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Ohio State, Lee Corso and ESPN's GameDay: A Winning Combination?

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Matt Gutridge's picture
November 19, 2019 at 6:15am

Note: This piece is an ode to the glory days of when Lee Corso's head gear pick was somewhat must watch tv. It is designed to give a brief history of Corso's picks and to give you a trip down memory lane in the series against Penn State.

Is FOX's Big Noon Kickoff show with Urban Meyer (#BoycottGameday) better than what GameDay is today? Like many of you, I believe it is. However, that is not the gist of the primitively placed words below. If you're inclined, sip on your morning drink and take a little glance back at the series and Corso's predictions through the years.

Saturday will be the seventh time ESPN's GameDay has been on Ohio State's campus for a game when the Buckeyes play Penn State. It is likely that the venerable Lee Corso has a soft spot for old Columbus town. The reason? On Oct. 5, 1996 Corso donned Brutus' head gear and started a 23-year tradition. That's right, the first time Corso used head gear to illustrate the team he believed would win was in Columbus.

Which team will Corso select on Saturday? If history is an indicator, it is extremely likely that Brutus will be his head gear of choice. Let's take a trip down memory lane and see how the old ball coach fared when hedging his bet on Ohio State. 

10/5/1996 • No. 4 Penn State vs. No. 3 Ohio State • Ohio Stadium

After playing in Beaver Stadium for consecutive years, the Buckeyes hosted the Nttany Lions for the first time since 1993. On a sunny 63 degree early October Saturday, the 12th game in the series was dominated by the Buckeyes' defense. 

The Buckeyes scored in every quarter and were 3:43 away from shutting Penn State out in the 38-7 victory. This was Joe Paterno's fifth worst loss in 30 years and he was now 3–5 against Ohio State.

10/3/1998 • No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 1 Ohio State • Ohio Stadium

Ohio State's 28-9 victory was engineered by its defense and special teams. Penn State's offense did not gain a yard – or lost yards – on 34 of its 59 plays. The Silver Bullets accumulated 12 tackles for loss, forced 16 incompletions, forced a fumble and an interception. Percy King blocked a punt that Joe Cooper recovered in the end zone to put the Buckeyes up 21-3.

This was the sixth Big Ten game played between the programs and Ohio State now led the series 4–2 in conference play. 

Corso's Pick: Ohio State

9/23/2006 • No. 24 Penn State vs. No. 1 Ohio State • Ohio Stadium

A sloppy game ensued on a rainy but warm late September Saturday. The teams combined for seven punts, two interceptions and a fumble. At the end of the first hald, Penn State had a 3-0 lead.

With 7:33 remaining in the game, the Buckeyes were holding onto a 14-6. Malcolm Jenkins and Antonio Smith each had a pick-six and slammed the door on any thoughts the Nittany Lions had of winning the game.

Corso's Pick: Ohio State

10/25/2008 • No. 3 Penn State vs. No. 10 Ohio State • Ohio Stadium

Ohio State entered this contest with seven straight wins over Penn State in Ohio Stadium. You had to go all the way back to 1980 to find the last time the Nittany Lions beat the Buckeyes in Columbus.

Additionally, Joe Paterno's squad had never defeated Ohio State in The Shoe as a member of the Big Ten. Over those seven games, Penn State scored in single digits six times and 10 points once.

The most important drive of the game came after Kevin Kelly missed a 45-yard missed field goal. The Buckeyes started on their own 28 and eventually had a 3rd-and-1 at the 50 with a three-point lead. 

It appeared Tressel called for Terrelle Pryor to sneak up the middle, but when the quarterback felt resistance he saw open field to the right of the line. As Pryor bounced outside, Mark Rubin flailed his left hand and knocked the ball loose. Navorro Bowman recovered the fumble for the visitors at Ohio State's 38.

With 1:07 remaining in the game, Penn State scored the game-winning touchdown. Joe Paterno defeated Ohio State for the first time in Columbus as a member of the Big Ten. 

Corso's Pick: Ohio State

11/13/2010 • Penn State vs. No. 8 Ohio State • Ohio Stadium

The eighth-ranked Buckeyes trailed Penn State by 11 points but scored 35 straight in a 38-14 victory. Boom Herron rushed for a career-high 190 yards and Devon Torrence returned an interception for a 34-yard touchdown.

Corso's Pick: Ohio State

10/28/2017 • No. 2 Penn State vs. No. 6 Ohio State • Ohio Stadium

On a cool October afternoon, Penn State held 18 points twice in this game. The large leads weren't enough as J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes scored 19 points in the final quarter to steal a 39-38 victory. 

To that date, it was the largest comeback victory for Urban Meyer as Ohio State's head coach. Barrett also broke the Big Ten record for passing touchdowns in a career during the magical come from behind victory.

For the first six shows in Columbus, Corso chose Brutus' head gear every single time. Chances are high that Corso will keep that streak alive on Saturday. Hopefully the Buckeyes will reward him by increasing his record to 6–1 when picking Ohio State over Penn State in Columbus.  

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