No. 8 Badgers’ playoff hopes ride on game with No. 2 Ohio St


By Eric Olson - AP College Football Writer



FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2014 file photo, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer runs onto the field with his team at the start of the Big Ten Conference championship NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Indianapolis. If No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Ohio State are going to lose this season, this would be an excellent week to do so. The Crimson Tide taken on No. 9 Tennessee, while the Buckeyes take on No. 8 Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)


FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2016, file photo, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst walks the sidelines in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. Clearly, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan have been the class of the Big Ten so far. No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 10 Nebraska, though, will get a chance to prove the conference isn't the Big Two and Little Eight like it used to be years ago with the Buckeyes and Wolverines playing on another level. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File)


FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2016, file photo, Nebraska head coach Mike Riley watches from the sideline before an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb. Clearly, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan have been the class of the Big Ten so far. No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 10 Nebraska, though, will get a chance to prove the conference isn't the Big Two and Little Eight like it used to be years ago with the Buckeyes and Wolverines playing on another level. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)


Ohio State at Wisconsin Capsule

By The Associated Press

No. 2 Ohio State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 8 Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1), 8 p.m. (ABC)

Line: Ohio State by 9½.

Series Record: Ohio State leads 57-18-5

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Buckeyes can pad their playoff resume with a win in what could be their toughest remaining road game, in prime time at raucous Camp Randall Stadium. Trips to unranked Penn State, Maryland and Michigan State also loom on schedule. Playing a third straight top-10 opponent, Wisconsin can solidify its status as Big Ten contender by pulling off an upset at home.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett vs. Wisconsin linebackers. Buckeyes’ do-it-all quarterback can hurt a defense through the air or on the ground. The front seven, particularly, the linebackers, is the strength of Wisconsin’s defense, even with top OLB Vince Biegel sidelined by foot injury. Active OLB T.J. Watt and Biegel’s replacement, Garrett Dooley must set edges and be patient to limit Barrett’s running options, while ILBs Jack Cichy and T.J. Edwards will need stout efforts against nation’s third-best rush offense (323.6 yards per game).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ohio State: RB Mike Weber. Big Ten’s leading rusher (113.2 yards) coming off is lowest output of season after rushing for 71 on 15 carries against Indiana, though he did have two touchdowns.

Wisconsin: RB Corey Clement. The Badgers’ best breakaway threat has eclipsed 100 yards in a game once this season, when he had 111 on 21 carries against Akron in Week 2. Injuries to top two players at left guard have created shuffling along line.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State is playing the first of four straight night games. … Barrett needs three more touchdowns, rushing or passing, to break QB Braxton Miller’s career school record (88). … Ohio State has won school-record 19 straight true road games (played on opponent’s home field), longest such streak in nation. … First prime-time meeting between teams in Madison since Wisconsin’s 31-18 upset win over the then top-ranked Buckeyes in 2010. … Wisconsin defense has allowed a total of three touchdowns and two field goals in the first three meetings with top 10 teams this season.

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AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org

Some things to watch in the Big Ten on Saturday:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 8 Wisconsin. This is the first meeting of the teams since the Buckeyes rolled the Badgers 59-0 in the 2014 Big Ten championship game. Cardale Jones started that game at QB for Ohio State in place of an injured J.T. Barrett and led the Buckeyes to the national championship. Barrett goes into Saturday looking to strengthen his Heisman Trophy candidacy after last week’s poor passing performance against Indiana. The stakes are especially high for Wisconsin . A victory would give the Badgers, for the first time, three wins in the same season against top-10 opponents. However, a loss in this game, two weeks after their loss at Michigan, would all but end their College Football Playoff hopes.

BEST MATCHUP

Northwestern at Michigan State. These two teams are the biggest underachievers in the Big Ten, so why is this the best matchup? Both are desperate to save their seasons. The Wildcats are 2-1 in their last three and coming off a road win against Iowa two weeks ago. But they’ve been beaten by West leader Nebraska and can afford no more losses if they hope to keep pace in the division. The Spartans, meanwhile, are 0-2 in the conference, have lost three straight and are unsettled at quarterback . For the defending Big Ten champions, it’s all about securing the best possible bowl destination.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Ohio State is third nationally in scoring (53.2 points per game) and second in points allowed (10.8 ppg). The Buckeyes remain the only FBS team to not allow a rushing touchdown. … Nebraska has gained at least 400 yards in seven straight games, the Huskers’ longest streak since 2012. … Iowa heads to Purdue on an eight-game road win streak that is the Hawkeyes’ longest since 1920-23. … Purdue is going for back-to-back victories for the first time since 2012 and its first home win over Iowa since 2007. … Minnesota’s Conor Rhoda, expected to start in place of injured Mitch Leidner at Maryland, has completed 1 of 2 career passes for 6 yards. … Illinois’ Chase McLaughlin had made the first 22 kicks of his career (8 FGs, 14 PATs) before he missed in the final seconds of regulation against Purdue last week. … Five players have taken a snap behind center this season for Rutgers: Chris Laviano, Janarion Grant, Giovanni Rescigno, Tylin Oden and Zach Allen.

