Ohio State returns home for the first time since Oct. 8 with a game against an improving Northwestern squad.
The Wildcats (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten) are on a three-game winning streak after dispatching Iowa, Michigan State and Indiana. The Buckeyes (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten), on the other hand, are coming off their first loss of the season after a 24-21 defeat at Penn State. This contest was originally slated to serve as the third of four consecutive night games for the Buckeyes, but the kickoff time was moved up on Oct. 14.
Here’s everything you need to know about Ohio State and Northwestern and how to watch.
Ohio State vs. Northwestern details
Date: Saturday, Oct. 29
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff
Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Weather: Partly cloudy and 72 degrees at kickoff. No rain.
The line: Ohio State is a 27-point favorite.
Where TV channel is the game on?
It will be televised nationally on ESPN.
Where can I watch the game on the internet?
It can be watched online via WatchESPN.
Who is calling the game for ESPN?
Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Greg McElroy (color analyst), Tom Luginbill (sidelines)
Ohio State vs. Northwestern keys to the game
1. The first quarter
Ohio State took its slow starts to a new level against Penn State last weekend. When the first quarter ended with the game tied at 0, it was the first time Ohio State had been shut out in ANY quarter this season. That’s not a great look for a team with the talent that the Buckeyes have on the offensive side of the ball. The longer the Buckeyes are playing at full strength, the better the odds that they can overpower someone. Throwing out the first quarter minimizes their advantage in that area.
2. Curtis Samuel
Both Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and quarterback J.T. Barrett said after the Penn State loss that the offense won’t designate a number of touches for a specific player, but maybe that should change. Samuel is by far the Buckeyes’ best playmaker, and he had a grand total of two carries against Penn State. The first came in the third quarter and went for a 74-yard touchdown. If Ohio State can get Samuel involved against Northwestern, the stats to this point would indicate the offense will be better off for it.
3. Ohio State’s passing attack
The Buckeyes have not been particularly adept at vertical passing this season, but Northwestern has one of the worst passing defenses in the country. The Wildcats allow more than 280 yards through the air on average. If Ohio State is looking for ways to iron out its wrinkles in the passing game — especially on deep balls — this might be the game to try it. Doing so could pay off down the line, especially if the Buckeyes need to make some plays against Michigan’s secondary in late November.