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Northwestern vs. Ohio State predictions

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It’s pretty unanimous that it won’t be pretty on Saturday.

Ohio State v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Zach Pereles: Ohio State 37, Northwestern 17

I don’t buy the “angry team” narrative as much as others do. I just think Ohio State is a superior team with superior talent playing at home in a must-win situation. J.T. Barrett should have a field day thanks to a depleted NU secondary and some shoddy tackling. Northwestern will cover the spread but that’s not really anything to be proud of. The Wildcats will have to wipe this effort and prepare for a huge battle versus Wisconsin.

Sam Brief: Ohio State 42, Northwestern 14

I expect J.T. Barrett to run all over a Northwestern defense that has struggles galore with mobile quarterbacks. The Buckeyes need a win after losing in Happy Valley, and Northwestern just doesn’t have the talent to compete with one of the top-five programs in the country. Ohio State wins easily.

Ian McCafferty: Ohio State 38, Northwestern 21

As Penn State showed last week, the only way to upset Ohio State is to get solidly beat, but just have a bunch of fluky things go your way and manage to hold on. While Northwestern could certainly have this happen, it’s hard to rely on chance when predicting a game. I think Ohio State wants to avoid another close contest, so it’ll come out and grab an early lead and hold it for the rest of the game. Northwestern will put up some points, but the defense is too depleted to keep up with the Buckeyes.

Caleb Friedman: Ohio State 31, Northwestern 14

Northwestern has played well on the road so far this season, but heading into The Shoe is a different animal. Before last week, J.T. Barrett was a legitimate Heisman contender. Some of the Buckeye names are new, but they have no shortage of blue-chip talent. Northwestern won’t be able to get away with some of the mistakes it’s gotten away with in past weeks, especially in the secondary. Barrett will keep Northwestern’s defense off-balance, just as Tommy Armstrong did earlier this season. Northwestern just isn’t nearly as good as Ohio State is, and the scoreline will show it.

Rob Schaefer: Ohio State 38, Northwestern 17

Yes, Northwestern rolls into Columbus with a three-game winning streak intact. Yes, Ohio State is coming off its first loss of the season: a particularly heartbreaking one to Penn State on Saturday. But this isn’t difficult. Talent-wise these teams aren’t in the same universe; I expect Northwestern to keep things relatively tight early, but the speed and athleticism of Ohio State is going to prove to be too much. J.T. Barrett will pick apart Northwestern’s depleted secondary (which won’t have Trae Williams for the second week in a row). The offense will regress against superior competition. OSU wins big at home and sets its sights back on a potential CFP berth.

Will Ragatz: Ohio State 45, Northwestern 27

I’m a little surprised that so many of my fellow writers don’t see Northwestern getting to 20 points in this one. I think the Thorson-Jackson-Carr trio will have some success against the Ohio State defense and the Wildcats will hang around into the second half. However, I agree with everyone else that Northwestern is going to have a very tough time keeping J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes from lighting up the scoreboard. Ohio State pulls away late.

Josh Rosenblat: Ohio State 38, Northwestern 24

Northwestern could hang around for a bit, especially if it employs an aggressive offensive gameplan focused on using Austin Carr, Flynn Nagel and Solomon Vault in the slot to create matchup problems for Ohio State’s back seven. But... barring multiple timely turnovers and a game-changing special teams play, the Buckeyes are just way too good for the Wildcats. Urban Meyer’s team will cruise in the second half.

Tristan Jung (random number generator): Ohio State 34, Northwestern 42

The random number generator was the most accurate Inside NU prediction last week. Let’s see if it happens again.