Northwestern is looking to start 5-0 for the second time in school history, while Ohio State has won 17 games in a row, something has to break.
For Ohio State to win they will need to stop the run. They do a solid job at this already, where they only allow 85 yards per game, and Northwestern is a running team. They average 250 yards per game, they get Venric Mark back, who has been out the last three games with a leg injury, but Treyvon Green has performed well in his absence. Quarterback Kain Colter also can take off and run. Last week Ohio State stopped Wisconsin who averaged 300 yards on ground to a season low 104. OSU lost star safety Christian Bryant to a broken ankle, so the hole will be filled by Corey Brown, Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell.
For Northwestern to win they will need to hold off the storm that the Buckeyes bring. They start fast as they have outscored their opponents 216-21 in the first quarter. They are playing at home in Ryan Field, they will want to keep the crowd motivated. If Ohio State rockets off to a quick start then it can get ugly fast, and shut down the crazies. Colter is very important to Northwestern start. He can do it all, run-catch-throw, they will need him to keep the Buckeyes at bay.
Ohio State has blown out Northwestern the last three games outscoring them by 130 points, and the last thing head coach Pat Fitzgerald is going to want to see is his 16th ranked Wildcats suffer another big defeat especially on ESPN’s College Game Day nationally televised event. The Buckeyes beat the Wildcats 54-10 in 2006, 58-7 in 2007and 45-10 in 2008 all under Fitzgerald.
‘You embrace whatever comes along in college football.” Fitzgerald said. “Nothing changes for us this week. Our routine is our routine. It’s an embrace-the-improvement mentality.”
Northwestern is on the verge of starting 5-0 in two straight seasons since 1904-05 seasons, but to do so they will need to defeat the mighty Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten), who are led by head coach Urban Meyer.
The Buckeyes got a lift last week when quarterback Braxton Miller returned. He had 198 yards passing on 17 completions with four touchdowns, He also added another 83 yards on the ground. The Wildcats defense will need to step it up to contain him.
Northwestern is tied for third in the country with 10 interceptions. and four have been returned for touchdowns. Meyer stated about the Wildcats defense “They are not going to give up the big one and are going to force you to make a mistake.” This however will not keep Ohio State from going deep. They have 19 touchdown passes which is second most in the country, and Northwestern ranks 117th out of 123 FBS teams with an average of 309 passing yards allowed per game.
The last victory for Northwestern against Ohio State came in October of 2004 where they won at home 33-27.
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