Well, well, well... Ohio State has been excellent this year. On the road, at night, black uniforms, who cares? The Buckeyes are rolling, and yesterday was no exception.
After racking up 480 total yards and 52 points, the Buckeyes largely cruised to yet another victory against a hapless Big Ten foe that really had no chance.
Also, I want to give a shoutout to the commentary in this one. Joe Davis, whether he's doing baseball or football, is the best commentator around without a doubt. You all may pick Gus or Brad Nessler or whoever else. But for me, there's nothing better than the dulcet tones of Joe Davis doing Buckeye football on a Friday night.
#VARSITY does it again. Let's debrief.
The Short Story
Ohio State dominated this game from the first drive, as they marched down the field after receiving the opening kickoff and ended it with a 20-yard pass from Justin Fields to Chris Olave.
After a Northwestern field goal late in the first quarter, Ohio State rattled off 45 unanswered to win 52-3. Dominant.
Justin Fields looked good again, to nobody's real surprise. The true sophomore was 18-23 through the air for 194 yards and four touchdowns (206.5).
I mentioned in the roundtable this week that I didn't really care how Ohio State scored, as long as they did indeed score. Well, the rushing attack was just as potent as the passing attack, with Master Teague and J.K. Dobbins both having long runs and scores. Dobbins finished with 121 yards, while Teague had 96 on just seven carries.
Chris Olave led the receiver room once again with five catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Austin Mack had his best game of the season, while Dobbins and Jeremy Ruckert each caught scores, as well.
Yes, Northwestern's offense is very bad. But any time you hold the opposition to just three points, it's a win. Ohio State's defense was stout once again, and buckled down after Northwestern kicked a field goal in the first quarter.
Next week, with Jonathan Taylor and the powerful Badgers running game coming to town, it may be a different story. But there were more encouraging signs tonight as Northwestern threw for just 42 yards (with two interceptions) and rushed for just 3.3 ypc.
Who Earned a Buckeye Leaf?
Offense: Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins, Master Teague, Chris Olave, Austin Mack, etc.
Basically the whole unit. The offensive line was still strong despite an obviously-hobbled Thayer Munford holding down left tackle.
Fields was making good decisions (which the completion percentage reflects) and the running backs asserted their dominance with numerous long runs.
Chris Olave continued his stellar season, while Jeremy Ruckert and Austin Mack got in on the fun as well. It seems like there's a new player stepping up each week, which is always a good sign of a balanced team.
Defense: Chase Young, Amir Riep, Sevyn Banks, Malik Harrison
Young was his usual dominant self, while Harrison led the team in tackles with 9.5. Banks and Riep each notched interceptions in garbage time, helping to shut down a Northwestern offense which didn't have much hope entering the game.
Young is now very close to becoming just the second Buckeye ever (Mike Vrabel) with two double-digit sack campaigns, and he still has the entire second half of the season to go. What a monster.
The secondary looked solid once again, and any time the opposition throws for just 42 yards, you know it was a good day.
Jim Tressel's Favorite Moment
This is new territory for Jim! He is used to blocking out his Saturday's for Buckeye football, but a Friday? It was a little bit of an adjustment having to come home from a long day at Youngstown State and having to immediately get into game mode, but Jim managed.
Things were going well for Ohio State. After a dominant second quarter, the Buckeyes decided to push their luck and try a 55-yard field goal with kicker Blake Haubeil.
In seeing Haubeil trot on the field, Jim immediately rushed to the edge of his seat, sat up straight, and watched with eager anticipation.
After watching the ball clear the uprights with plenty to spare, Jim let out an audible sigh and pumped his fist. What a night it was.
Biggest Question Going Forward
Well, now it's time. After weeks of playing opponents who most have chastised for not being legit, the Buckeyes will welcome Wisconsin to town.
The Badgers have also been dominant this year, shutting out their opponent four times already this season.
Dubgate IX. Big Noon Kickoff. It's gonna be fun. #VARSITY.