No. 2 Penn State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) at No. 6 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten)
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Saturday, 3:30 p.m., FOX
Scouting Penn State
The second-ranked Nittany Lions drilled No. 19 Michigan, 42-13, as Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley scored three touchdowns apiece. Barkley, a Heisman candidate, became the first Nittany Lion and fourth Big Ten player with 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his career, but the first Big Ten player to amass such totals in just his third season. Barkley, who had 176 all-purpose yards against the Wolverines, leads the FBS in that department at 211.1 per game. He was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, and middle linebacker Jason Cabinda earned the defensive distinction for his 13-tackle performance. PSU’s defense is allowing an FBS-best 9.6 points per game, and leads the Big Ten with 24 sacks.
Scouting Ohio State
The sixth-ranked Buckeyes, idle last week, have won five in a row since a Sept. 9 loss to Oklahoma, and have notched 54 points or more in the last four games. OSU is second in the FBS in scoring offense (47.3) and third in total offense (577.3). Quarterback J.T. Barrett leads the Big Ten in total offense (313.9) and passing efficiency, having clicked on 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,838 yards and 21 touchdowns. He has been intercepted just once. Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins has rushed for 775 yards (7.8 per carry), the conference’s second-highest total. The top receivers are K.J. Hill and Parris Campbell, with 28 catches apiece. OSU is allowing just 109.6 yards on the ground but has been somewhat forgiving through the air, surrendering 195.7 yards a game.
Ohio State leads the all-time series, 18-14, but Penn State ended a four-game losing streak to the Buckeyes last October, beating them, 24-21, on a blocked field-goal return late in the game.
Storyline to watch
The Lions were off the week before facing the Buckeyes in 2016, while OSU had a tough game against Wisconsin. Coincidence or not, Ohio State wilted in the fourth quarter against PSU. This year, it is the Buckeyes who are coming off their bye, while the Lions had that game against Michigan. PSU coach James Franklin said Tuesday it is an apples-and-oranges comparison, since last week’s game was one-sided and he was able to rest guys. But we shall see.
What's at stake
Only, like, everything — leadership in the Big Ten East, prime positioning for the conference championship game and the College Football Playoff, etc.
Coin-flip game, but let’s ride the home field/bye/revenge angle.
Ohio State 28, Penn State 24