No. 6 Wisconsin (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) and No. 7 Penn State (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten) meet in Indianapolis on Saturday in a Big Ten championship matchup almost no one predicted.
Both teams are riding win streaks that allowed them to pass some of the more likely candidates on their respective sides of the conference for the spots in the big game.
Penn State is new to the event, but the appearance in Indy marks the Badgers’ fourth in six years since the Big Ten Championship Game’s inception in 2011.
Wisconsin vs. Penn State game time, details
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3
Time: 7:17 p.m. CT/8:17 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
The line: Wisconsin is a 3-point favorite.
What TV channel broadcasts Wisconsin vs. Penn State?
Fox will televise the meeting between the teams.
How can I watch Wisconsin vs. Penn State?
The game will be streamed live on FoxSportsGo.com as well as on the FoxSportsGo mobile app.
How can I listen to Wisconsin vs. Penn State on the radio?
Compass Media will broadcast the game online or on Sirius/XM 81. Badger Sports Network will also cover the game for Wisconsin. You can listen at BadgerSportsNetwork.com or on the iHeartRadio app (search WIBA) or on Sirius 93/XM 196. Click here for a list of all Wisconsin radio affiliates. For Penn State, you can listen at GoPSUSports.com. Click here for all other Penn State radio affiliates.
Who is calling the game for Fox?
Gus Johnson will handle the play-by-play for Fox with Joel Klatt as the analyst. Shannon Spake will be on the sideline.
Wisconsin vs. Penn State keys to the game
It’s likely going to be tough to run the ball against Wisconsin’s defense, but if Penn State can’t give quarterback Trace McSorley time to throw this game will not be in doubt for very long. The offensive line has been much improved since Michigan destroyed it in Week 4, but this might be the best pass rush it has seen since that game.
One chunk at a time
Penn State has needed “chunk” plays to move the ball against almost every opponent, and finding big gains is going to be paramount. The Nittany Lions have struggled to piece together efficient drives, and that’s not likely to change against the Badgers. Hit on enough big plays and it might lead to a Big Ten title.
Dome, sweet dome
One of Penn State’s underlying success stories this season has been outstanding work from punter Blake Gillikin, kickoff specialist Joey Julius and placekicker Tyler Davis. Gillikin and Julius haven’t had a chance to kick for Penn State indoors before, so booming boots that affect field position could be quite helpful.
Back to basics
Wisconsin’s defense has proven it’s worthy of being ranked seventh nationally over and over this season, but the wheels came off a bit last week against Minnesota. The Badgers pass defense was playing catch-up all game, and if it wasn’t for a huge fourth quarter filled with interceptions the game likely would have ended much differently. The Badgers need to find a way — and fast — back to ol’ reliable if they’re going to make a stand against a high-scoring Penn State team.
Stand by (and in front of) Houston
The fifth-year senior quarterback might be throwing solo against Penn State, something he hasn’t had to do since head coach Paul Chryst started splitting game time between Houston and Alex Hornibrook back in September. Hornibrook was listed as questionable on the Badgers injury report this week after taking a hard hit from the Gophers last weekend. Houston finished strong and gave Wisconsin the win with good protection from his offensive line. Houston will have to be at his best, and his O-line even better, to give him time to hit his favorite target, Jazz Peavy.
This goes for both teams. If one side or the other is up in the fourth quarter, this is not a time for conservative runs up the middle or milking the clock. If one of these teams wants to make a case for a College Football Playoff spot, it’s going to need to look as impressive as possible. If that means tacking on an extra score or two late, then so be it. Sportsmanship is not one of the categories on the list for the playoff selection committee.