COLUMBUS, Ohio - Five things to look for as Penn State takes on Ohio State in a matchup of two powerful, tradition-rich programs that have been rocked by scandals.
No. 1: McGloin's opportunity
The knock on Matt McGloin is that he plays well against mediocre and bad competition but is overmatched against quality defenses. He has a chance today to silence the many critics who believe he's nothing more than a stopgap quarterback as opposed to someone who can lead PSU to a big season.
McGloin played a superb first half last year at the Horseshoe, throwing for 141 yards and two TD passes to lead the Nittany Lions to a 14-3 lead. He then fell apart in the second half, throwing for just 18 yards and two pick-6s as the Buckeyes stormed back for a 38-14 win.
Ohio State's defense is ranked 15th in the nation, so this is a great opportunity for McGloin to take a big step in his development.
No. 2: Can Redd go?
Penn State will need running back Silas Redd to be healthy and effective if it's to have a chance to win.
Redd is expected to play after suffering a collarbone injury last week against Nebraska. But if he's anything less than 100 percent, he will have a tough time against the Buckeyes, and therefore PSU will have a tough time winning.
No. 3: Odd scenario
It's very odd that the outcome of a Penn State-Ohio State game wouldn't necessarily mean much, but that's the case today.
Win or lose, the Lions almost certainly will have to win at Wisconsin next week to claim Leaders Division and reach the Big Ten title game. They don't need to win today, but they need to at least play well to be in a good frame of mind for next week.
No. 4: Stop the run
Ohio State hasn't proven it can throw the ball effectively (117 yards per game), but it can run (198). One-dimensional teams usually don't perform well against good Penn State defenses, which this one certainly is, so the Buckeyes probably will have to be able to throw better than they have to consistently move the chains.
No. 5: Touch of class
The Horseshoe is a tough place to play, and there's not much love lost between these two schools. But given everything PSU has been through recently, it wouldn't be a surprise if Ohio State's fans treat the Lions and their fans a little better than usual.
Some type of pregame ceremony is expected, perhaps something similar to last week's midfield prayer against Nebraska.
Ohio State's student government also sent out a classy email to fans this week urging them to be respectful to the PSU players and reminding them that the players had nothing to do with the ongoing scandal. (See the Giger Counters blog at altoonamirror.com for the text of that email.)
Prediction: Ohio State 23, Penn State 13
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and @CoryGiger on Twitter.