Last meeting: Justin Fields threw four touchdown passes and Ohio State cruised to a 52-3 win on a Friday night in Evanston in 2019.
Coaches: Ohio State’s Ryan Day is 42-4 in four seasons, including 28–1 in the Big Ten. Pat Fitzgerald is 110-97 in 17 seasons at Northwestern, and he is 0-8 against Ohio State.
Ohio State notes: The Buckeyes are averaging a Big Ten-best 7.75 yards per game… They have forced 10 turnovers in the last two games… Ohio State has outscored Northwestern 191-53 in the last four games at Ryan Field… Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson was offensive coordinator at Northwestern from 1999-2001 and helped develop an early version of the spread offense with head coach Randy Walker, a Troy native… Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson have combined for 1,077 yards, 16 rushing touchdowns and 6.2 yards per carry… Ohio State is in the national top 10 in scoring, points allowed, total offense, total defense, third down defense, red zone offense and turnover margin… Freshman WR Kaleb Brown is the only Illinois native on the Ohio State roster. He is from Chicago… Ohio State has been held below 100 yards rushing in consecutive seasons.
Northwestern notes: RB Evan Hull is second in the Big Ten with 143.3 all-purpose yards per game… OT Peter Skoronski is considered a potential high pick in next year’s NFL Draft… Sophomore Brendan Sullivan took over at QB two games ago and has completed 75% of his passes in back-to-back games, making him the first NU starting QB to do so since Dan Persa in 2011… Northwestern last beat a top five team in 1959 when the Wildcats beat No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 5 Iowa in consecutive weeks… Northwestern has players from 31 different states, including eight from Ohio: RB Cam Porter, Cincinnati LaSalle; DB Garner Wallace, Pickerington Central; DE Jaiden Cameron, Northmont; OL Ben Wrather, Powell Olentangy Liberty; WR Jack Kennedy, Cleveland St. Ignatius; TE Marshall Lang, Cincinnati St. Xavier; DL Aidan Hubbard, Cleveland St. Ignatius and DL Najee Story, Solon.
Quoted: Fitzgerald on facing Stroud: “I’m not sure there’s anybody playing better than C.J. right now in the country. I haven’t seen every game like you all probably have — just going through and perusing things. I have obviously focused on our opponent and how we go about our routine, but he’s been in a lot of crossover tape. He’s just been so efficient and so explosive. Same thing with their entire receiver corps. Everybody can take it the distance and it’s a really impressive group, to say the least.”
Next week: Ohio State returns home to play Indiana next Saturday. Northwestern will go on the road to face Minnesota.
Prediction: Ohio State 41, Northwestern 0