Preview: Northwestern (4-3)[3-1] vs #6 Ohio State (6-1)[3-1]

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After a dreadful and heartbreaking loss at Penn State, the Ohio State Buckeyes are set for back to back home games.  The first of the two will be against a Northwestern Wildcats team that thankfully did not come off a bye week, but they came away from a hard fought battle with those pesky Hoosiers.  Ohio State returns home to right the ship and we will have to see how they respond to the adversity after a loss.  The Buckeyes did not drop out of the Top 10, they fell from #2 in the nation to #6 and it could’ve been much worse.  Sour grapes was the mood of choice after yesterday’s poor performance, but like all Buckeye fans should realize, the season is still not over and we as Buckeye Nation and as a fan base should realize that we still have a pair of games that will help our case to finding our way back into the College Football Playoffs conversation.  We are, by no means out, and our season and our goals are still attainable.  All we need to do is rebound, circle the wagons, improve as a team and just win.  Improve the play on the Offensive Line and reduce the penalties, get more out of the Offensive Playcalling by being far less predictable, be more balanced and just improve the passing game and improve the miscues on Special Teams.  The effort seemed to be gone through the White Out and it sucked whatever determination the Buckeyes possessed within them when things started to go south.  Like Shane Falco’s fear of sinking sand, but in real life, will the Buckeyes be able to rebound and keep their season alive?

imgresIf anyone should be upset, it should be J.T. Barrett.  His play late in the game became reminiscent of the Michigan State games that resulted in losses.  Telegraphed and uber-scripted Quarterback runs and check-down galore.  I am still upset, but the season can be salvaged.  All J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes need to do is be more balanced and less predictable.  With Tom Herman leaving for Houston, the Buckeyes have depended solely on the run game, but just like when they failed to feed Zeke, Mike Weber should be just as upset as he was.  The Penn State defense was stuffing the run all night, but whoever kept calling the Running Back wheel routes, consistently, the Offensive Coaches better get creative because Northwester, Nebraska, and the TTUN can score and we have them at home.  We got to Maryland and Michigan State on the road and although Maryland is the home team, we should get a win, but a down year for Michigan State was unexpected and they will look to wreck our season once again on their home turf.  J.T. Barrett and the entire team and coaching staff, to include the head honcho Urban Meyer needs to get better, and quick.  The Game will be one for the ages as we look to see Ohio State revert back to their relentless ways on both sides of the ball.

images-6The Slobs struggled mightily as the White Out caused a fair amount of penalties that hurt the Buckeyes throughout the night.  The penalties with their inability to protect the edges and keep J.T. Barrett from feeling the pressure ruined their chance at an undefeated season.  The Slobs will look to rebound against another scrappy Big 10 defense that is tied at #38 in the nation, along with Penn State, with 16 sacks so far in the season.  They are tied for 49th overall in team Tackles For Loss with a total of 38 compared to the Buckeyes who sit higher at #31 for a team total of 42 Tackles For Loss.  The Slobs will look to protect J.T. Barrett, dominate the line of scrimmage and they will look to be more consistent and return back to their strengths for the more difficult part of their schedule.  A huge stat is Ohio State is ranked #2 in the nation in Tackle For Loss Allowed with a whopping 16 given up for 51 yards.  That is alarming and it far from the standards that The Slobs hold themselves to.  Hopefully, they get it together.  The inexperience and youth has been showing and that, as of now is the lone glaring weakness.  Pat Elflein and Billy Price need to get their unit back to the standards because they have been weak as of late.

images-1The Silver Bullets and the Scarlet Curtain have a huge task at hand with these Northwestern Wildcats coming into town on a three-game winning streak.  They have defeated an experienced Iowa team on the road and beat a young Michigan State team that is in the midst of down year.  They also beat the Indiana Hoosiers at home extending their overall record to a modest 4-3 record, 3-1 in conference play.  They put up points, but that has been their forte for quite some time.  On the road, they put 38 points on the table against BIG 10 West winner Iowa and scored 54 points on a young, but experienced Spartan Defense, the BIG 10 East winner from just a season ago.  Obviously, Michigan State represented the BIG 10 in last season’s playoffs and Iowa represented the conference in the Rose Bowl game.  Both were demolished and defeated handily, but those defenses are no slouches.  The Buckeyes tend to struggle against teams that spread them out and make them play from sideline to sideline.  This will be no easy task, but the Buckeyes are should be looking for blood after suffering their 5th loss in five seasons.  The Buckeyes will look to right the ship and maintain sight of their goal of competing in the CFB Playoffs once again, but it won’t be easy.  The road will be tough, but Coach Meyer will guide them through the adversity after suffering a loss.  Word is, after practice and during an interview, Coach Meyer mentioned that he saw an angry Buckeye team during practice and I, for one hope that it carries on for the rest of the season.  The next few games will not be cakewalks.  We have a potent Wildcat Offense at home, a Top-10 Battle at home against Nebraska, they will travel to Maryland and face TTUN’s former coach, then a matchup against MSU and then they will return back home for The Game against TTUN, which is another Top-10 matchup.  This will not be easy, but if the Buckeyes win out and win the conference, they will 100% make it into the CFB Playoffs and it will be pretty difficult to say that they do not deserve to get in based on their performance this season and that is even including the close loss to Penn State.  This will test the mettle of the Buckeyes and let’s hope that they can win and win big to regain the momentum for the hardest portion of their schedule.

Prediction:  38-0 Buckeyes

This will be the turning point of the season.  The Buckeye Offense will depend heavily on the run, pounding the rock relentlessly wearing out the Wildcat Defense.  J.T. Barrett will look to salvage the porous passing attack and the creativity will return.  The Slobs will allow no sacks or pressures because they will be playing for pride.  The Defense will shut down the Wildcats playmakers and deny them any points.  All phases of the game will be controlled and we will see the potent offense return to past form.

Go Bucks!!!

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