Dominating their opposition on both sides of the ball has seemingly become a tradition for the Ohio State Buckeyes so far this season. Even with the odd (and quite different) Friday night game, the scarlet and gray once again made it look easy, beating Northwestern, 52-3, in Evanston, Illinois Friday night. It was a solid way to start the second half of the season after an off week.
After a slow first quarter that saw the Buckeyes have just a 7-3 lead at the end of the first 15 minutes, Ohio State once again absolutely dominated in the second quarter of the game, much like they have all season. After outscoring Northwestern, 24-0, in the second quarter to take a 31-3 halftime lead, Ohio State is now averaging 22.6 points in the second quarter and outscoring their opponents, 158-20, in the second quarter so far this season. That’s truly incredible.
Holding a 31-3 lead at halftime, the Buckeyes coasted and went on cruise control in the second half, giving their backups plenty of playing time while also continuing to dominate. Whether it was the starters, second-, or third-stringers,, Ohio State did well on both sides of the ball. Whether it was scoring touchdowns on offense or forcing turnovers defensively, they did it all. It was yet another performance by the scarlet and gray that proved to the rest of the country that they are in fact very, very good. Whether it’s just the simple understanding and efficiency of fundamentals, making all the right plays, or having playmakers on every facet of the game and all over the field on every play, whether it’s offense, defense, or special teams.
He may not have notched 200 passing yards through the air, but Justin Fields made it look quite easy while leading the offense, completing 18-of-23 passes for 194 yards and four touchdowns. Much like he has all season just like his quarterback, J.K. Dobbins put on a show once again, totaling 121 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. He also added three catches for 30 yards and a touchdown during the bye week. Backup running back Master Teague added seven carries for 96 yards and one touchdown, 73 of which came on a touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Chris Olave (five catches, 60 yards, two touchdowns) and Austin Mack (four receptions, 50 yards, one touchdown that all came on one drive in the second half) led the way through the air.
Punters and kickers are in fact real people, too. Drue Chrisman had five punts for 47.4 yards each, three of which landed inside the 20-yard line. Blake Haubell hit a 55-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter, which was not only a career-high but the second-longest in school history and the longest by a Buckeye since Mike Nugent hit a 55-yarder against Wisconsin in 2004.1
Much like they have all season, the Silver Bullets made things very, very tough for the opposing offense. Ohio State’s defense allowed Northwestern to have just 199 total yards while holding them to just three points. The Wildcats trailed all game yet only had 42 passing yards all season. Insane.
Just how dominant were the Buckeyes on both sides of the ball? Ohio State’s offense scored at least 21 points in the second quarter for the sixth straight game; the defense hasn’t allowed a team to score more than 10 points since Florida Atlantic did so in the season opener.
While I don’t like (and don’t understand, really) that college football is being played on a Friday night, the only positive is that after dominating Northwestern, Ohio State now has eight days to prepare and rest up for their big-time matchup against Wisconsin next Saturday afternoon. It’s arguably the Buckeyes’ biggest game of the regular season next weekend in Columbus.