LONG SHOT

Rutgers is a six-point underdog at home against Illinois. The Scarlet Knights have been outscored a combined 136-0 by Ohio State and Michigan the last two weeks. If first-year Rutgers coach Chris Ash can get his players’ minds right, the Illini present their best chance for a conference win. Illinois is coming off a loss at home to Purdue and faces uncertainty at quarterback after Wes Lunt was knocked out of that game in the second quarter.

PLAYER TO WATCH

QB Richard Lagow is the key to Indiana’s bid to beat a top-10 opponent for the first time since 1987. He enters his home game against 10th-ranked Nebraska with a Big Ten-leading 15.7 yards per completion and 292 yards a game. He has 11 passing TDs, one rushing and one receiving. Other than a brutal five-interception game against Wake Forest, Lagow has lived up to expectations in his first year as successor to Nate Sudfeld.

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Online:

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

FILE – In this Dec. 6, 2014 file photo, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer runs onto the field with his team at the start of the Big Ten Conference championship NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Indianapolis. If No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Ohio State are going to lose this season, this would be an excellent week to do so. The Crimson Tide taken on No. 9 Tennessee, while the Buckeyes take on No. 8 Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_112977829-2fd1386df04e48469894b3b7aa6f3bf4.jpgFILE – In this Dec. 6, 2014 file photo, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer runs onto the field with his team at the start of the Big Ten Conference championship NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Indianapolis. If No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Ohio State are going to lose this season, this would be an excellent week to do so. The Crimson Tide taken on No. 9 Tennessee, while the Buckeyes take on No. 8 Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

FILE – In this Oct. 1, 2016, file photo, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst walks the sidelines in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. Clearly, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan have been the class of the Big Ten so far. No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 10 Nebraska, though, will get a chance to prove the conference isn’t the Big Two and Little Eight like it used to be years ago with the Buckeyes and Wolverines playing on another level. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_112977829-4a124c7b271f4ea096922d4ba85f5b04.jpgFILE – In this Oct. 1, 2016, file photo, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst walks the sidelines in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. Clearly, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan have been the class of the Big Ten so far. No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 10 Nebraska, though, will get a chance to prove the conference isn’t the Big Two and Little Eight like it used to be years ago with the Buckeyes and Wolverines playing on another level. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File)

FILE – In this Sept. 3, 2016, file photo, Nebraska head coach Mike Riley watches from the sideline before an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb. Clearly, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan have been the class of the Big Ten so far. No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 10 Nebraska, though, will get a chance to prove the conference isn’t the Big Two and Little Eight like it used to be years ago with the Buckeyes and Wolverines playing on another level. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_112977829-47873b9f039542568963a8974bc73643.jpgFILE – In this Sept. 3, 2016, file photo, Nebraska head coach Mike Riley watches from the sideline before an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb. Clearly, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan have been the class of the Big Ten so far. No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 10 Nebraska, though, will get a chance to prove the conference isn’t the Big Two and Little Eight like it used to be years ago with the Buckeyes and Wolverines playing on another level. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

By Eric Olson

AP College Football Writer

Ohio State at Wisconsin Capsule

By The Associated Press

No. 2 Ohio State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 8 Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1), 8 p.m. (ABC)

Line: Ohio State by 9½.

Series Record: Ohio State leads 57-18-5

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Buckeyes can pad their playoff resume with a win in what could be their toughest remaining road game, in prime time at raucous Camp Randall Stadium. Trips to unranked Penn State, Maryland and Michigan State also loom on schedule. Playing a third straight top-10 opponent, Wisconsin can solidify its status as Big Ten contender by pulling off an upset at home.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett vs. Wisconsin linebackers. Buckeyes’ do-it-all quarterback can hurt a defense through the air or on the ground. The front seven, particularly, the linebackers, is the strength of Wisconsin’s defense, even with top OLB Vince Biegel sidelined by foot injury. Active OLB T.J. Watt and Biegel’s replacement, Garrett Dooley must set edges and be patient to limit Barrett’s running options, while ILBs Jack Cichy and T.J. Edwards will need stout efforts against nation’s third-best rush offense (323.6 yards per game).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ohio State: RB Mike Weber. Big Ten’s leading rusher (113.2 yards) coming off is lowest output of season after rushing for 71 on 15 carries against Indiana, though he did have two touchdowns.

Wisconsin: RB Corey Clement. The Badgers’ best breakaway threat has eclipsed 100 yards in a game once this season, when he had 111 on 21 carries against Akron in Week 2. Injuries to top two players at left guard have created shuffling along line.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State is playing the first of four straight night games. … Barrett needs three more touchdowns, rushing or passing, to break QB Braxton Miller’s career school record (88). … Ohio State has won school-record 19 straight true road games (played on opponent’s home field), longest such streak in nation. … First prime-time meeting between teams in Madison since Wisconsin’s 31-18 upset win over the then top-ranked Buckeyes in 2010. … Wisconsin defense has allowed a total of three touchdowns and two field goals in the first three meetings with top 10 teams this season.

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AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org

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