No. 1 Buckeyes visiting Indiana for a battle of unbeatens
Some things to watch in the Big Ten Conference during Week 5 of the season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 1 Ohio State at Indiana. Stretches of unimpressive football in September left lots of people wondering if the unbeaten Buckeyes truly are the best team in the land. The Big Ten opener takes them to Indiana – 4-0 for the first time since 1990 – for the most anticipated game in Bloomington in years. It’s hard to imagine Ohio State’s 19-game win streak over Indiana ending here. The Hoosiers can take heart even with a loss. They need only two more wins to become eligible for their first bowl since 2007.
BEST MATCHUP: Iowa offense vs. Wisconsin defense, and vice versa. This key West Division game in Madison figures to be what old-time Big Ten fans would call a slobber-knocker. Iowa’s offense has opened up with QB C.J. Beathard, but the Hawkeyes still run 60 percent of the time. Wisconsin allows just 82 yards a game on the ground. Iowa leads the Big Ten in red-zone offense; Wisconsin leads in red-zone defense. RBs Taiwan Deal and Dare Ogunbowale combine for 143 yards a game, and the Badgers have nine rushing touchdowns. The Hawks are yet to allow a rushing TD.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The last time Ohio State and Indiana met when both were unbeaten was 1942. The Paul Brown-coached Buckeyes won 32-21 in Columbus in a game that had five lead changes. Ohio State dumped its single-wing offense in favor of the T formation in the second half, outscored the Hoosiers 13-0 in the fourth quarter and went on to win the school’s first national championship. … Northwestern’s Justin Jackson, who ran 33 times for a career-high 189 yards against Ball State, has gone over 100 in nine of his last 11 games. … Michigan State’s 12 straight games with 30-plus points is the longest active streak in the FBS.
LONG SHOT: Maryland is a 15 1/2-point underdog when it hosts Michigan for the first time. The Terrapins beat the Wolverines 23-16 in Ann Arbor last year in the second-to-last game of the Brady Hoke era. Maryland, smarting from its 41-point beatdown at West Virginia, has won seven straight regular-season games when coming off a loss. Michigan is coming off a 31-0 win over BYU and has allowed 14 points since losing its opener at Utah.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. is playing the best ball of his career through four games. His 316.5 yards passing a game and 11 touchdowns lead the Big Ten. He got off to a slow start in his previous road game, at Miami, before leading a fourth-quarter comeback that fell short. The Cornhuskers will be looking for a steadier performance from him as they begin Big Ten play at Illinois.