Ohio State entered Saturday's game against Northwestern hoping to make a statement following last weekend's stunning loss at Penn State.
That didn't exactly happen, but the Buckeyes did escape with a victory. Curtis Samuel scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 9:43 to play to help lift Ohio State to a 24-20 victory against the Wildcats.
With the game tied 17-all early in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes' defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back. Ohio State responded with a six-play, 63-yard drive that took just 2 minutes, 36 seconds and finished with Samuel's touchdown.
The touchdown run was set up after K.J. Hill hauled in a 34-yard pass from J.T. Barrett to put the Buckeyes in the red zone. Two plays later, Samuel found paydirt.
Northwestern had a chance to respond, but a 16-play, 60-yard drive resulted in only a field goal with 3:31 to play. Ohio State ran the clock out from there.
Ohio State's offense looked like it was back on track — at least for the first 28 minutes of the first half. The Buckeyes scored points on their first three possessions before a pair of attempts at the two-minute drill went awry to end the first half.
Mike Weber plunged in for a 1-yard touchdown run on Ohio State's opening drive — the first touchdown for the Buckeyes on an opening drive this season — to cap a nine-play, 94-yard drive just under three minutes into the game.
Raekwon McMillan tipped a Clayton Thorson pass attempt on Northwestern's next drive and the ball was intercepted by Damon Arnette. Ohio State had to settle for a field goal, however, after gaining 33 yards on nine plays. Tyler Durbin's 35-yarder gave the Buckeyes an early 10-0 lead.
The Wildcats responded with a 16-play, 75-yard touchdown drive right after that, though, to get within 10-7 at the beginning of the second quarter. Weber scored his second touchdown of the day right after that, a 23-yard scamper that put Ohio State in front 17-7. Northwestern added a field goal to trim the lead to 17-10 at halftime.
The Buckeyes had 218 yards of total offense in the first half; Northwestern had 203. Barrett was 14-for-21 passing for 129 yards, Weber had nine carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns and Curtis Samuel had five catches for 46 yards.
Ohio State hosts Nebraska next Saturday at 8 p.m.
|431||NET TOTAL YARDS||406|
|5.1||AVERAGE PER RUSH||5.1|
|10.6||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||11.2|
|13||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||6|
|10||PASSING 1st DOWNS||15|
|0||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||0|
|5.9||YARDS PER PLAY||5.6|
- Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer improved to 161-28 in his career, continuing to hold the highest winning percentage among active coaches with at least 10 years of FBS coaching experience at .852.
- The Buckeyes have won their last six meetings against Northwestern and 30 of the last 31 overall.
- The attendance of 107,296 was the ninth-highest in Ohio Stadium history.
- Mike Weber’s two-rushing touchdown game marked the second of his career after scoring twice against Indiana Oct. 8.
- Weber’s 15-yard catch in the first quarter marked a career long.
- Damon Arnette’s first-quarter interception was the first of his career.
- Malik Hooker’s 14 tackles marked a career high.
- Noah Brown tied his career high with five catches.