Who: No. 21 Northwestern (8-4, 8-1) vs. No. 6 Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten)
When: 8 p.m., Saturday
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Series history: Ohio State leads 61-14-1. The Buckeyes won the only previous neutral site game 34-3 in Cleveland in 1991. Northwestern’s only win since 1972 was a 33-27 overtime upset in Evanston in 2004.
Last game: Ohio State won 24-20 in Columbus in 2016.
Coaches: Ohio State’s Urban Meyer is 81-9 in six seasons as the coach of the Buckeyes and 185-32 overall in 17 seasons. 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year Pat Fitzgerald is 95-69 in 13 seasons at Northwestern.
RELATED: Haskins named Big Ten MVP
Ohio State notes: Ohio State is No. 2 nationally in total offense (543.9 yards per game) and No. 67th in total defense (398.8)… The Buckeyes are seventh (43.3 points per game) and 56th (25.8) in scoring… Sophomore linebacker Tuf Borland (Bolingbrook) is the only Ohio State player from Illinois… Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson held the same position at Northwestern from 1999-2001… Meyer has tied mentor Earle Bruce for fourth on Ohio State’s all-time coaching wins list… Ohio State is 21-7 all-time in games played indoors… Ohio State is aiming for its 38th Big Ten title (counting one vacated in 2010 because of NCAA sanctions) and second in a row. Michigan has the most with 42.
Northwestern notes: The Wildcats are 108th in the nation in scoring (23.7 points per game) and 111th in total offense (351.8)… Defensively, Northwestern is 29th in scoring (21.7 points per game allowed) and 48th in yards allowed per game (372.7)… The Wildcats have won nine in a row away from home… Clayton Thorson is the only quarterback in Big Ten history to pass for 10,000 yards and rush for 20 touchdowns in his career… Northwestern has 18 players from Ohio on its roster, including three with local roots: Running back Isaiah Bowser is from Sidney, kicker Charlie Kuhbander is from Springboro and linebacker Jango Glackin is from Lebanon but graduated from IMG Academy in Florida… Northwestern is playing for its ninth Big Ten championship and first since claiming a share of the 2000 title. The Wildcats were last undisputed champs in 1991.
Quoted: Fitzgerald on making the conference title game: “All you want is an opportunity and obviously our guys will have an opportunity of a lifetime in front of them here. I think they’ll be excited for the challenge and I think they’ll get themselves ready but we’re going to have to play clean. we’re going to have to execute and make plays but we’re going to have to grind it out because this is maybe as explosive a team as I have seen on tape in a long, long time.”
Next game: The winner will play the Pac-12 champion in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 — unless Ohio State wins and is chosen for the College Football Playoff. Northwestern has not played in the Rose Bowl since the end of the 1995 season; Ohio State last went in 2009.
Prediction: Ohio State 34, Northwestern 17
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