Last week’s sputtering mess in Beaver Stadium wasn’t only horrifying it was unforeseeable.
This coming weekend (Saturday, October 29th at Ohio Stadium at 3:30 pm on ESPN the now 6-1 (3-1 Conference) meet up with the Northwestern Wildcats who are 4-3 (3-1 Conference). Gather the children, get out the microwaveable popcorn, and force feed them the paranoia-led steps they will need to comprehend and accept as they grow older and watch a Buckeyes game following a stunning, completely unexpected defeat.
The Ohio State Buckeyes stumbled and was slow out of the gate against Indiana, only to step up in the 2nd half. Against the Badgers of Wisconsin it took a dazzling second half led by J.T. Barrett to survive Wisconsin. Penn State’s game was an utter melt down of the special teams in a deviation of reality with the loss of last week.
That was bad, was it not? Now coming into Columbus arrive a red-hot Northwestern team to potentially make things worse.
The Buckeyes are a 24-point favorite. In this season thus far the Wildcats are 4-2 against the spread and their over/under record is 2-5-0. The Buckeyes have an over/under record of 3-4-0 and are 4-3 against the spread.
QB – Clayton Thorson in this season has 1,686 yards with 240.9 yards per game average. He has thrown 14 touchdowns, compared to tossing 5 interceptions. His QB rating is 129.9. Last week against a good Indiana team Thorson finished the day with 285 yards, completing 24 out of 43 attempts for a 56% completion percentage – in their 24-14 victory.
RB – Justin Jackson is the leader here. Thus far he has run 792 yards in 171 attempts with 113.1 yards per game average and 6 TD’s. In last week against Indiana he ran for 94 yards with 3.0 yards per carry.
Receiving – Austin Carr, a certain future NFLer, on the season has 50 receptions with 720 yards, 14.4 yards per catch average, and 6 TD’s. Against Indiana he hauled in 7 receptions for 125 yards.
As a team the Wildcats against the Hoosiers slammed 26 first downs – 8 of which came from the ground, 16 whipped through the air. They ran 88 total plays for 408 yards.
Northwestern scores 25.9 points per game on offense this season, which puts them 87th in Division 1. In the passing department, they average 20.6 passes on 35.6 attempts for a 57.8 percent completion percentage this season. They throw for a total of 241.1 yards per game through the air as well, which ranks them 52nd in college football. The Wildcats run for an average of 137.4 yards per game on 39.3 attempts for an average of 3.5 yards per carry. That ranks them 106th in the nation. They also run 74.9 plays per contest and average 5.1 yards per play for an average of 378.6 yards per game, ranking their offense 94th overall this season. The Wildcats average 21.1 first downs per game which ranks them 71st in the country. They accumulate 33.7 penalty yards per game via 4 penalties, which ranks 122nd in the nation.
Northwestern allows 282.4 passing yards per game, ranking 111th in D-1, and they allow 21.9 points per contest on defense, which ranks 34th. They give up 26 completions on 40.4 attempts per game for a completion percentage of 64.3. The Wildcats allow 132 rushing yards per game on 35.7 carries for an average of 3.7 yards per carry, which ranks their rush defense 33rd in the country. Northwestern allows 414.4 total yards per game including 5.4 yards per play, which ranks their overall defense 72nd in terms of yards per game. They force 1.6 turnovers per contest and get flagged for 5.6 penalties for 57.1 yards per game, ranking them 78th among D-1 teams.
QB – JT Barrett leads the Buckeyes with 1,452 yards in the air, for 207.4 yards per game average, 17 TD’s with 4 interceptions and a QB rating of 150.8. He also has dazzled on the ground with 460 yards. In the loss last with to the Nittany Lions he finished with 245 yards passing. He went 28 for 43, resulting in a 65% completion percentage.
RB – Mike Weber is our man on the ground. In 115 attempts he has ran 683 yards with 4 TD’s. In the ‘cry-in-your-beer’ loss last week he finished up with 71 yards on 21 carries.
Receiving – Curtis Samuel, Mr. Everything for the Buckeyes, has had 37 receptions for 471 yards, a 12.7 yards per game average, with 3 TD’s. In Beaver Stadium Curtis had 68 yards in 8 catches to lead the Buckeyes.
Ohio State averages 45.3 points per game this season on offense, which ranks them 5th in the country. In passing, they have completed 19.1 passes per game on 30 attempts for a 63.8 percent completion percentage. They throw for 220.1 yards through the air per game, ranking them 80th in Division 1. The Buckeyes run for an average of 281.6 yards per game on 48.4 attempts for an average of 5.8 yards per carry this season, which ranks them, 8th on the ground. They also run 78.4 plays per game and average 6.4 yards per play for a total of 501.7 yards per game, ranking them 13th in the country on offense. The Buckeyes get an average of 25 first downs per game, which ranks 18th in the nation. They average 62.9 penalty yards per game via 8 penalties, ranking them 38th in college football.
Ohio State allows an average of 158.7 passing yards per game, which ranks 5th in Division 1. Their defense overall allows 14.4 points per contest, which has them ranked 5th in the nation. They give up 13.4 completions on 29 attempts for a completion percentage of 46.3 per game. The Buckeyes allow 121.1 rushing yards per contest on 37.3 carries for a 3.2 average per rush, ranking their overall rush defense 24th in the country. Ohio State allows 279.9 total yards per game for an average of 4.2 yards per play, which ranks 5th in D-1. They force 2.1 turnovers per contest and 4 penalties for 31.4 yards in each contest, ranking 1st in the nation.
10/24/16 QB Clayton Thorson Upper Body injured last game, probable Saturday vs. Ohio State
10/24/16 CB Matthew Harris Undisclosed has left team
09/18/16 RB Warren Long Hand expected to miss 3-4 weeks
08/19/16 DB Keith Watkins II Knee out for season
Ohio State –
10/23/16 WR Corey Smith Wrist “?” Saturday vs. Northwestern
09/30/16 OL Demetrius Knox Foot expected to miss 6-8 weeks
09/26/16 WR K.J. Hill Ankle expected to miss 3-4 weeks
09/24/16 LB Justin Hilliard Undisclosed out for season
09/05/16 DL Tracy Sprinkle Leg out for season
08/31/16 DB Cam Burrows Foot out for season
08/29/16 QB Torrence Gibson Suspension out for season
08/19/16 DL Darius Slade Achilles out for season
These are only numbers that I posted above to show that I know how to research. We could have done the same thing last week against the Nittany Lions and concluded as I will here that the Buckeyes will win. But they didn’t. That’s the heartbreaking reality of College Football and the assumption that we “experts” all have when we rattle off numbers. The Buckeyes after humiliating losses under Urban Meyer often rebound in commanding fashion. The CFP, I believe, is not out of the picture for our Buckeyes. Of course, they will need help. But if you review the top 5 and their remaining schedules, it is indeed possible, just as it was in 2014. Of course there is that TTUN thorn arriving in The Shoe come November 26. That’ll be discussed as that date approaches ….
…. back to this Wildcats game. They cannot be ignored. The Buckeyes cannot be looking ahead to Nebraska. But I have faith, under Urban, they will be ready. As usual I expect the Buckeyes to have a stronger 2nd half than first. 24 points is a lot to drop against a new and improved Wildcats team, so I will say a revengeful Buckeyes team in front of a packed Shoe will win 35-14.