No. 21 Penn State and Wisconsin look to avoid 4-loss seasons
Wisconsin (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) at No. 21 Penn State (6-3, 3-3, CFP No. 20), noon EST (FOX).
Line: Penn State by 9.
Series record: Tied 9-9.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Nittany Lions haven’t lost more than three games since 2015, the last season they failed to finish in the Top 25. They’ll try to avoid getting bounced from the rankings and hang on to hope of playing on New Year’s day with a strong finish. The Badgers still have a shot at winning the West Division, a game behind Northwestern with three weeks to play.
Penn State’s front seven vs. Wisconsin’s running game. Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor is averaging 151 yards per game with 11 touchdowns. He’s been especially strong coming out after halftime where he’s averaging 6.4 yards per carry in the third quarter. Minimizing Taylor’s impact has to be a priority for a defense that’s on pace to defend 961 plays after being on the field for 898 all of last season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wisconsin: QB Jack Coan could make his second career start if Alex Hornibrook, who suffered a concussion last week against Rutgers, is ruled out. Coan has been solid with a 66 percent completion rate, 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns in two games. His other start also came on the road, came two weeks ago at Northwestern.
Penn State: RB Miles Sanders. Penn State’s offense has been stagnant lately and Sanders could provide a boost, especially if QB Trace McSorley still struggles with his knee injury. Sanders hasn’t been as involved since he caught six passes in a 21-touch effort on Oct. 20.
FACTS & FIGURES
Penn State has won three straight in the series including a 38-31 in the 2016 Big Ten title game. . Penn State was held to seven points at Michigan last week, the first time the Nittany Lions were held to single digits since Sept. 27, 2014. … McSorley (13.47) and Hornibrook (13.43) are No. 1 and 2 in the Big Ten, respectively, in yards per completion. . Heavy rain is expected to hit Happy Valley for most of the day Friday and has prompted Penn State to close most of its grass tailgating lots for the second time this season.