Ohio State puts 18-game road win streak on line at Oklahoma


By Eric Olson - AP College Football Writer



Nebraska safety Kieron Williams (26) intercepts a pass intended for Wyoming wide receiver Jake Maulhardt, who is defended by cornerback Chris Jones (8) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Williams scored a touchdown on the play as Nebraska won 52-17. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)


Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson looks to pass against Illinois State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)


No. 3 Ohio State (2-0) at No. 14 Oklahoma (1-1), 7:30 p.m., Fox

By The Associated Press

Line: Ohio State by 1½.

Series Record: Tied 1-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Potentially enormous College Football Playoff ramifications. A win would give Ohio State a solid line on its resume if the Sooners go on to contend in the Big 12. Because Oklahoma lost its opener to Houston, a loss Saturday would almost certainly knock the Sooners out of contention for a return trip to the Playoff, and it would severely weaken the perception of the Big 12. A victory would return the Sooners to their preseason position as one of the nation’s top teams.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio State H-Back Curtis Samuel vs. Oklahoma CBs. Some of Oklahoma’s cornerbacks struggled against Houston, and Samuel will test them. He caught nine passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns against Bowling Green and five passes for 62 yards against Tulsa. He is also a threat running the ball.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ohio State: RB Mike Weber. You can’t pay too much attention to QB J.T. Barrett, or Weber will hurt you. The redshirt freshman ran for 136 yards against Bowling Green and 92 yards against Tulsa.

Oklahoma: RB Joe Mixon. The sophomore had 181 all-purpose yards against Houston, and then rushed for 117 yards against Louisiana-Monroe. He’s a freight train __ 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds __ with breakaway speed and the hands of a wide receiver. He’s also a return man.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State is 18-0 in true road games under Urban Meyer. … Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is 41-2 in nonconference home games. … Meyer and Stoops met for the 2008 National Championship. Meyer’s Florida Gators beat the Sooners 24-14. … Ohio State is the highest-ranked team to visit Norman since No. 2 Texas Tech in 2008. Oklahoma won that game 65-21.

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AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org .

Some things to watch in Week 3 in the Big Ten.

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 3 Ohio State travels to No. 14 Oklahoma for a matchup of teams expected to challenge for spots in the College Football Playoff and the two most storied teams in the history of the Top 25. The Buckeyes have averaged 62.5 points through two games, their defense has yet to allow a touchdown and the program has won a nation-leading 18 straight road games. Time to see what the young Buckeyes can do in a hostile environment. The once-beaten Sooners probably can afford no more losses if they want to play in a national semifinal for the second year in a row. In his seven home games, Baker Mayfield has completed 69 percent of his passes and thrown for 20 TDs against two interceptions. This time he’ll be going against the highest-ranked team to visit Norman since 2008.

BEST MATCHUP

The Oregon offense against the Nebraska defense in a measuring-stick game for both teams. The Ducks’ offense has been extremely sharp, averaging 577 yards against overmatched opponents with new quarterback Dakota Prukop and running back Royce Freeman leading the way. Nebraska’s defense appears greatly improved from 2015 with its veteran linebackers and a Nate Gerry-led secondary that intercepted five passes last week against Wyoming. If the defensive line can be disruptive, Prukop and the Ducks could be in for a tussle in Lincoln.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Winless Northwestern, which hosts Duke, hasn’t started 0-3 since 1992. …North Dakota State, which visits Iowa , has won five in a row against FBS opponents since 2010 and is 8-3 all-time against teams from the top tier. … Penn State is 12-0-1 all-time at home against Temple. The Nittany Lions last year lost for the first time in 40 meetings with the Owls. … Rutgers, which hosts New Mexico, has outscored its first two opponents 27-0 in the fourth quarter and 48-14 in the second half. … Illinois is averaging four sacks a game, and Carroll Phillips is tied for the FBS lead with 6.5 tackles for loss. … Maryland’s Perry Hills enters his game at UCF completing a Big Ten-best 73 percent of his passes.

LONG SHOT

Michigan State visits Notre Dame for the 50th anniversary of the 1966 “Game of the Century” tie, and for the Spartans to win they must be much sharper than they were in a 28-13 season-opening victory over FCS Furman. The touchdown-underdog Spartans are coming off a rare early open date, and there’s been an all-Irish, all-the-time focus for two weeks. QB Tyler O’Connor shouldn’t be fazed by the stage. He started in Ohio Stadium for an injured Connor Cook last year and beat the Buckeyes. O’Connor gives the Spartans their best chance if he can take advantage of a vulnerable Notre Dame secondary.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson, if he can get some blocking from his offensive line, will determine whether the Wildcats bounce back from an 0-2 start or see their season spin out of control. Thorson’s late fumble cost the Wildcats in the opener Western Michigan, and he was just 17 of 41 in the embarrassing loss to FCS Illinois State. The onus on Thorson is even greater if star RB Justin Jackson is slow to come off his lower-body injury.

Nebraska safety Kieron Williams (26) intercepts a pass intended for Wyoming wide receiver Jake Maulhardt, who is defended by cornerback Chris Jones (8) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Williams scored a touchdown on the play as Nebraska won 52-17. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_112474073-6f7ef3223ac6401c97e61addd518de6c.jpgNebraska safety Kieron Williams (26) intercepts a pass intended for Wyoming wide receiver Jake Maulhardt, who is defended by cornerback Chris Jones (8) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Williams scored a touchdown on the play as Nebraska won 52-17. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson looks to pass against Illinois State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_112474073-ee571ae461424e6d975bfee911669c9f.jpgNorthwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson looks to pass against Illinois State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

By Eric Olson

AP College Football Writer

No. 3 Ohio State (2-0) at No. 14 Oklahoma (1-1), 7:30 p.m., Fox

By The Associated Press

Line: Ohio State by 1½.

Series Record: Tied 1-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Potentially enormous College Football Playoff ramifications. A win would give Ohio State a solid line on its resume if the Sooners go on to contend in the Big 12. Because Oklahoma lost its opener to Houston, a loss Saturday would almost certainly knock the Sooners out of contention for a return trip to the Playoff, and it would severely weaken the perception of the Big 12. A victory would return the Sooners to their preseason position as one of the nation’s top teams.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio State H-Back Curtis Samuel vs. Oklahoma CBs. Some of Oklahoma’s cornerbacks struggled against Houston, and Samuel will test them. He caught nine passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns against Bowling Green and five passes for 62 yards against Tulsa. He is also a threat running the ball.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ohio State: RB Mike Weber. You can’t pay too much attention to QB J.T. Barrett, or Weber will hurt you. The redshirt freshman ran for 136 yards against Bowling Green and 92 yards against Tulsa.

Oklahoma: RB Joe Mixon. The sophomore had 181 all-purpose yards against Houston, and then rushed for 117 yards against Louisiana-Monroe. He’s a freight train __ 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds __ with breakaway speed and the hands of a wide receiver. He’s also a return man.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State is 18-0 in true road games under Urban Meyer. … Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is 41-2 in nonconference home games. … Meyer and Stoops met for the 2008 National Championship. Meyer’s Florida Gators beat the Sooners 24-14. … Ohio State is the highest-ranked team to visit Norman since No. 2 Texas Tech in 2008. Oklahoma won that game 65-21.

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AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org .

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