Three Key Stats: C.J. Stroud's Tough Running Helps Power Ohio State to Win at Northwestern in Tough Conditions

By 11W Staff on November 6, 2022 at 10:15 am
Ohio State fans at Ryan Field

It was far from pretty.

But at the end of the day, Ohio State earned a win in awful weather, topping Northwestern on the road, 21-7. On a weekend in which two perennial powerhouses were eliminated from the College Football Playoff, we'll take it.

45 mph Wind

Yes, the wind was absolutely a factor in this one. It played an outsized role in the kicking game and certainly in the passing game for the Buckeyes.

Consider C.J. Stroud was limited to 10-for-26 for just 76 yards through the air as Ryan Day's offense was held to all-time lows of 10 completions and 76 yards, but also 13 first downs, zero touchdown passes, 7.6 yards per completions, 2.9 yards per attempt, a completion percentage of 38%, 283 total yards, 4.6 yards-per-play, and 21 points.

That's November life in the Midwest for you.

79 Rushing Yards

Yes, Miyan Wiliams went for 111 yards and two touchdowns on the ground Saturday, but it was Stroud's 79 rushing yards that were the most surprising and perhaps the most valuable on the afternoon.

Stroud's willingness to run the ball this week – or perhaps his green light to run the ball this week – kept several drives alive for the Buckeyes, and his 44-yard scamper late in the fourth quarter set up Williams' second touchdown of the day for the game's final points.

The 79 yards were not just a career-best for Stroud on the ground, but they were nearly twice as many as he'd ever rushed for in an entire season before. His previous best for a game this season? Five yards. His single-game high last season, his first as a starter? 13 yards.

172 Yards

Northwestern started the game with some fire in their bellies, racking up 113 first-quarter yards on 6.3 yards per play to take a 7-0 lead over No. 2 Ohio State.

And then the Silver Bullets settled in.

Ohio State's defense held the Wildcats to 172 total yards over the final three quarters – at 2.96 yards per play – while keeping Northwestern off the scoreboard.

Leading the way were Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg's 13 tackles (10 solo) and safeties Ronnie Hickman's 10 tackles and Lathan Ransom's nine tackles.

Bonus Stats & Notes

One week after winning a game despite finishing with fewer total yards than its opponent for the first time since 2019, Ohio State did it again, topping Northwestern, despite losing the yardage battle, 285-283… The Buckeyes saw their streak of scoring 40 or more points in Big Ten games end at seven. The streak was the longest in the conference since 1901-02… Ohio State did, however, top 20 or more points for the 70th consecutive game, breaking the FBS record previously held by Oklahoma (2016-21)… After seeing their perfect red zone run end last week against Penn State, the Buckeyes went 2-for-2 at Northwestern… The win at Northwestern was rare in the sense that neither team recorded a sack or a takeaway… Saturday's win was the 951st in program history (officially, at least – if we count the vacated wins from 2010, Ohio State has 963 all-time)… Ohio State improved to 43–4 under Ryan Day.

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