Northwestern students are back at Ryan Field for a contest between a Wildcats team hoping to get right before Big Ten play and an Ohio squad looking for its first victory of the season. Here’s how our staff expects it to shake out:
Daniel Olinger: Northwestern 24, Ohio 19
I don’t really know what to believe anymore. You could tell me that the ‘Cats are back to being historically bad and fall to Ohio by double digits in a severely depressing outing, or you could point to some of the signs of life they’ve sprinkled in on both sides of the ball to convince me they dominate as a Big Ten team should in this setting. I ultimately think this team is below average in the B1G, and teams of that caliber usually scoot past these MAC matchups in thin, discouraging margins. Hooray???
Mac Stone: Northwestern 24, Ohio 10
I don’t like this game! I don’t like it at all. However, Ohio is really not good! The Bobcats sit at 0-3 with 20 point loss to Syracuse, a two point loss to Duquesne and, most recently, a 35-point loss to Louisiana! The Duke game was very concerning, but I think the Wildcats rebound here. Give me NU by two scores. Anything less than that and this game’s result was officially a failure. Also, please do not bet on Northwestern. That’s a horrible idea.
Ben Chasen: Northwestern 27, Ohio 7
Led by ? at quarterback, the Wildcats cruise to an easy win against a bad team, one that will somehow be both reassuring and discouraging at the same time. While ? won’t perform exceptionally, tossing at least one pick and scoring no more than twice, Evan Hull will have another big day against an Ohio defense that has allowed 254 rushing yards a game in their first three contests while facing only one Power Five opponent. Meanwhile, the Northwestern defense will allow fewer than 250 yards of total offense and only let the Bobcats into the end zone once, keeping an NU victory from ever truly being in doubt.
Jacob Brown: Northwestern 17, Ohio 10
The Shakespearean tragedy of Hunter Johnson has come to an end, and it’s really damn sad. I’m ready to place 80% of the blame on Mick McCall, 5% on Fitz, and 15% on circumstance. Fitz is to blame for not making him the starter right away in 2019. The 15% is the injury and his mother’s situation. But Mick ruined him. He set Hunter up to fail with his awful scheme, poor coaching ability, and forcing Hunter to split offseason snaps. This thwarted his development and confidence, and I don’t think we ever see him play again.
With that said, I’m not buying Marty or Hilinski either. I think NU’s best route is to play Marty and have him run. I think he and Hilinski split time this game, but neither impresses. On the defensive side, the linebackers are too slow. I want to see more of Khalid Jones, Jaylen Rivers, Michael Jansey, and Xander Mueller. This is the game to experiment with your talent and see what you truly have going into B1G play. Overall, this game will be stinky and early, so you likely want two cups of coffee this morning.
John Olsen: Northwestern 28, Ohio 7
If last week’s fiasco in Durham wasn’t enough to fully indoctrinate the thousand or so freshmen who were in Ryan Fieldhouse watching, boy, do we have the solution for them! Nothing quite like a subpar performance against a MAC team to truly baptize the Class of 2025 in the Northwestern Football fandom, right? This game will end up being very similar to the Indiana State matchup two weeks ago, with the ‘Cats offense running an extremely vanilla gameplan. Ohio will eventually figure out how to stop said gameplan, but not until after Evan Hull punches in his second TD of the game to put NU up 14-0 early in the 2nd quarter. After that, the offense will be mired in mediocrity, allowing Derek Adams to show off his punting ability, but will reach the end zone a few more times while the defense only gives up one score.
Meredith Revsine: Northwestern 34, Ohio 14
The Wildcats have a fairly unimpressive history against MAC opponents, namely against Miami (OH). While this Ohio team does not have the word Miami in front of it, I’m still unsure whether or not Northwestern will be able to triumph over the Bobcats in a way that one would expect from the reigning Big Ten West Champions. However, I do see Northwestern pulling away with a win, but not without a slow start and a few frustrating defensive sequences. Northwestern will dominate in the second half, the Wildside will finally be back in full force and all will (hopefully) be well in Evanston again (for now).
Bradley Locker: Northwestern 20, Ohio 10
Given that Northwestern’s most recent depth chart has three QB1s listed, one would think that the choice of a starter would play a large role in this game. Honestly, I don’t feel that it matters much at all. I don’t forecast the ‘Cats to shine on offense in a ground-and-pound affair similar to what we saw against Indiana State (for the record, though, I do expect Ryan Hilinski to make his first start in purple and white).
One sign of life from a dreary day in Durham: Jim O’Neil’s defense looked vastly improved in the second half against Duke, pitching a shutout in the third and fourth quarters while surrendering just 88 total yards. Assuming the Wildcats play better than they did against the Blue Devils in the first half — that’s almost a guarantee — I think Pat Fitzgerald evens the team’s record at 2-2. After all, if Syracuse was able to beat Ohio earlier this year, it’s only incumbent upon Northwestern to do the same and assert its journalistic dominance.
Michael Barthelemy: Northwestern 27, Ohio 9
I don’t think anyone here knows for sure who’s going to be under center on Saturday, but either way I think they can out-duel Kurtis Rourke. The Bobcats have straight up stunk this season, losing to Duquesne and getting obliterated by a lackluster Syracuse side. The Bobcats have yet to win a game and will run into a Northwestern team that is pissed off and hungry for a victory. I don’t think Northwestern will be incredible this season, but I think they will still have the ability to beat up on a MAC opponent, especially one with a loss to an FCS school. This should be a similar display to the Indiana State game: I don’t expect the offense to be rolling for NU, but a strong defensive showing will create points for the ‘Cats.
Gavin Dorsey: Northwestern 23, Ohio 14
Northwestern’s rolling with their lucky purple-black-black uni combo, so they have to win... right? Honestly, I have no clue what to think of this team at this point, and the trio of QBs on the depth chart divided by “OR”s certainly doesn’t make me feel better about their chances of winning today. However, it’s hard to see this 0-3 Ohio team upsetting the ‘Cats, even with their horrible track record of MAC opponents.
William Karmin: Northwestern 24, Ohio 21
As I wrote earlier this week, I think Andrew Marty is dinged up and thus will not be active, I do not think the coaching staff trusts Hunter Johnson, and thus, I believe Ryan Hilinski will be the starter. NU’s pass protection must hold up because Hilinski lacks serious mobility. Otherwise, the Wildcats will be on upset alert. ‘Cats by three thanks to a late Kuhbander field goal.
Andrew Katz: Northwestern 24, Ohio 10
After a down-and-up performance against the Blue Devils, it’s hard to trust the ‘Cats this season. Fortunately, my pick this week doesn’t reflect my opinion of Northwestern. Ohio is winless through three weeks — losing by an average margin of 19. Additionally, the Bobcats have been outgained in all three games, most recently giving up 562 yards against Louisiana-Lafayette. This is the perfect opportunity for the Wildcats’ offense to find its footing. The quarterback situation remains a dilemma, but whoever gets the start against the Bobcats has a chance to cement himself as the starter going forward. If Indiana State was a get-right game, this Saturday is the sequel that nobody wanted to see.
Jacob Brown: 3-0
Andrew Katz: 2-1
Gavin Dorsey, Eli Karp: 1-1
Mac Stone, Ben Chasen, Daniel Olinger, Didi Jin, John Olsen, Lia Assimakopoulos, William Karmin, Bradley Locker: 1-2
Sarah Effress, Colin Kruse, Brian Pager, Nik Mehrotra, Isaac Diaz, Sydney Supple, Jackson Gordwin: 0-1