Buckeyes, Featured

Buckeyes outlast Northwestern to get back in win column, 24-20

(Marvin Fong / The Plain Dealer)

It wasn’t pretty, but the Ohio State Buckeyes were able to redeem themselves after last weeks loss. Back in Ohio Stadium for the first time in three weeks, the scarlet and gray were able to hold off the Northwestern Wildcats, 24-20, in an afternoon and night that had perfect weather for football.

Quarter by Quarter

First Quarter

  • 10:34 – First-and-goal – After his touchdown reception was reviewed and found short of the endzone by a foot, Mike Weber runs for an easy 1-yard touchdown run. (7-0)

  • 10:11 – First-and-10 – On the second play following the touchdown, Raekwon McMillan tips a pass from Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson and it’s intercepted by Damon Arnette.
  • 6:36 – Fourth-and-4 – Tyler Durbin makes a 35-yard field goal following the turnover. (10-0)

First Quarter Analysis

The fact that quarterback J.T. Barrett and company were able to find the endzone on their opening drive for just the first time this season is still incredible to me. But, with that being said, it was nice to see them have such a good nine-play, 94-yard touchdown drive after what happened last weekend in Happy Valley. While they only scored three points the rest of the quarter, hopefully the offense will be able to play much better the next three quarters than they did last week against Penn State.

What do you know? Another scoreless quarter for the defense. Whether the offense is struggling or not, the Silver Bullets seem to keep the team afloat. They were even able to get an interception to give the team and offense a little momentum as well.

Second Quarter

  • 14:51 – Second-and-goal – On the first play of the second quarter, Wildcats’ Clayton Thorson puts Northwestern on the scoreboard with a 1-yard touchdown run. (10-7)
  • 6:17 – First-and-10 – The Buckeyes answer right back on a 23-yard touchdown run from Mike Weber, his second of the day. (17-7)
  • 1:43 – Fourth-and-goal – Northwestern then gets an answer of their own with a 23-yard field goal by Jack Mitchell. (17-10)
  • 0:14 – Fourth-and-6 – Just before halftime, yet another Cameron Johnston punt was blocked (just like last week at Penn State). Luckily, it still traveled 27 yards downfield so the Wildcats still couldn’t score before going to the locker room.

Second Quarter Analysis

If Ohio State didn’t know already (or listen to head coach Urban Meyer all week), the Wildcats are a good team and not just some pushover. As they showed in the second quarter, Northwestern can keep up with the Buckeyes.

While the offense somewhat stalled outside of one touchdown, the defense also mostly struggled in the second quarter, allowing 10 points and plenty of yards by the Wildcats’ offense. With both sides of the ball struggling at points throughout the quarter, the scarlet and gray were still able to hold onto a seven-point lead at halftime.

Third Quarter

  • 3:49 – Third-and-goal – Not again: Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson finds a wide-open Garrett Dickerson for a 2-yard touchdown to tie the game late in the third quarter. (17-17)

Third Quarter Analysis

Where did the offense go? They seemed to have almost disappeared since midway through the first quarter.

The defense has underwhelmed at some points throughout the game, which with their struggles at the offense stalling, has led to a tied game going into the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter

  • 9:43 – Second-and-goal – The Buckeyes take the lead again with a 3-yard touchdown run from Curtis Samuel. (24-17)
  • 3:31 – Fourth-and-goal – Not again: Northwestern’s Jack Mitchell converts on a 33-yard field goal to put the Wildcats within four with just a few minutes remaining. (24-20)
  • 1:49 – Third-and-10 – J.T. Barrett all but ices the game with a 35-yard run on third-and-long to give the Bucks a first down.

Fourth Quarter Analysis

When the Wildcats cut it four, I think I heard plenty of Buckeye Nation’s hearts start to beat very fast. But then, when Barrett was ale to clinch the game with his big-time run, all of those same people were able to relax a little because they were going to hold onto the lead.

The Silver Bullets did what they do best in the final quarter. Although they allowed a field goal, that’s all they allowed Northwestern to do in order to secure the win for the Bucks.

Top Performers

J.T. Barrett – 21-of-32, 223 yards; 13 carries, 71 yards

Mike Weber – 14 carries, 87 yards, two touchdowns; three catches, 20 yards

Curtis Samuel – seven catches, 68 yards; seven carries, 31 yards, one touchdown

Malik Hooker – 14 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss

Raekwon McMillan – nine tackles, one pass breakup (led to interception)

Dre’Mont Jones – six tackles, one tackle for loss

Damon Arnette – four tackles, one interception

Final Thoughts

Like Cleveland Indians relievers in the past, the Buckeyes seem to love to make games close but eventually come out on top in the end. For the majority of the game – outside of the first few minutes of the first quarter and at times throughout the game – the offense struggled just like they did at Penn State last week.

But, they did just enough to secure the win, which is all that matters, right? Whether it was J.T. Barrett’s legs, Curtis Samuel, or Mike Weber, among others, the offense was able to play just well enough throughout the game to put 24 points on the scoreboard.

Like they have for the majority of the season, when the offense struggles, the Silver Bullets almost always seem to have their backs and bail them out. The defense struggled at some points throughout the game and weren’t able to stop Austin Carr (eight catches for 158 yards), but they were able to get a turnover in the first quarter to give the team some momentum, get the crowd going, and put the Buckeyes back in the win column.

Ohio State beat an unranked team by just four points Saturday night, but a win’s a win, right?