EVANSTON, Ill. – Dominating the second quarter has been a theme for Ohio State all season, and it was once again at Northwestern on Friday night.
The Buckeyes scored 24 points in the second quarter, marking the sixth straight game in which Ohio State has scored at least 21 second-quarter points, to take a 31-3 lead into halftime and finish with an 52-3 win over the Wildcats.
Ohio State’s offense started the game strong, driving 70 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown on its opening possession. The Buckeyes converted a pair of 3rd-and-7 situations to keep the drive going, and Chris Olave got wide open over the middle of the field to cap off the drive with a 20-yard touchdown catch from Justin Fields.
|#4 OHIO STATE||7||24||7||14||52|
The rest of the first quarter was a bit of a struggle for the Buckeyes. Northwestern’s offense, which came into Friday’s game ranked dead last in the Football Bowl Subdivision in yards per play, showed some unexpected ability to move the ball on Ohio State’s defense early in the contest. The Wildcats four carries of 10-plus yards in its first two possessions, and drove to Ohio State’s 16-yard line on its second possession before settling for a 33-yard Charlie Kuhbander field goal.
Ohio State’s offense faced some early resistance from Northwestern’s defense, too, going three-and-out on its second possession. On its third possession, though, Ohio State showed its ability to move the chains on third down once again. With three third-down conversions along the way, including a spectacular play by Fields on 3rd-and-15 to avoid sacks from two defenders before completing a 20-yard pass to K.J. Hill, Ohio State went 75 yards on 12 plays on a drive that stretched into the second quarter. That drive was capped by a 19-yard touchdown connection between Fields and J.K. Dobbins.
Beautiful play design, beautiful throw, beautiful catch. pic.twitter.com/cAGJ2W2xCG— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 19, 2019
Dobbins started to break the game open on Ohio State’s next possession, when he ran 68 yards on the opening play and followed it up with a 5-yard touchdown run.
J.K. Dobbins is dangerous. pic.twitter.com/HhcPFXRQ2f— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 19, 2019
Ohio State’s third touchdown of the second quarter, an 8-yard pass from Fields to Olave, came after a three-and-out and a botched punt snap by Northwestern gave the Buckeyes the ball at the 15-yard line.
Everything about this was perfect. pic.twitter.com/HADcLgCiIZ— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 19, 2019
After Day called three timeouts to force Northwestern to punt from deep in its own territory with less than a minute to play in the first half, Blake Haubeil converted a career-long 55-yard field goal – tied for the second-longest field goal in Ohio State history – to send the celebratory Buckeyes into the locker room with a 28-point halftime lead.
YOURE DAMN RIGHT WERE WATCHING KICKING HIGHLIGHTS ON REPEAT. pic.twitter.com/nEpA0OXKIn— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 19, 2019
Ohio State drove 65 yards in seven plays for a touchdown on its opening possession of the third quarter. Austin Mack caught four passes for 50 yards on that drive, including a 23-yard touchdown to cap it off.
Behold, the Austin Mack drive. pic.twitter.com/hnd1QazkHE— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 19, 2019
On its opening possession of the third quarter, Ohio State scored a touchdown again, driving 65 yards in seven plays. Austin Mack caught four passes for 50 yards on that drive, including a 23-yard touchdown to cap it off.
The Buckeyes put their backups in on both sides of the ball for the fourth quarter, but scored again after Sevyn Banks intercepted a pass at Northwestern's 11-yard line, setting up a 6-yard touchdown pass from Chris Chugunov to Jeremy Ruckert three plays later.
Master Teague extended the lead to 52-3 on the very first play of Ohio State's next possession with a 73-yard run, with true freshman true tackle Dawand Jones leading the way on the very first offensive snap of his Buckeyes career.
The grass aint slowing Master Teague down tonight. pic.twitter.com/Fnu5zftiM3— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 19, 2019
|480||NET TOTAL YARDS||199|
|7.5||AVERAGE PER RUSH||3.3|
|10.6||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||7.0|
|8||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||10|
|12||PASSING 1st DOWNS||1|
|3||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||3|
|7.6||YARDS PER PLAY||2.9|
|0 (0)||TURNOVERS (DEF PTS OFF)||2 (7)|
Amir Riep intercepted an errant pass by Northwestern backup quarterback Andrew Marty with 2:38 to play, and the Buckeyes ran out the clock from there.
Fields finished the game with 18 completions on 23 passing attempts for 194 yards and four touchdowns, while Dobbins rushed for 121 yards for his fifth 100-yard game of the year. Defensively, Ohio State held Northwestern to just 199 total yards, marking the seventh straight game to start the year in which Ohio State's defense has held its opponent under 300 yards.
Now, the Buckeyes will take a 7-0 record – with all of their first seven wins coming by 24 points or more – into their biggest game of the season to date, as they prepare to host also-undefeated Wisconsin at Ohio Stadium next Saturday. Saturday’s game will kick off at noon and will be televised on Fox.
- Nicholas Petit-Frere made his first career start at left tackle in place of Thayer Munford, who was listed as a game-time decision for Saturday's game due to an undisclosed injury. Joshua Alabi, who is typically Munford's backup at left tackle, did not make the trip to Northwestern due to an undisclosed injury of his own. Munford was healthy enough to enter the game and replace Petit-Frere for most of the second quarter, but Petit-Frere returned to the lineup for the second half.
- Jordan Fuller, Jonathon Cooper, Dobbins and Hill were Ohio State's game captains for the opening coin toss.
- With 3,403 career rushing yards, Dobbins now ranks as the fifth-leading rusher in Ohio State history, behind only Archie Griffin (5,589), Ezekiel Elliott (3,961), Eddie George (3,768) and Tim Spencer (3,553).
- For the second week in a row, Damon Arnette was replaced by Cameron Brown at cornerback for the second half. Arnette has been dealing with an apparent wrist/hand injury and was wearing a cast again Friday night.