Ohio State heads to Happy Valley to face a familiar adversary in Penn State, an opponent that has consistently played the Buckeyes closer than any other Big Ten team over the past decade.
During his weekly press conference leading up to Saturday's matchup with the Buckeyes, James Franklin acknowledged the hard-fought battles these two teams have had in recent years, and previewed what he expects to be another one against a team he believes to be one of the most talented in the country.
Here's what Franklin had to say about the upcoming matchup with Ohio State.
On the Ohio State offense
- "They are dynamic at the wide receiver position."
- "They're big and physical on the offensive line."
- "They always seem to have at least one or two running backs that can hurt you, not only on the perimeter but between the tackles as well."
- "I think Justin (Fields) started out like 17-for-17 or something like that," Franklin said. "He was able to create some explosive plays not only with his arm but with his feet as well."
On the Ohio State defense
- "Still a very similar plan. They don't do a lot, but what they do, they do really well."
- "They have enough variations in there to keep you honest."
- "They're obviously extremely, extremely skilled."
On playing Ohio State
- Franklin called the Ohio State game a "tremendous opportunity."
- "We've had some great battles with Ohio State and we're one of the few teams to beat them these past few years."
On the competitive nature of games against Ohio State
- Franklin is proud of how Penn State competes against Ohio State.
- "We've found a way to beat them when very few people have, and we have played them to the wire."
- "Sometimes, those games to the wire are the most painful for everybody."
- "We've had the opportunity to win some of those games down to the wire," Franklin said, noting they've won one of them, but Ohio State's won the others.
- "It's a challenge, there's no doubt about it."
- "Obviously, they're as talented a roster as any other team in the country."
On not having a whiteout this season
- "It's going to be different, obviously, just 2020 is different for everybody."
- "This is the reality of it, we've known this is the reality of it. We need to embrace it and be ready for it."
- Franklin said he would love to have a whiteout, but they're so appreciative of all the sacrifices that were made to even have a season.
On Justin Fields as a runner
- "I think that's a big part of his game. I think they try to limit it as much as they can, but it just naturally what he does."
- Actual runs but extend plays with receivers.
- "If you look across college football and now in the NFL, it's similar. It's hard to stop all the different things that offenses are doing now."
- "Obviously, it's going to be a focus point for us this week, and it's going to be a challenge. He's one of the best players in college football."
On the importance of starting quickly against Ohio State
- "I think if you look at our history against them, we've done it a lot of ways."
- Franklin notes that they've had early leads against Ohio State and blown them.
- "I think at the end of the day, it's not just about a fast start or finishing strong, you're going to have to play well for four quarters."
- "To beat this type of team, it's not going to be pieces."