Recap: Ohio State at Northwestern
And like that, the Buckeye victory train keeps on rolling. Even with their big brains, the Wildcats of Northwestern had no answers for Ohio State last Saturday Friday night.
The Buckeyes scored more and gave up less than I projected, making me feel like a Negative Nelly for yet another week, despite picking them to win by nearly five touchdowns.
As usual, I had a couple of predictions that came to fruition, but had many others that fell flat.
Where I was close on my predictions:
- Justin Fields completed 18 passes instead of the 19 that I assigned him. That’s close. I’ll take it.
- Chris Chugunov got some game action and attempted two passes.
- J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague III both rushed for a TD, as noted.
- Teague III rushed for just under 100 yards (96 to a projected 99).
- Chris Olave led the team in receiving yards and got into the endzone.
- Yes, he got in there twice… the tarot card was hazy on that one, sorry.
- Blake Haubeil put every kick attempt through the uprights.
Where I was less close:
- Fields didn’t throw for nearly as many yards as I’d imagined, because the specialists and run game kept putting the Bucks into great position.
- The QB threw for four TDs instead of the measly two I’d guessed.
- He even let Chugunov throw one once he checked out for the evening.
- Dobbins’ rushing totals were a bit shy of what I’d projected, and he managed to catch two more passes than I thought and score a receiving TD.
- As I noted above, Teague III’s rushing total was very close to what I’d guessed, but he accomplished it on half of the carries, as can happen when you break off 73-yard TD runs.
- Three different OSU running backs had a carry of more than 50 yards in the same game. When was the last time that happened? (Seriously. I don’t know, but would love to.)
- Wide receiver stats… meh
- Though he did make everything that he attempted, I did not foresee a 55-yard thing of beauty like Blake Haubeil put between the posts against NU.
- Since his successful kick traveled further than all of Northwestern’s passing yardage, he earned the standard recap game photo.
October 26 – Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
A few weeks ago, I predicted that Fields would attempt nearly ten more passes than his game average. That backfired on me. Well, I’m doing it again, and saying that he’ll throw the ball more in this game than any week before (by one pass, but still)!!! The first-year starter will attempt 26 throws against the Badgers, connecting on 18 of them and finishing with just under 250 passing yards on the afternoon. Two of those completions will be the kind where fans cheer even louder than normal and points are put onto the scoreboard to reward the masterful footballery.
Where Fields will do even more damage is with his legs in the redzone. As the Badgers spread out to cover the numerous pass-catching options, or load the box to halt the league’s best running back (J.K. Dobbins, of course), he will be the X Factor for which they cannot account. The athletic QB will find his way into the endzone twice as a rusher on Saturday.
Running Back Projections
Saturday may just be a showdown between two Heisman finalists in running backs Jonathan Taylor and J.K. Dobbins. Taylor will likely receive more carries, as he’s averaging a handful of touches more than Dobbins on a weekly basis. I predict that both will end with similar stats on the day with neither truly separating themselves from the other in a heads up battle.
Dobbins will earn his highest carry total of the year, as Ryan Day tires the Wisconsin defense by riding the veteran back. Despite the tough Badger D, Dobbins will get his yards, averaging about 4.7 per carry. Master Teague III will spell him on occasion, finishing out the game as well, and get himself another 40 yards on the ground. Dobbins gets into the endzone once more, and snags a catch or two in the contest.
Pass Catcher Projections
Oh, good. My favorite part, the always predictable pass catchers!
- K.J. Hill gets back to his leading receiver ways, hauling in four passes for just over the half-century mark.
- Chris Olave does Chris Olave things, finding his way into the endzone once more.
- Austin Mack is Mr. Reliable, moving the ball down the field on three occasions.
- Binjimen Victor, Jeremy Ruckert and Garrett Wilson all get into the stat columns again.
- Luke Farrell makes his only catch of the day count, as he gets in for a ten-yard gain and six points.
I’ll just continue to keep this line in here for a while hoping it’ll eventually be true, “Blake Haubeil hits on each of his five PATs and puts in two field goals.”
Drue Chrisman punts five times, pins the Badgers back deep in their own territory, and gets himself one step closer to the first Heisman Trophy winning punter.
The Buckeyes will give up some scores to the Badgers, and Taylor will get his yards. Even with that, Ohio State will continue their undefeated streak on Saturday.
Though it won’t necessarily feel like a blowout, the Buckeyes win by three scores as they head into November at 8-0.
Final Score Prediction
Ohio State 41 – Wisconsin 20