Lions Still in Hunt for Big Ten Title

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With its last-minute, 1-0 victory over Northwestern in double overtime Oct. 21, Penn State men's soccer clawed its way back in the running for the 2012 Big Ten regular-season title. The Nittany Lions (9-4-2, 3-1-1 B1G) top the conference standings with 10 points, edging rivals Indiana (3-1-0 B1G) and Northwestern (3-1-0 B1G) by a single point.

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While the Nittany Lions have just one conference clash remaining against Ohio State, the Hoosiers and Wildcats will play two more matches, including a Nov. 1 matchup between the teams in Bloomington, Ind., to close the regular season. With multiple variables still yet to be set, the Lions' hunt for their first Big Ten title since 2005 is still alive.

For each of the following scenarios, Penn State must defeat the Buckeyes at Jeffrey Field Sunday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Northwestern visits Madison, Wis., for a showdown with Wisconsin at 1 p.m. Sunday, while Indiana faces Michigan State at the same time in East Lansing, Mich. If both the Wildcats and Hoosiers lose, the Nittany Lions would be declared Big Ten champions, while a tie by both teams would result in at least a share of the conference crown for the Blue and White.

A second scenario involves either one of the teams losing this weekend, but winning the Nov. 1 matchup. For example, if Indiana loses to Michigan State Sunday, but defeats Northwestern in the final regular-season match, Penn State would be the conference champion. The same situation exists if Northwestern loses to Wisconsin before downing Indiana.

In the event of a tie with Ohio State, Penn State would need Indiana and Northwestern to lose their games this weekend and tie each other Nov. 1 to collect the Big Ten championship. With a loss to Ohio State, the Nittany Lions would need the same sequence of events to share the title with Indiana and Northwestern. 

With the win over Northwestern, Penn State finished the 2012 season undefeated on the road in Big Ten action with a 2-0-1 record, the first time it has done so since finishing 6-0-0 in the conference in 2005. The Lions opened conference play with a 1-0 victory over Wisconsin on the road Sept. 21 before battling to a 1-1 draw with Michigan Oct. 6. After a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in double overtime against Indiana at home Sept. 29, Penn State rebounded with a 2-1 win over Michigan at Jeffrey Field Oct. 14.

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