Northwestern (1-4, 0-3 B1G) faces an extremely tough matchup against OSU (6-0, 3-0) under the lights at Ryan Field on Friday. The ‘Cats will look to get what would be one of the most shocking wins of the decade in a primetime 2018 Big Ten Championship rematch. Here are 3 things to know about the Buckeyes:
First year coach Ryan Day is enjoying plenty of success
You would’ve had to live under a rock to miss the Urban Meyer drama at the end of last year. The Zack Smith saga, and eventually, reported medical issues resulted in his retirement to the Fox Sports desk. Day, then the offensive coordinator, led OSU to a 3-0 record during Meyer’s initial suspension in 2018, and has seamlessly transitioned to that role permanently so far in 2019.
He has made all of the right moves through what have really been six blowouts, keeping the Buckeyes undefeated and looking like one of the most dangerous teams in the country. The defense has been phenomenal, looking ready to fully live up to their recruiting rankings for the first time in a couple of years, and the offense, unsurprisingly, hasn’t lost a step.
Their five-star transfer QB is lighting it up
With Hunter Johnson’s disappointing season up until this point, it’s been even more aggravating to watch what a 5-star transfer can do with good play-calling in Columbus. After transferring from Georgia, where he was stuck behind Jake Fromm, Justin Fields has been tearing it up at OSU.
He has the third best QBR in the nation at 94.1, and has amassed 1,298 passing yards and an incredible 26 total touchdowns in just six games so far, all while throwing only one interception. Fields is an extremely talented leader, competitor, and quarterback. He’s also only a sophomore. The Wildcats had a tough enough time with Dwayne Haskins last season, but with Fields’ speed and wizardry in the backfield alongside J.K. Dobbins, this Ohio State offense might be even more dynamic.
The schedule will do them no favors down the stretch
After traveling to Ryan Field, OSU will meet one of the other three remaining undefeated teams in the Big Ten, eighth-ranked Wisconsin, in Columbus for what should be an incredible clash between a record-setting offense and a record-setting defense.
Things don’t get easier from there. After two easier games against East division bottom-feeders Maryland and Rutgers, the Buckeyes will host the other currently undefeated squad, tenth-ranked Penn State, before closing the regular season with their rivalry game against a struggling, but still top-20 Michigan team. After that, they would have to beat the West champion a week later. OSU’s path to an undefeated season and the playoff is clear, but they have to beat a lot of good teams to get there.