EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — No. 4 Ohio State visits No. 16 Northwestern on Saturday night in a game that features one team looking to extend the nation's longest active win streak and another seeking that signature victory.
What better way to do it than with a prime-time audience watching?
"It's why we come to Ohio State," Ohio State defensive lineman Michael Bennett said. "Big games, night games are awesome. We play really well on the road. I don't how many places can say they have back-to-back night games which are huge games."
The Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big) have won 17 straight since dropping four in a row to close out the 2011 season and are eyeing a national championship after going undefeated in coach Urban Meyer's first year. However, they were banned from a bowl game in 2012 because of NCAA sanctions stemming from the tattoo scandal.
Now they're coming off a 31-24 win over Wisconsin, and they're staring at another big hurdle, a team that wants to show it can beat the best in the Big Ten.
A win over the Buckeyes would do just that for the Wildcats (4-0, 0-0).
They cleared one big hurdle last year when they went 10-3 and won a bowl game for the first time since the 1948 team captured the Rose Bowl, and beating Ohio State would be another big feather for Pat Fitzgerald's program.
The last time Northwestern knocked off a Top-five team, Dwight Eishenhower was in the White House. The Wildcats opened the 1959 season with a win over No. 2 Oklahoma and took out No. 5 Iowa a week later, but they haven't beaten a team ranked that high since then.
"This is why you come to play Big Ten football and Division I football," Northwestern defensive lineman Tyler Scott said. "This is where we want our program to be at, to have this hype and this game."
Here are five things to watch in the game:
SAFETY VALVE: Buckeyes safety Christian Bryant broke his left ankle late in the Wisconsin game and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. With the defensive leader out, Ohio State was looking at Corey Brown, Tyvis Powell or Vonn Bell as replacements this week, and a short-handed secondary could open up the passing game for Northwestern.