Ohio natives keep PSU-OSU game in perspective
UNIVERSITY PARK — Whether it’s 2016, when Penn State captured a milestone victory over then-No. 2 Ohio State, or 2020, when the Nittany Lions will welcome the No. 3 Buckeyes on Halloween night to an empty Beaver Stadium, Antonio Shelton doesn’t feel a difference.
“I’m just not a fan of pinpointing the 2016 game,” Shelton told the media on Tuesday. “What about the other games won in the 2016 season, or in the 2017 season, the 2018 season, or last season?”
In 2016, the defensive tackle was a freshman, having yet to step foot onto the field in a blue and white uniform, but now he’s one of Penn State’s redshirt seniors who will have a larger impact on the game (7:30 p.m., ABC).
And from his perspective, that’s all it is — a game, between two talented Big Ten teams.
“First of all, it’s not a rivalry,” Shelton said. “We’re not Michigan, and by me saying it’s not a rivalry isn’t me down playing my opponent. I think this is just two good football teams who are playing each other, with two good coaching staffs.”
In 2018, Shelton’s sophomore season, then No. 9 Penn State lost a fourth-quarter lead and fell to the No. 4 Buckeyes, 27-26.
Though he’s a Columbus native, this game is not personal to Shelton.
“Yeah, I’m from Columbus, and that’s fine, but what I’m not going to do is make this game about me,” he said. “I’m not the only guy from Columbus or Ohio on the team. It’s not that deep to me. I don’t have any personal vendetta or anger toward that university or anyone at it. My best friend plays at Ohio State.”
Offensive lineman Mike Mirranda and long snapper Chris Stoll are two of the five other Ohio natives on the PSU roster this season.
Going from being a walk-on to a scholarship this season, Stoll also is trying to treat Ohio State like any other opponent.
“Ohio State always has a place in my heart,” Stoll told the media on Wednesday. “I’ve been a fan for 17 years of my life, but the game last year I was a walk-on and the game this year I am on scholarship, and I don’t see any difference. It’s still that 1-0 mentality.”
For Miranda, Saturday night is nothing more than Week 2.
“It’s the game on our schedule this week, so it’s the most important game on our schedule right now,” Miranda said. “That’s it.”
Gianna Galli is a Mirror intern assisting with Penn State football coverage.