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Ohio State-Northwestern Preview Capsule

No. 4 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at No. 16 Northwestern (4-0, 0-0) , 8 p.m. (ABC)

Line: Ohio State by 7.

Series record: Ohio State leads, 59-14-1.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

With 17 straight wins, Ohio State is trying to keep the longest active streak in the nation going and strengthen its position in the national championship race. The Buckeyes are coming off a 31-24 win over Wisconsin. Northwestern is looking to prove it can beat the best in the Big Ten, the next step for a program that's established itself as a consistent winner.

KEY MATCHUP

Northwestern's receivers against safeties Corey Brown, Tyvis Powell or Vonn Bell. All three were being evaluated this week as potential replacements for Christian Bryant, the defensive leader who broke his left ankle late in the Wisconsin game and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ohio State: QB Braxton Miller: Matched a career-high with four touchdown passes last week after missing the previous two games with a sprained left knee. He's Ohio State's all-time leading rusher among QBs with 2,151 yards.

Northwestern: RB Venric Mark. After missing three games with a lower body injury, Mark is expected back. He ran for 1,366 yards and 12 TDs and was a major contributor returning punts and kickoffs last season.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Both teams are scoring plenty of points, with Ohio State sixth in the nation at 48.2 per game and Northwestern averaging 41.2. ... The Buckeyes have won four straight and 28 of 29 against Northwestern. The most recent win for the Wildcats was on Oct. 2, 2004. ... Coach Urban Meyer last faced Northwestern in 2001 when he was in his first season at Bowling Green, a 43-42 win for the Falcons in Evanston, Ill. ... Ohio State has pounded teams 116-21 in the first quarter but has been outscored 17-10 in the fourth. ... The Buckeyes are averaging 501.2 yards on offense while giving up 304 per game. ... Northwestern's last win over team ranked fourth or higher came against No. 2 Oklahoma in the 1959 season opener. The Wildcats took out No. 5 Iowa a week later and haven't beaten a Top-five team since ... The last time Northwestern hosted an opponent ranked this high was when No. 1 Ohio State visited in 2006.

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