No. 5 Ohio State (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) at Indiana (2-4, 0-3), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT (ABC).
Line: Ohio State by 21 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Ohio State leads 77-12-5.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
As the weeks pass and the upsets mount, the Buckeyes are ascending in the polls. They’re up to No. 5 this week, are one of three Big Ten East Division teams still unbeaten in league play and on the verge of being in the playoff discussion. But it’s all contingent on the Buckeyes continuing to win. Indiana, meanwhile, opened this season by pointing to this contest as a potential ticket to the conference championship game. Instead, they’re simply trying to prove they can finally beat the Buckeyes.
Hoosiers receivers vs. Ohio State defense. Indiana has had multiple problems on offense but one of the biggest has been drops. Coach Tom Allen even brought it up publicly after last weekend’s loss to No. 10 Michigan State. Despite recording nine interceptions this season, the Buckeyes rank near the bottom of the Big Ten against the pass. Indiana must clean up the catches and take advantage of the Buckeyes secondary to have any chance.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ohio State: QB C.J. Stroud. The freshman phenom has played lights out, leading the Big Ten in passer efficiency rating (191.2) while working with the dynamic receiving combination of Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. This week, he needs to take advantage of an Indiana secondary that has been severely depleted by injuries.
Indiana: WR Ty Fryfogle. Last season’s Big Ten receiver of the year has struggled to duplicate that success. Sure, he has 33 receptions, 337 yards and one TD. But it’s the missed opportunities that have created consternation. Fryfogle must become a more consistent pass-catcher in the second half of the season.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Buckeyes have won 26 straight in this series, dating to a tie in 1990 though they did vacate a 2010 victory. It’s the nation’s longest active winning streak in a head-to-head series. … Only one Big Ten player, Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez, has more rushing touchdowns than Ohio State RB TreVeyon Henderson (nine). … Wilson and Olave have combined for 61 receptions, 1,040 yards and 13 TDs. … The Buckeyes are ranked in the bottom half of the conference in rushing defense (131.3 yards per game) and passing defense (256.0). … All four of Indiana’s losses have come to teams currently ranked in the top 11 — No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Michigan State and No. 11 Iowa. … The Hoosiers haven’t beaten Ohio State since posting back-to-back victories in 1987 and 1988. … Indiana’s 13 touchdowns are tied with Illinois for a league-low.
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