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Perhaps the biggest game of the college football season comes to Columbus on Saturday afternoon, as No. 6 Ohio State hosts No. 2 Penn State in a game that has massive Big Ten and College Football Playoff implications.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Fox. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch Fox online, on your phone or on another streaming device via one of the following over-the-top, cable-free, live-TV streaming services. They cost a monthly fee but all come with a free trial, so you can watch the game for free if you’re in a select market:
FuboTV: Fox (live in 70-plus markets) is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package. It costs $19.99 per month for the first two months and $39.99 per month after that, but it comes with a free 7-day trial. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app
DirecTV Now: Fox (live in 39 markets) is included in all four channel packages. They range from $35 to $70 per month, but it comes with a free 7-day trial. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app
Sling TV: Fox (live in 17 markets) is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package. It costs $25 per month, but it comes with a free 7-day trial. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app
You’d be hard-pressed to find a game bigger than this in October. Not only are Penn State and Ohio State both sitting at 4-0 in the conference and both fighting–along with Michigan State–for supremacy in the Big Ten East, but the outcome of this one will go a long way in helping shape the College Football Playoff.
A win for Penn State would leave just two major hurdles–next week’s trip to Lansing and the potential Big Ten championship–between the Nittany Lions and a spot in the Final Four. Ohio State, meanwhile, already has one defeat, meaning this is essentially a must-win game if they are going to return to the playoff for the third time in four years.
For the Buckeyes, getting payback on last year’s 24-21 loss at State College.
“Sure. Is revenge a motivator? Yeah, it is,” Urban Meyer said.
When the Nittany Lions have the ball, all eyes, of course, will be on potential No. 1 pick Saquon Barkley. The explosive running back leads the country in all-purpose yards, he’s a threat as a rusher and receiver, and he has has gashed Ohio State for 293 yards on 38 carries (7.71 YPC) in two previous meetings.
“No question, he’s the best all-purpose guy we’ve probably faced in probably, maybe my career,” Meyer said. “He’s obviously a great running back. But they do a good job using him and creating matchup issues. I’d be careful to say this, but he’s as good an all-purpose running back we’ve seen. And that’s 30 years.”
You can bet, though, the Buckeyes will be up to the challenge, as they rank eighth in America in yards per carry allowed (2.9) and have allowed just one running back to top 60 yards (UNLV’s Lexington Thomas, who gained the majority of his 84 yards in the second half when the game was already decided) in the last four games.
On the other side of the ball, the big matchup is Penn State’s No. 1 ranked pass defense (5.2 yards per pass allowed), against JT Barrett, who has piled up an absurd 1,351 passing yards, 232 rushing yards, 22 total touchdowns and zero interceptions since the loss the Oklahoma.
Oddsmakers favor Ohio State by a pretty significant six points, likely largely due to home-field advantage, but in a game with stakes as high as this one, don’t be surprised if it comes down to the last possession.