SEC & Big Ten Week 13 Preview: Nittany Lions, Buckeyes take center stage
No. 8 Penn State (9-1) at No. 2 Ohio State (10-0) at Noon on FOX
Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Penn State will meet on the gridiron for the 35th time this Saturday afternoon at the Horseshoe. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series against the Nittany Lions, 19-14, and the past three games between these two programs were decided by a total of five points.
This weekend’s matchup will also mark the tenth instance of Ohio State and Penn State meeting with both teams ranked in the Top 10. The Buckeyes have won six of the previous nine Top-10 matchups between the schools, including each of the last two meetings.
The Buckeyes enter the game leading the nation in total defense (216.4 yards/game), passing defense (126.0 yards/game) and scoring defense (9.8 points/game), while Penn State ranks fourth in rushing defense (75.9 yards/ game) and 17th in total defense (316.2 yards/game).
However, offense will also be on display as Ohio State (51.5 points per game) and Penn State (36.8 points per game) boast the top two scoring offenses in the Big Ten, while quarterbacks Justin Fields (24.6 point per game) and Sean Clifford (16.4 points per game) lead the Big Ten in points responsible for.
Now let’s take a closer look at the teams:
Penn State Quick Hits:
- The Nittany Lions are allowing just 75.9 yards per game on the ground, good for fourth in the nation.
- Penn State ranks seventh nationally in scoring defense (13.5 points/game) and 17th in total defense (316.2 yards/game).
- Wideout, KJ Hamler ranks fourth in all-purpose yards per game (128.1) and receiving yards (791).
- Penn State is facing its fifth Associated Press Top 25-ranked opponent in the last six games, marking its most difficult stretch of games since the AP Poll began in 1936.
- Penn State is 2-1 when playing No. 2-ranked Ohio State teams, earning wins in 1964 (27-0; away) and 2016 (24- 21; home), and coming up short in 1976 (12-7; home).
- Click here for Penn State’s complete game notes.
- Click here for the Nittany Lions’ week 13 depth chart.
Ohio State Quick Hits:
- Ohio State will be playing at a College GameDay site for the 46th time, second most of any program in the country. The Buckeyes are 32-13 all-time in “GameDay” games.
- The Buckeyes defense has produced 22 takeaways, and the Buckeyes have scored on 17 of the ensuing possessions.
- Ohio State has won 14 of its last 17 games against teams ranked in the AP top 10, including six consecutive victories.
- The Buckeyes have won 28 of their last 30 games played in the month of November
- Justin Fields has a 41-3 touchdown-to-turnover ratio this year, including a 31-to-1 passing touchdown to interception ratio.
- Chase Young, who leads the nation with 1.69 sacks per game, will return to the field this week after sitting out the past two games.
- Click here for Ohio State’s complete game notes.
Now let’s take a closer look at some of the other top games in the SEC and Big Ten this weekend:
Texas A&M (7-3) at No. 4 Georgia (9-1) at 3:30 p.m. on CBS
The ‘Dawgs defense currently leads the SEC in scoring defense, allowing only 10.5 points-per-game (2nd nationally), and also ranks highly in rushing defense at 75.5 yards-per-game (3rd nationally) and in total defense at 267.2 yards-per-game (6th nationally).
Arkansas (2-8) at No. 1 LSU (10-0) at 7 p.m. on ESPN
The high-powered Tigers offense is led by Heisman hopeful Joe Burrow, who ranks second in the nation in passing yards (3,687), passing yards per game (368.7), passing TDs (38), and points responsible for (248).
Tennessee (5-5) at Missouri (5-5) at 7:30 p.m. on SECN
Although both teams are sitting at 5-5, the Tigers are entering Saturday’s matchup looking to end a four-game losing streak; the Vols are riding a three-game win streak and have won four of their past five.
No. 10 Minnesota (9-1) at Northwestern (2-8) at Noon on ABC
The Golden Gophers are looking to secure the program’s sixth 10-win season. A victory would give them their first 10-win season since 2003 (10-3), and only their second since 1905 (10-1).
Illinois (6-4) at No. 17 Iowa (7-3) at Noon on BTN
The Illini are on a four-game winning streak for the first time since starting the 2011 season 6-0 and are looking to avenge a 63-0 loss to the Hawkeyes last year — the largest margin of victory in the 74-game series between the two programs.
Michigan State (4-6) at Rutgers (2-8) at Noon on FS1
Saturday’s matchup will mark the 11th meeting between the Spartans and the Scarlet Knights. Michigan state holds a 7-3 series lead, including a 5-0 record against Rutgers in Big Ten play.
No. 13 Michigan (8-2) at Indiana (7-3) at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
Indiana is 4-1 at home this year (its best mark since 1993), but the Wolverines enter Saturday’s matchup holding a 58-9 series lead, a run that includes 23 straight wins over the Hoosiers.
Nebraska (4-6) at Maryland (3-7) at 3:30 p.m. on BTN
This will be the Huskers’ first-ever trip to Maryland, and just the second meeting between the two schools since becoming members of the Big Ten. Nebraska defeated the Terps 28-7 in Lincoln in 2016 in the only previous matchup between the teams.
Purdue (4-6) at No. 12 Wisconsin (8-2) at 4 p.m. on FOX
Jonathan Taylor currently ranks second all-time in rushing among Big Ten players with 5,634 career yards, and needs just 20 more to break Donnel Pumphrey’s FBS record for most rushing yards in a 3-year span.