- Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016

No. 8 Penn State (10-2, No. 7 CFP) vs. No. 6 Wisconsin (10-2, No. 6) at Indianapolis, 8:17 p.m. (FOX)

Line: Wisconsin by 2 ½.

Series record: Wisconsin leads 9-8.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

The winner takes home the Big Ten crown. The bigger prize is adding another line to an already impressive resume and a component the College Football Playoff committee has always considered a key element in choosing the final four - a conference championship. The consolation prize for the runner-ups almost certainly will be a ticket to a New Year’s Day bowl game.

KEY MATCHUP

Trace McSorley vs. Wisconsin secondary: McSorley leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency, the nation in yards per completion and has thrown just five interceptions. But the Badgers’ 21 interceptions lead the nation and they’ve picked off 11 in the last three games.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Penn State: RB Saquon Barkley. He could have won the Big Ten’s rushing title - had he not injured his right ankle in the third quarter last weekend. Barkley did not return. He practiced Wednesday and expects to play. If he does, the challenge for Wisconsin’s stingy defense becomes more difficult. If Barkley can’t play, or isn’t effective, McSorley will be asked to do a lot more.

Wisconsin: QBs Alex Hornibrook and Bart Houston. After opening the season as the starter, Houston lost his job to Hornibrook. But now that Hornibrook (head) is listed as questionable, Houston, who helped jump start the Badgers’ offense at Purdue two weeks ago, may have to win the Big Ten title.

FACTS & FIGURES

Penn State has won eight straight to make its first appearance in the title game. … Wisconsin has won six straight overall, 10 straight regular season games in Indiana and two of three Big Ten championship game appearances at Lucas Oil Stadium. …. The Nittany Lions have won four of the five games played in this series since 2007. … Wisconsin is ranked No. 3 nationally in scoring defense (13.7 points), rushing defense (100.8 yards per game) and third-down conversions allowed (26.6 percent). … Penn State has not allowed a touchdown in its last two games and is No. 20 nationally in total defense. …. Wisconsin’s only losses this season came against opponents ranked in the top five. … Each of the first six Big Ten title games have featured either Michigan State or Wisconsin.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 .


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