Buckeyes’ Barrett can add to his Heisman resume at Penn St.


By Eric Olson - AP College Football Writer



FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2016, file photo, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) scrambles against Wisconsin during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Madison, Wis. Barrett was big-time in prime time last week and now he has two more showcase games in the next three weeks to boost his Heisman Trophy hopes.
 (AP Photo/Andy Manis, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2016, file photo, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) scrambles against Wisconsin during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Madison, Wis. Barrett was big-time in prime time last week and now he has two more showcase games in the next three weeks to boost his Heisman Trophy hopes. (AP Photo/Andy Manis, File)


FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2016, file photo, Maryland head coach DJ Durkin reacts after Penn State scores during the second half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. Maryland's offense has sputtered the last two games, and the cure might go beyond merely getting back injured quarterback Perry Hills. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)


No. 2 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) at Penn State (4-2, 2-1)

8 p.m. ABC

By The Associated Press

Line: Ohio State by 20.

Series Record: Ohio State leads 18-13.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Ohio State can improve to 35-1 in regular season conference games under Meyer and can take another step toward the Big Ten championship game with a win. The Nittany Lions are still looking for a marquee win during James Franklin’s tenure. He’s 0-7 against the Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State and the Nittany Lions are 0-9 against top-five 5 teams in the last decade.

KEY MATCHUP

Penn State’s offensive line against Ohio State’s front seven. The Buckeyes have allowed 99 and 236 rushing yards in each of the past two games. The Nittany Lions need to extend their possessions and keep the clock moving to protect their own wounded defense and keep the Buckeyes’ talented offense off the field.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ohio State: QB J.T. Barrett has picked up the pace with his legs recently, maybe a bad sign for the Nittany Lions who’ve struggled against running quarterbacks. Barrett’s completion percentage is down to 59 percent over the three games and he’s thrown an interception in each one. But he’s rushed for 275 yards and three touchdowns in that span.

Penn State: RB Saquon Barkley has had an extra week to rest his legs after 51 carries over the last two games. The elusive playmaker broke loose for 202 yards and a touchdown against Maryland in Penn State’s last outing.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State has won four straight at Beaver Stadium, its last loss coming in 2005. . Since then, Penn State has gone 11-25 against Top 25 teams. . In that span, the Nittany Lions have lost four times to an Ohio State team ranked in the top five. … The last time they played in Happy Valley, the Buckeyes won in double overtime 31-24. . Penn State will have linebackers Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell back. . They missed the last five and four games respectively and returned to practice Wednesday. . They are not expected to start. . Ohio State will likely get linebacker Dante Booker (knee).

Some things to watch in the Big Ten on Saturday:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 2 Ohio State at Penn State. The Buckeyes go to Happy Valley having won a program-record 20 consecutive true road games, the longest streak in the nation and the most since the Miami Hurricanes won 20 in a row between 1984-88. Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett is coming off a splendid second half and overtime at Wisconsin last week and can strengthen his Heisman Trophy candidacy in front of another prime-time TV audience. Penn State is a three-touchdown underdog, but the Nittany Lions have won 10 of their last 11 at home, and there’ll be a festive atmosphere as the unbeaten 1986 national championship team is honored.

BEST MATCHUP

No. 10 Wisconsin at Iowa. It might be possible to win the West Division with two conference losses. Three? Not likely. Wisconsin, which has lost to heavyweights Michigan and Ohio State in consecutive games, has no more room for error as it heads to Iowa City. The teams have split 10 meetings since they started playing for the Heartland Trophy in 2004, but the Badgers have won three straight at Kinnick Stadium. Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook is getting better by the week. Iowa, winner of two straight since losing at home to Northwestern, is a conference-best 23 for 24 in the red zone.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Seven of the last nine Indiana-Northwestern meetings have been decided by seven points or less. Those seven games were decided by a total of 26 points, and two went to overtime. … Ohio State is third in the Bowl Subdivision in scoring defense, allowing 12.8 points per game. … Minnesota has allowed only 34 points in the first half and has not allowed a first-half touchdown in any of its three Big Ten games. … No. 3 Michigan goes into its home game against Illinois having committed only four turnovers, best in the Big Ten and second nationally. … Illinois is 3-30-2 against Michigan when the Wolverines are ranked. … No. 8 Nebraska is among 10 FBS teams that are 9-1 or better over their last 10 games, with Alabama the only team that’s 10-0.

