- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

Northwestern (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten) at No. 6 Ohio State (6-1, 3-1), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Ohio State by 23½

Series Record: Ohio State leads 60-14-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Ohio State needs a victory to stay on course for a Big Ten championship after being upset by Penn State last week. Northwestern looked horrible to start the season, but has won four of its past five games. The Wildcats last beat Ohio State in 2004 and haven’t won in Columbus since 1971.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett vs. Northwestern defense. The Ohio State passing attack is sputtering, but Barrett and coach Urban Meyer say it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with some tweaks. Barrett has shown he can win games with his arm and his legs. Northwestern DE Ifeadi Odenigbo leads the Big Ten in sacks (eight), and S Igwebuike is among the conference leaders in tackles on a defense that has improved with each game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Northwestern: WR Austin Carr. The former walk-on leads the Big Ten in receptions (50), receiving yards (720), receiving yards per game (102.9) and touchdown receptions (nine).

Ohio State: HB Curtis Samuel. The hybrid back broke away for a 74-yard touchdown run in one of the few offensive highlights for the Buckeyes last week. One of the team’s most dynamic offense weapons, he is among the Big Ten leaders in all-purpose yards. He had only 10 touches against Penn State.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State has allowed just two rushing scores, tied for the fewest in the FBS. … Samuel ranks second in the Big Ten with 142.6 all-purpose yards per game. … Northwestern CB Matthew Harris, who hasn’t played since Sept. 10, announced his retirement from football this week. … Northwestern has limited opponents to 71.7 rushing yards per game. Opponents have averaged just 2.4 yards per carry in the past three games. … Wildcats RB Justin Jackson has rushed for 453 yards and three touchdowns in the past three games. … Ohio State LB Jerome Baker, who stepped up when starter Dante Booker was injured, leads the team with 43 tackles. Booker is healthy again and may play against Northwestern.


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