Palm: Penn State Is In Trouble, Could Get "Smoked" In Columbus

The Nittany Lions struggled against Minnesota and Indiana, which doesn't bode well for their showdown with Ohio State

Ferrall On The Bench
November 21, 2019 - 8:41 am
James Franklin Penn State

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No. 2 Ohio State (10-0) will host No. 8 Penn State (9-1) in Columbus on Saturday, with the Big Ten East and a trip to Indianapolis on the line. The last three games between these programs have been absolute thrillers. In fact, those three games were decided by a total five points, and each of the last two have been decided by one point.

CBS Sports college football insider Jerry Palm, however, doesn’t anticipate a good game this weekend.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a good game for long,” Palm said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I’ve been watching Penn State. I watched them play Minnesota. I watched them play Indiana. They’ve got a problem: they can’t tackle in space. Their back seven isn’t making tackles. The first guy is missing. Indiana’s receivers and Minnesota’s very good receivers were getting by them. Well, Ohio State, if you can’t tackle in space, you’re not going to tackle their receivers and you’re not going to tackle their running backs and you’re going to get smoked. They have to play a lot better.”

Penn State lost 31-26 at Minnesota on Nov. 9 and survived Indiana 34-27 on Nov. 16. The Nittany Lions didn’t look great in either game. To make matters worse, their leading receiver, K.J. Hamler, might not play due to injury. Even if he suits up, he will likely not be at full strength.

“I don’t know how their offense is going to function either,” Palm said. “He’s really their top weapon on offense. I’m not optimistic for Penn State. I think if someone is going to give Ohio State trouble, it’s Michigan, not Penn State.”

Ohio State closes the regular season in Ann Arbor against No. 13 Michigan, which has won its last three games by an average of 32 points.

The Wolverines play Indiana (7-3) in Bloomington on Saturday.

“I think Michigan is playing really well right now,” Palm said. “Unless Michigan is caught napping because they’re looking ahead – and if they are, Indiana has a shot – but Michigan is playing really well right now. Since the second half of that Penn State game, the lights went on, finally, for Michigan. If they continue to play like that, I think it’s going to be a long day for Indiana.” 

Click below to listen to Palm’s interview in its entirety.