LONG SHOT

Maryland is a 2 ½-point underdog at home against a Michigan State team that has lost four straight. The Spartans remain unsettled at quarterback, and their defense last week gave up 54 points to Northwestern, the most in coach Mark Dantonio’s 10 seasons. Maryland is smarting from a second straight loss following a 4-0 start, and the Terps have QB issues of their own.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley ran for 194 yards in a loss to Ohio State last year and gives the Nittany Lions the best chance to keep it close. The elusive Barkley, averaging 97 yards per game, ran for 202 against Maryland in his last game. He’ll be going against a rushing defense that’s allowing just 3.18 yards per carry and didn’t give up a touchdown on the ground until last week.

___

Online:

AP college football website: http://collegefootball.ap.org

FILE – In this Oct. 15, 2016, file photo, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) scrambles against Wisconsin during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Madison, Wis. Barrett was big-time in prime time last week and now he has two more showcase games in the next three weeks to boost his Heisman Trophy hopes.
(AP Photo/Andy Manis, File)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2016/10/web1_113103712-7162c20112d547f580738a99356a1007.jpgFILE – In this Oct. 15, 2016, file photo, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) scrambles against Wisconsin during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Madison, Wis. Barrett was big-time in prime time last week and now he has two more showcase games in the next three weeks to boost his Heisman Trophy hopes.
(AP Photo/Andy Manis, File)

FILE – In this Oct. 8, 2016, file photo, Maryland head coach DJ Durkin reacts after Penn State scores during the second half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. Maryland’s offense has sputtered the last two games, and the cure might go beyond merely getting back injured quarterback Perry Hills. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2016/10/web1_113103712-f077aa01519b45d99beea5d2cc019f11.jpgFILE – In this Oct. 8, 2016, file photo, Maryland head coach DJ Durkin reacts after Penn State scores during the second half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. Maryland’s offense has sputtered the last two games, and the cure might go beyond merely getting back injured quarterback Perry Hills. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)

By Eric Olson

AP College Football Writer

No. 2 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) at Penn State (4-2, 2-1)

8 p.m. ABC

By The Associated Press

Line: Ohio State by 20.

Series Record: Ohio State leads 18-13.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Ohio State can improve to 35-1 in regular season conference games under Meyer and can take another step toward the Big Ten championship game with a win. The Nittany Lions are still looking for a marquee win during James Franklin’s tenure. He’s 0-7 against the Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State and the Nittany Lions are 0-9 against top-five 5 teams in the last decade.

KEY MATCHUP

Penn State’s offensive line against Ohio State’s front seven. The Buckeyes have allowed 99 and 236 rushing yards in each of the past two games. The Nittany Lions need to extend their possessions and keep the clock moving to protect their own wounded defense and keep the Buckeyes’ talented offense off the field.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ohio State: QB J.T. Barrett has picked up the pace with his legs recently, maybe a bad sign for the Nittany Lions who’ve struggled against running quarterbacks. Barrett’s completion percentage is down to 59 percent over the three games and he’s thrown an interception in each one. But he’s rushed for 275 yards and three touchdowns in that span.

Penn State: RB Saquon Barkley has had an extra week to rest his legs after 51 carries over the last two games. The elusive playmaker broke loose for 202 yards and a touchdown against Maryland in Penn State’s last outing.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State has won four straight at Beaver Stadium, its last loss coming in 2005. . Since then, Penn State has gone 11-25 against Top 25 teams. . In that span, the Nittany Lions have lost four times to an Ohio State team ranked in the top five. … The last time they played in Happy Valley, the Buckeyes won in double overtime 31-24. . Penn State will have linebackers Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell back. . They missed the last five and four games respectively and returned to practice Wednesday. . They are not expected to start. . Ohio State will likely get linebacker Dante Booker (knee).