October, 26, 2013 Oct 26 7:00 AM ET COLUMBUS, Ohio — Critical areas and key players as No. 4 Ohio State looks to extend the nation’s longest winning streak and stay on top of the Big Ten Leaders Division as it hosts Penn State at the Horseshoe (ABC, 8 p.m.). Getting defensive: The Buckeyes haven’t minced words about their effort before halftime in the last couple weeks, and it clearly hasn’t met their high standards based on the profanity assistant Mike Vrabel needed to describe it. Ohio State was pushed around up front and had issues defending play-action passes last week against Iowa, and it was following a similar first-half script from its previous road victory over Northwestern that required some critical adjustments at halftime. Down the stretch, the Buckeyes have been fantastic and overall they still rank No. 15 in the nation in total defense. But they could use a complete game against a Penn State offense averaging more than 33 points per game.
Miller magic: Even when he didn’t have his best stuff last year against the Nittany Lions, Braxton Miller still found a way to lead a relatively easy victory on the road and supply perhaps the highlight of his season with one of the more electrifying 1-yard runs you’ll ever see. The junior quarterback was somewhat slowed down by a Penn State defense that was intent on making Miller throw, and he wasn’t nearly as proficient as a passer at this time a year ago as he appears to be now. The Nittany Lions could have their hands full with an improved version of Miller who is healthy and playing arguably the best football of his career.
Taking back the corner: Extra motivation for a divisional showdown in prime time that features a one-on-one matchup with perhaps the best wide receiver in the Big Ten probably wasn’t necessary. But just in case, the ejection that cut Bradley Roby’s day short last week against Iowa gave him a little fuel for the competitive fire this week, and the redshirt junior will certainly be needed at his best against Allen Robinson. Roby has had something of a mixed bag so far in Big Ten play, missing a few assignments during a huge passing night for Wisconsin while also picking off a pass, then blocking a punt for a touchdown against Northwestern before getting tossed against the Hawkeyes. He might not get a better opportunity to impress NFL scouts this season than he will have against the Nittany Lions.
Pressure building: The Buckeyes have acknowledged where they stand in the BCS rankings, and they are well aware that they need help from teams across the country and potentially some style points to impress voters…
Continue reading this article at ESPN: Five things: Ohio State-Penn State