No. 4 Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) got a four-touchdown night from quarterback Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins rushed for 121 yards and scored two touchdowns as the Buckeyes easily took care of business against Northwestern (1-5, 0-4 Big Ten) Friday night in Evanston. Ohio State’s 52-3 victory against the same program they face din last season’s Big Ten championship game was hardly a contest from the start.
Ohio State marched down the field on the Wildcats on the opening drive of the game with a pair of third-and-long conversions to keep the drive alive. Fields connected with a wide-open Chris Olave for an early touchdown to finish off the drive. After leading just 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, the Buckeyes put the game away in the second quarter with a 24-0 outburst. Ohio State scored three more touchdowns after halftime as even the backups got into the scoring mix.
While the Ohio State offense was once again putting up big points, the defense was dominant against a struggling Northwestern offense. The Wildcats managed to pick up just 42 passing yards by Aidan Smith, who had a rough night against Chase Young and the OSU defensive front.
No. 6 Wisconsin will be in action in the state of Illinois Saturday with a road game at Illinois. If all goes according to script, Ohio State will host Wisconsin in a matchup of undefeated Big Ten division leaders and top six programs next Saturday. The game could be a preview of the Big Ten Championship Game.
As it stands now, Ohio State owns sole possession of first place in the Big Ten East. Penn State has a chance to move into a tie for first place in the division Saturday night with a home game against Michigan. The Wolverines have lost once in Big Ten play this season and need a win to keep pace with Ohio State.
While Ohio State now prepares for its stiffest challenge of the year, Northwestern will once again look to regroup. While it may get easier next week, a home game against Iowa is anything but a walk in the park for the Wildcats. Northwestern is on the brink of being ineligible for a postseason bowl game, as the program needs five wins in its final six games in order to qualify for the postseason this year.
To say Ohio State and Northwestern are going in opposite directions is a gross understatement.