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SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
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Saturday's Pick 25 Dime - Penn State
I could not have asked for a better scenario than what happened last Saturday with these two teams: Penn State found itself trailing 17-7 at halftime at home against a awful Michigan squad before getting it together and blowing out the Wolverines after intermission en route to a 46-17 win. Meanwhile, Ohio State traveled to East Lansing and absolutely destroyed a 6-1 Michigan State team 45-7. That blowout, combined with the first-half struggle for the Lions plus Penn State's inability to win in Columbus (0-7 SU & ATS since entering the Big Ten), has contributed to this line being so low.
I'm 2-0 with 25 dime college releases this season, so I'm obviously playing with my man's money entering this selection, but I've watched both these teams repeatedly this year and I think the oddsmakers have undervalued Penn State based on this series' past history.
Dig deeper into the Ohio State-Michigan State boxscore and you'll see it was another so-so performance by a Buckeye offense that has struggled all season. Sure, Beanie Wells ran for 140 yards on 31 carries and scored twice, but how many teams can win consistently with a run-pass ratio of 52-11 like Ohio State had against the Spartans? That's right, Terrelle Pryor completed 7-of-11 passes for 116 yards in addition to running the ball 12 times for another 72 yards. Don't get me wrong, those are impressive numbers for any quarterback, let alone a raw freshman, but don't mistake the fact that Ohio State's offense - which totaled only 332 yards - benefited tremendously from 5 Spartan turnovers.
In year's past, Penn State relied on its defense to win games because its offense was a vanilla as a plain milkshake. That's not the case any longer because what Pryor aspires to be - a dual threat quarterback capable of making the big play - is what the Lions already have in the underrated Darry Clark, who is coming off another stellar performance (18-for-31 passing for 171 yards; 9 carries for 45 yards) against Michigan. He's big, strong, not afraid to tuck the ball and run with it, and yet he's cool enough in the pocket - and mobile enough, too - to get the ball to Penn State's talented array of receivers. Plus, Clark has Evan Royster in the backfield, and he's coming off another monster game (18 carries, 174 yards vs. Michigan).
Penn State struggled early against Michigan, obviously coming off the the huge road win at Wisconsin the week prior with perhaps a collective cast forward to this game at the Horseshoe. But the defense clamped down on the Wolverines, holding them to 106 total yards in the final three quarters after allowing 185 in the first. Obviously, Ohio State presents a greater challenge, but one the Lions are ready to meet head on. Last week they snapped a nine-game losing streak to Michigan; this week then snap a seven-game skid in Columbus
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