Ohio State vs. Northwestern prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen in Saturday’s battle between the Buckeyes and Wildcats.
I feel bad for Northwestern. I really do. If this game was being played in Evanston, I’d have some more faith in the Wildcats at least making this somewhat respectable. But the Buckeyes are going to roll at home after last week’s debacle against Penn State. J.T. Barrett is going to account for five total touchdowns, and the defense will stuff Justin Jackson and the rest of Northwestern’s attack.
There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Ohio State loses this game. I don’t care how much better Northwestern has looked over the past month, or the fact that Pat Fitzgerald’s team has learned how to score points. Ohio State can still win the conference, make the CFP and realistically win a national championship. Penn State was a blip on the radar. The Buckeyes come out motivated and hungry at The Horseshoe.
I have nothing but love for Pat Fitzgerald. He’s an excellent coach. Anthony Walker is a beast, too. I can’t wait to see how his draft stock does after the season. But the Wildcats have absolutely no chance here. Knowing how Urban Meyer coaches, there’s no way the Buckeyes come out flat after losing to Penn State. J.T. Barrett will rifle a few touchdowns. Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel will leave a slew of Wildcats in their dust. Ohio State wins this one by three possessions.
Ohio State has offensive line issues, is struggling to form a potent downfield passing attack and overall lacks an offensive identity. We have seen this before, and we have seen Urban Meyer’s team get back on track. That’s exactly what will happen this week against a Northwestern team that is playing its best football of the season. Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett will see some resistance from a solid Wildcats defense, but the overall talent and depth of the Buckeyes shine as they bounce back from the loss at Penn State.
Most pundits and prognosticators want to write this as an easy bounce back game for what is sure to be a fired-up Buckeyes team. I think it’ll play out a little differently. While the overall talent gap between the Buckeyes and Wildcats is glaring, the Wildcats have the players to exploit the same weakness Penn State took advantage of in their upset last week. Northwestern also boasts the Big Ten’s leading sack-master in former top 100 recruit Ifeadi Odenigbo, who could cause problems against a vulnerable OSU line.
At the end of the day J.T. Barrett and company will simply be too talented to suffer back-to-back losses, but it’ll be a lot closer than the 26-point line suggests.
Like almost everyone else in the world, I absolutely love Pat Fitzgerald. I seriously wouldn’t mind being a Mr. Belvedere to his three sons. With his money, I would take them on outings to Wrigley Field and the Chicago Zoo and I would become a part of the Fitz family.
But poor Fitzgerald and Northwestern this week. They will be facing an angry Ohio State team on the prowl for blood. Ohio State rolls in a blowout.