Undefeated Buckeyes! Oft-defeated Wildcats! Conference championship rematch! Big Ten Network! Primetime at Ryan Field!
Here’s what our staff sees happening tonight:
Noah Coffman: Ohio State 45, Northwestern 9
The Wildcat defense comes up with a herculean effort and limits the Buckeyes to 31 offensive points (not a joke, that’s how good they’ve been this season), but unfortunately, OSU also comes up with TDs via defense and special teams. All Northwestern’s struggling offense will be able to muster is a late Drake Anderson TD, regardless of who is under center. And what the heck: let’s throw in a safety for good measure.
I sure hope I’m wrong on this one, but it’s tough to see any path to success for NU, at least beyond “keeping it relatively close through a half or so.”
Matthew Albert: Northwestern 24, Ohio State, 17
‘Cats shock the world, upsetting the Buckeyes under the lights. The anti-Ohio State curse of black and gold lives on as the Northwestern defense, outfitted in their gothic uniforms, comes up clutch with multiple turnovers. Mick McCall avoids the chopping block once more by finally calling a play on first down other than an inside zone. Hashtag Go Cats and manquepierda!
Mac Stone: Ohio State 41, Northwestern 6
The ‘Cats’ defense keeps it close in the first half, but are forced to remain on the field as the Buckeyes dominate time of possession. Another extremely lackluster offensive performance fails to produce a touchdown, and the only points for the ‘Cats come from Charlie Kuhbander, who goes 2/2 on field goals. Eventually, Justin Fields takes over, as he has in every game this year, and tears apart the exhausted Wildcat defense. Ohio State also scores at least one defensive touchdown in this game. #FireMcCall
Joe Weinberg: Ohio State 38, Northwestern 3
Thank god this one got moved to BTN.
Colin Kruse: Ohio State 45, Northwestern 14
Despite the notion from a Facebook comments section that I might not actually care about Northwestern football anymore, every part of me wants the ‘Cats to shock the world (and shut up the Buckeye fan who told me to “have fun at the Lucky Charms Bowl, nerd” as I walked out of last year’s Big Ten Championship Game) on Friday night.
However, this is arguably the most talented Ohio State team since the Buckeyes’ run to the title in 2014, a much more mature and fundamentally sound squad than the one that Northwestern faced in Indianapolis. Justin Fields is an absolute stud, and, while the NU defense will keep it close early (much like Michigan State’s defense was able to two weeks ago), Fields will go off on the fatigued ‘Cats down the stretch. Whoever starts at quarterback for Northwestern has a tall task in front of him with Chase Young and company as well.
This one won’t be close, unfortunately.
Lia Assimakopoulos: Ohio State 42, Northwestern 6
Eli Karp: Ohio State 41, Northwestern 13
The line is currently Ohio State -28. People will be watching very intently at the end of the game for the score, not the result.
Ryley Hougland: Ohio State 34, Northwestern 13
I’m putting faith in the circumstances (Gothic uniforms, night game) being able to help the ‘Cats start strong and keep it low-scoring early on. In the end, though, this is easily the best Ohio State offense in years, and NU’s struggles to keep their own offense on the field will greatly hurt the defense in the long run. At least they can beat Vegas, though, right?
Daniel Olinger: Ohio State 52, Northwestern 7
This is the score I predicted when I went on the Hangout in the Holy Land podcast to preview the game, and I’m sticking by it. While that line looks brutal, I think it says more about the Buckeyes than the ‘Cats.
This is the best Ohio State team since their 2014 championship squad, led by two projected top ten draft picks on their defense in Jeff Okudah and Chase Young, a Heisman-contending quarterback in Justin Fields and a coach in Ryan Day whose willingness to do things Urban Meyer wouldn’t (such as using under center formations and firing bad assistants) has paid dividends.
I think Northwestern actually keeps it close for the first quarter and a half, but at some point OSU will get rolling and put up points at a rate that is hard to comprehend. It’s honestly a huge accomplishment if the Wildcats can keep the game competitive for long enough to stave off the O-H-I-O chants Buckeye fans like to flaunt in opposing stadiums when they’re in the midst of a blowout.
William Karmin: Ohio State 27, Northwestern 10
I really, really wanted to take Northwestern. Unfortunately, I have to side with the Buckeyes. The Wildcats’ defense will play an outstanding first half and the offense will do enough to keep the game within reach at halftime. At the break, though, Ryan Day will make adjustments and the Buckeyes will take over the game. NU’s offense will not stay on the field long enough, so the defense will wear out by the fourth quarter. In the end, the Wildcats will put up a respectable fight against a national championship contender.
Avery Zimmerman: Ohio State 38, Northwestern 7
I don’t know, anything can happen in college football. But these teams are so insanely mismatched I can’t see how the ‘Cats compete.
2019 Inside NU Prediction Standings:
Noah Coffman: 4-1
Joe Weinberg: 4-1
Avery Zimmerman: 3-2
Colin Kruse: 3-2
William Karmin: 3-2
Eli Karp: 2-3
Lia Assimakopoulos: 2-3
Matt Albert: 2-2
Caleb Friedman: 1-0
Lucio Vainesman: 1-0
Claire Kuwana: 1-0
Jacob Brown: 1-1
Graham Brennan: 0-1