College Football Writer
No. 7 Penn State visits No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday (noon ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) in the biggest game of the Big Ten football season so far.
What’s at stake? Quite a lot.
A loss won’t necessarily eliminate either team from the national championship picture, but it would make the road much more difficult because even getting to the Big Ten championship game is a difficult task coming out of the Big Ten East. Both Penn State and Ohio State still have to play No. 2 Michigan, and if one of the three doesn’t win out, the division could come down to tie-breakers.
But that can all be examined later.
For now, the Nittany Lions enter the contest having rolled over every opponent, though it should be noted that they haven’t had a serious test. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, already own big wins over Notre Dame and Maryland.
Ohio State has beaten Penn State six times in a row and has not lost at home to the Nittany Lions since 2011.
“We’re trying to find a way to get a win this week,” Penn State coach James Franklin said earlier this week. “This is a really important game. Why? Because of how we handled the previous six.”
Scroll below to catch up on everything you need to know heading into this epic contest. Then return here Saturday morning for “Big Noon Kickoff,” followed by my live in-game analysis on every key moment in the game.
No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 3 Ohio State
Penn State is still looking to build on that 2016 magic: A wild comeback against Ohio State in 2016 remains James Franklin’s greatest win. Seven years later, the Nittany Lions honor that moment, while also chasing the next step. Check out the story from Michael Cohen.
Ohio State vs. Penn State kicks off a Big Ten cage match that includes Michigan: This weekend’s Big Noon matchup opens a three-team Big Ten East round-robin that means these are essentially playoff games. Bryan Fischer has the story.
Can Dallan Hayden carry the load for the beat-up Buckeyes?: Injuries are a concern for the Buckeyes heading into Saturday’s showdown against Penn State, particularly at the running back position. Dallan Hayden might be asked to give a similar or better performance than he gave last week. Laken Litman has the story.
Ohio State needs offensive line to step up: Ohio State vs. Penn State is essentially a CFP play-in game, and the contest will likely be won in the trenches. Read more from RJ Young.
Penn State vs. Ohio State, USC vs. Utah: What we’re watching in Week 8: Can Penn State finally topple Ohio State? Can USC bounce back? Our college football experts break down the big Week 8 games. Read more.
Does Penn State have all the pieces? How James Franklin built for this moment: All the little program-building details, from culture to process to on-field talent, could finally be in place for Nittany Lions to be title contenders. Read more.
PREGAME NUMBERS TO KNOW
Top 2: Penn State and Ohio State have the top defenses in the FBS this season based on a yards-per-play basis.
11: The Nittany Lions have the longest active winning streak in the Big Ten and their longest since the 1998-99 season.
15: Penn State has won every game this season by this many points or more.
40: Penn State is the only FBS team averaging more than 40 PPG and holding opponents under 10 PPG this season.
2016: The last time Penn State beat Ohio State.
10: The number of wins by the Buckeyes over the Nittany Lions in the last 11 meetings.
6-0: Record for Ohio State for the fifth time in the last six seasons. The only exception was a 5-1 start in 2021.
308.0: The Buckeyes have the No. 1 passing offense in the Big Ten this season.
[More numbers to know in Week 8 games]
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And more reading around the sport …
Week 8 wagering: Chris “The Bear” Fallica shares predictions for his favorite Week 8 matchups. Read more.
The FOX Sports 2023 midseason All-America team: Halfway through what has been a wildly entertaining 2023 college football season, it’s time to recognize those who have stood out above the rest. Read more.
Is Michigan No. 1? ‘We’ve still got a lot more to prove,’ LaDarius Henderson says: Michigan offensive lineman shares thoughts on team’s lofty goals, what it’s like playing for Jim Harbaugh, and more! Read more.
NFL Draft: 10 elite defensive prospects to watch in Week 8’s marquee matchups: Penn State-Ohio State, USC-Utah feature well-known offensive standouts, but they’re also loaded with future NFL stars on defense. We break down the best. Rob Rang has the scouting report.
Bryan Fischer is a college football writer for FOX Sports. He has been covering college athletics for nearly two decades at outlets such as NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and NFL.com among others. Follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.
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