CFB Preview: The best from outside the region

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jay LaPrete/AP/Shutterstock (13486430o) Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud throws a pass against Iowa during the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Columbus, Ohio Iowa Ohio St Football, Columbus, United States – 22 Oct 2022

CFB Preview: The best from outside the region

Some more college football action lies ahead as the landscape continues to take shape outside the state of Texas. As Week 9 approaches, we take a look at some of the best matchups from outside the region.

#2 Ohio State @ #13 Penn State

Game Time: 11:00 a.m. CT

TV/Radio: FOX, Sirius XM 83 & 195

One of the best Big Ten matchups you will see this year takes place this weekend at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. Ohio State looks like one of the two best teams in college football and a lock for the playoff, while Penn State is trying to scratch and claw its way to the top of the conference.

Stats do not lie with Ohio State. This is a dangerous offensive team with one of the most impactful QBs in the country. The Buckeyes rank sixth in the nation in total offense and are second in scoring offense. They run a balanced attack offensively, so defenses must pick their poison. Star QB C.J. Stroud has been every bit of what has been expected of him this season. He is completing 70% of his throws for almost 300 yards per game. He also has a seven to one touchdown to turnover ratio throwing 28 touchdowns and only four picks. That said, the Big Ten itself has not had as strong of a year as they have had in years past. Therefore, Ohio State’s schedule has not been as impressive. However, they are blowing out everybody they play; their most impressive possibly being a 56-point rout against Towson, where they laid 77 points on the board. Nobody has been able to contain this Buckeye offense, so Penn State has quite the adventure ahead trying to be the first ones.

Like Ohio State, Penn State has taken care of everybody they have played, with the exception of Michigan. They are crushing everybody. However, they have gotten some inconsistent play at times from QB Sean Clifford, especially against stiffer competition. Clifford is coming off a hot game where he threw four touchdowns against Minnesota, but the Buckeyes will be a tougher defense to cut through. If the Nittany Lions want to pull off the upset against the number two team in the nation, they will have to take the ball out of Ohio State’s hands. Run the ball effectively and put together long drives to keep yourself in the game. Clifford must complete the easy throws and muster up an efficient day throwing the football. Penn State’s offense scores around 33 points per game and are capable of slapping Ohio State in the face on that side of the ball. They just have to control the pace of the game in order to do so.

#19 Kentucky @ #3 Tennessee

Game Time: 6:00 p.m. CT

TV/Radio: ESPN, Sirius XM 81 & 192

Before the season began, it was assumed that Georgia and Alabama would once again rule all in the SEC. Well, Tennessee would like a word with the people who made those assumptions, as they have clearly proved to be one of the most dangerous teams in the country. Tennessee’s win against Alabama in Knoxville was possibly the best college football game we have seen in years and maybe the most meaningful win in Tennessee history. Now they move on to Kentucky before they go on the road to play Georgia next week. Kentucky is no slouch, and with star QB Will Levis under center, Kentucky can sneak up on any team on any given day. Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker continues to be one of the most dynamic players in the sport, while the combination of Bru McCoy and Jalin Hyatt stands as the best WR duo in the nation. The Vols score more points than any team in the country; they are second in total offense, fourth in passing yards per game, and rank in the top 25 on third down. All of this while playing in the loaded SEC. The Volunteers have become a legitimate college football playoff favorite. However, this defense can be taken advantage of on the wrong day. This is not a strong pass defense, so good QBs could make stuff happen against them. However, Tennessee does really well at controlling the game with their run defense. They have a nasty front and can kill drives by forcing offenses to become one-dimensional.

Kentucky is on a bit of a skid losing two out of their last three. However, they are coming off the bye week after a nice win against Mississippi State, which gives them solid momentum moving into this week. This is a team that can surprise you, given the balance they have in their offense. Will Levis can make big plays with his arm while remaining efficient with the football and can go toe to toe with any of the best QBs in the country. The Wildcats’ running game has been much improved since star RB Chris Rodriguez came back into the fold. After a few games to shake off the rust, he has been magnificent running the football, averaging 131 yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry. Kentucky has played solid defensively all season, ranking in the top 30 in total defense. In fact, this defense has yet to surrender more than 24 points in a game this season, keeping teams in check and allowing them to stay in games late. With that said, they have yet to play an offense quite like Tennessee. It is an uphill battle for Kentucky to get a win in Knoxville, but they have the balance throughout to sneak up and surprise some people.

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