Saturday, November 19, 2011
It's game day at Ohio Stadium
By Adam Rittenberg
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Greetings from the Horseshoe, where this afternoon No. 21 Penn State and Ohio State meet in a game like none other in recent memory.
Both programs are dealing with controversy and uncertainty about the future.
Penn State, still shaken from the sex-abuse scandal, learned Friday that former coach Joe Paterno has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Paterno's son, Jay, the Nittany Lions' quarterbacks coach, discusses the news here and notes that his father's cancer is treatable. Penn State also received a letter Friday from NCAA president Mark Emmert, who wrote that the NCAA will look into whether there was a lack of institutional control at the school in its handling of the sex-abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. It's up to interim coach Tom Bradley, whose future with the program is unknown, to get his team focused for a huge Leaders Division matchup.
Speaking of coaches with uncertain futures, meet Luke Fickell. He has guided Ohio State through a turbulent season, but the team sits at 6-4 after last week's loss at Purdue. The Buckeyes' streak of six consecutive Big Ten titles (outright or shared) is on life support. Rumors are swirling that Ohio State has a coaching replacement in line for 2012, and Fickell could be leading the Buckeyes for the final time at Ohio Stadium today. It's Senior Day, and a class with a complicated legacy will be honored before the game. One of its members, wide receiver DeVier Posey, will make his season debut after serving two five-game suspensions for violating NCAA rules. Posey, by far the team's best receiver, could play a big role in the game.
There's no rain in the forecast and it's partly cloudy, but wind could be a factor.
On the injury front, Ohio State senior linebacker Andrew Sweat (concussion) is out. Other Buckeyes like defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, offensive tackle J.B. Shugarts and receiver Corey Brown are hobbled, but they all should play in limited fashion.
Penn State star running back Silas Redd also is expected to play despite practicing sparingly this week because of a collarbone injury. Redd, the Big Ten's No. 4 rusher at 105.9 yards a game, has been banged up for a few weeks.
The Lions have really struggled in Columbus, winning here just once since joining the Big Ten in 1993. Penn State has recorded only two touchdown passes at The Shoe as a Big Ten member, both from last year's game.
Much more to come from C-Bus, so don't go anywhere.