No. 2 Penn State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) at No. 6 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Ohio State by 6 ½.
Series record: Ohio State leads 17-14.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Plenty. It’s the biggest game of the season for both teams so far. Another Ohio State loss will all but end the Buckeyes’ hopes of returning to the College Football Playoff. A defeat wouldn’t be fatal for Penn State, but it would drop the Nittany Lions into a knot of one-loss teams with only one remaining regular-season game against a ranked opponent (No. 16 Michigan State on Nov. 4). The Buckeyes would also hold the tiebreaker in the Big Ten East.
Penn State RB Barkley vs. Ohio State’s defense. Penn State’s offense is built around the junior running back’s ability to gain yards on the ground and also be a go-to receiver. He leads the country in all-purpose yards with an average of more than 211 per game. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said this week that Barkley is the best all-purpose back he’s seen in all his years of coaching. Ohio State’s deep and talented defensive line is adept at stuffing the run.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Penn State: QB Trace McSorley is completing two-thirds of his passes. He’s got 1,879 yards with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Ohio State: QB J.T. Barrett struggled in the first two games, including a surprising loss to Oklahoma. The next five games for the Buckeyes were blowouts of overmatched teams, but Barrett’s improvement was evident. Barrett’s next touchdown pass will be his 91st, making him the career Big Ten leader in that category.
FACTS & FIGURES
Saturday will be the eighth time Ohio State and Penn State will meet in a Top 10 matchup … Unranked Penn State upset then-No. 2 Ohio State 24-21 last year at Beaver Stadium … Ohio State has piled up 500 yards or more of total offense in the past five games this season … The Buckeyes defense is allowing runners just 2.9 yards per carry … Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins’ 7.8 yards per carry average is fourth best in the nation. He’s averaging 108 yards per game … Penn State’s defense leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of just 9.6 points per game
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