Ohio State vs. Northwestern prediction and game preview. The Buckeyes try to bounce back from their first loss when they host the Wildcats on Saturday.
Ohio State vs. Northwestern Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – 3:30 ET
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus.
TV Broadcast: ESPN
One of the biggest stunners of the college football season happened Saturday night in Happy Valley as Ohio State fell, 24-21, to Penn State. It marked the Buckeyes’ first true road loss since coach Urban Meyer took over and dropped them from No. 2 to No. 6 in the AP Top 25. The damage to their College Football Playoff hopes remains to be seen, though, as they still have a good chance to go unbeaten the rest of the way and accomplish their goal.
Northwestern will try to make sure that doesn’t happen. The Wildcats have won three in a row while averaging 38.7 points, way up from the 16.3 they averaged during a 1-3 start. Two of those victories have come on the road, but Northwestern hasn’t won in Columbus since 1971.
What To Know About Ohio State
Meyer is 56-5 at Ohio State, so having to recover from a loss is rare, and has said players have quickly moved forward, mainly because they didn’t play a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. The Buckeyes outgained Penn State 413-276, held the ball for 14.5 more minutes and forced a turnover. The poor execution on the blocked field goal that resulted in the deciding touchdown is all that really stood out.
One has to believe that Curtis Samuel will carry the ball more than twice against the Wildcats in this contest. One of those carries last week went for a 74-yard touchdown, and he did have eight receptions. Look for Samuel to get more touches and be a bigger part of the offense this week.
What To Know About Northwestern.
Pat Fitzgerald’s team has come a long way since losing to Western Michigan and scoring seven points in a loss to FCS foe Illinois State in the first two weeks of the season. Wins at Iowa and at Michigan State were impressive before hanging on to beat Indiana, 24-14, at home last week. Justin Jackson has carried the offensive load during the winning streak, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns.
The biggest concern is whether the Wildcats can stop the Buckeyes’ offense. Their last three opponents haven’t surpassed 84 yards rushing, but that’s mainly because teams are attacking Northwestern through the air. It is last in the Big Ten in pass defense allowing 282.4 yards per game with opponents attempting an average of 40.4 throws, also the most in the conference.
Offense: Ohio State – J.T. Barrett leads a unit that’s averaging a Big Ten-high 6.4 yards per play.
Defense: Ohio State – The Buckeyes rank fifth in the nation in total defense allowing 278.4 yards per contest.
Special Teams: Even – Ohio State has some things to fix on this front.
Coaching: Ohio State – Meyer is not only one of the nation’s best coaches, he’s also built a great staff around him.
Intangibles: Ohio State – Northwestern has lost 14 straight games at The Horseshoe.
Matchup To Watch
Barrett vs. Northwestern’s pass defense
Teams have made no secret about attacking the Wildcats through the air. Barrett has struggled a bit in the passing game over the last three games, though, completing less than 60 percent of his throws while throwing two interceptions. He also was sacked six times against Penn State.
Spread: Ohio State -25.5
Over/Under: No line as of post
Ohio State vs. Northwestern Prediction
Samuel plays a bigger role this week and scores twice, Barrett tosses three touchdowns and Ohio State makes quick work of the Wildcats in a bounce-back victory.
Ohio State vs. Northwestern final score prediction: Ohio State 42, Northwestern 14.