbus, while Michigan gets to invite the Buckeyes into The Big House in front of 100,000 screaming fans. The home-field advantage is why Michigan is more likely to beat Ohio State.

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