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Buckeyes aim for payback when Penn State visits Horseshoe

Written by Eric Olson, The Associated Press | Oct 27, 2017 4:30 PM
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In this Oct. 22, 2016, file photo, Penn State's Tyrell Chavis (56) celebrates with fans as they rush the field after Penn State upset Ohio State in an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)

Here's what to watch in the Big Ten this week

Game of the Week: No. 2 Penn State at No. 6 Ohio State

The Buckeyes have had this one circled on their calendars since Grant Haley -- he of the 60-yard blocked field goal return -- and an unranked Penn State beat them 24-21 in Happy Valley last year when they were ranked second. Ohio State has amassed 500 total yards in five straight games and is coming off an open date. Penn State has won 16 of its last 17 and is in the middle of what could be the season-defining three-game stretch of Michigan-Ohio State-Michigan State. The winner stays atop the Big Ten East and in strong position for the College Football Playoff.

Best Matchup

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett vs. Penn State pass defense.

Barrett accounted for seven touchdowns in a 56-14 win at Nebraska and is completing 72 percent of his passes for 1,351 yards, 18 touchdowns and no interceptions during the Buckeyes' five-game win streak. Penn State leads the nation in pass efficiency defense, having allowed 5.2 yards per attempt, three touchdowns and 168 yards a game with nine interceptions.

Inside the Numbers

Two of the eight remaining unbeaten teams in the Bowl Subdivision are from the Big Ten. Penn State is 7-0 for the first time since 2008 and Wisconsin is 7-0 for the first time since 2004. 

Long Shot: Nebraska, 5-point underdog at Purdue

The Cornhuskers have been the biggest disappointment in the Big Ten and are desperate for a win after getting hammered by Wisconsin and Ohio State in back-to-back games. Motivation shouldn't be a problem. They lost 55-45 at Purdue in 2015, the Boilermakers' only FBS win that season. Purdue has improved under Jeff Brohm but you can't dismiss last week's loss at Rutgers. This is a huge game for teams scrapping to get bowl eligible.

Player to Watch : Iowa LB Josey Jewell.

The Hawkeyes' star defender is coming off a shoulder injury that kept him out of last week's overtime loss to Northwestern and ended his streak of 37 consecutive starts. One of the top tacklers in the nation, Jewell will be needed against a Minnesota rushing attack that is third in the Big Ten at 188 yards a game and features what Gophers coach P.J. Fleck calls a "three-headed monster" in RBs Kobe McCrary, Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith.

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