COLUMBUS, Ohio — For Ohio State, there’s no place like home.
After back-to-back road night games, the Buckeyes return to Ohio Stadium for the first time since Oct. 8. Urban Meyer’s team is set to take on Northwestern, which has won three consecutive Big Ten games.
After taking part in the Skull Session at St. John Arena, Ohio State players and coaches made the trek from the old basketball arena to Ohio Stadium with screaming fans lining both sides. Former Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple also took part in the walk. He’s back in Columbus because the New York Giants are off this week.
You can watch the full video below.
The players also got their customary pregame hugs from Meyer before entering the locker room.
To get ready for the game, here are three keys for the Buckeyes as they look to get back to their winning ways.
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 failed to score 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. Maybe that should change, however. 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.