Ohio State Post-Game
by Jonathan Hodges

Another week, another huge dissapointment, as Northwestern (2-2, 0-1) falls to Ohio State (4-0, 1-0) by a final of 58-7.  NU was utterly dominated in all facets of the game with OSU scoring 28 points in the first quarter alone on the way to building a 45-0 lead by halftime, without showing too much effort.  The only bright spot on the day came on redshirt freshman Stephen Simmons' 99 yard kickoff return for a TD to begin the second half.  Besides that the closest NU came to a score was with 50 seconds left in the game when the 'Cats reached the Buckeye 24 yard line, but failed to convert on 4th down.  In fact, the only other time Northwestern reached OSU territory was at the very end of the 3rd quarter when NU reached the Ohio State 46 but ended up throwing an interception.  I could go on all day, but here are some stats to show the total domination by OSU, in case you weren't watching:

- Net Yards Rushing: NU, 0; OSU, 191
- Net Yards Passing: NU 120; OSU 205
- Total Yards: NU 120 (1.8 yards/play), OSU 396 (6.4 yards/play)
- OSU had one punt on the day which went for 34 yards and was inside the 20.  NU had nine punts and averaged 25.9 net yards with zero inside the 20.
- On those punt returns, Ohio State averaged 9.8 yards per return (5 were returned).  NU did not return the one punt it received.
- OSU had 5 sacks for -41 yards with 13 tackles for a loss overall (-61 yards).
- NU averaged 8 yards/drive, with the longest 2 drives (37 and 41 yards) coming late in the game after OSU already removed virtually all of its starters.
- CJ Bacher's line: 17-32 for 120 yards, 2 INT, 7 rushes for -39 yards (includes 5 sacks).
- NU's rushing leader: Omar Conteh, 15 rushes for 28 yards, average 1.9 yards/attempt.
- OSU needed an average of only 3.9 plays to make it into the end zone on each of their 8 TD scoring drives.
- Ohio State started 9 of its 15 drives in NU territory.
- Once again, NU made the opposing QB look like a Heisman candidate: Boeckman went 11-14 for 179 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT.  That's a TD pass ever 3.5 attempts.  And 12.8 yards/attempt.
- Receiving: OSU's Robiskie had 3 catches for 89 yards - all of them were touchdown passes.  Small had one 48 yard catch for a TD.
- Meanwhile, NU's leading receiver was Peterman who had 6 catches for 61 yards.  The only other receiver with more than 20 was Thompson with 22.  Lane did not catch a pass.
- NU's Stephen Simmons had 131 yards on 3 kick returns, which outgained the entire NU offense by 11 yards.

Need I go on?

Northwestern's offensive line could not keep Ohio State out of the backfield as they blitzed all day long.  Bacher had virtually no time to throw, but when NU did run a quick pass (screen pass, swing pass, shovel pass) OSU was all over the potential receiver/ball carrier as the ball fell incomplete many times or the receiver was immediately tackled close to or behind the LOS.  The running game was virtually non-existent as Sutton remained sidelined with his ankle injury and Conteh had no room to run (Roberson was used sparingly as the running back).  This game marks CJ's first start where he threw less than 200 yards.

On defense, NU had a good play once in a while - and in fact there were two Wildcats who had a decent game: Adam Kadela who had 12 tackles including 2 for a combined loss of 4 yards, and John Gill who had 6 tackles including 2 for a total loss of 9 yards (one was NU's only sack of the game).  McManis had NU's lone interception for the day (on a would-be TD pass to Robiskie) but left after a mishap on a kickoff as he ran into Phillips then got laid out by an unblocked OSU player (although that did leave the window for Simmons to come in on kickoff returns).  One can just look at OSU's numbers and see that the Buckeyes scored at will every time they had the ball as the LOS was manhandled by OSU virtually every play.  NU fell for the play action on almost every one of OSU's passing TDs, especially the very first one where the defensive backs bit on the run fake hard, leaving Robiskie wide open.

Special teams even weren't that special for Northwestern with Demos averaging a miserable 25.9 net yards with none of his 9 punts inside the 20.  In addition, one was blocked (rather easily) showing the weak point of NU's new punt formation.  Not that Demos had much of a chance, with NU ending the drive inside its own 20 and punting on 8 of the 9 punts - which meant Demos was basically kicking out of the end zone on over half of his punts.  Villareal had only once chance to see the field Saturday and he made an extra point.

And once again NU looked undisciplined out there - last year averaging under 30 penalty yards/game - NU had 8 penalties for 76 yards (last game NU had 13 for 125 yards).

Overall, this game looked like a return to the "dark ages" for NU with an inability to move the ball on offense, an inability to stop OSU at all, and just being flattened in all aspects of the game.  When NU is unable to take the kickoff past the 20 on 6 of 10 occasions (including the first 4 straight) with guys being laid out across the field one could see NU didn't stand much of a chance.  This game marks the worst margin of defeat since Iowa's 62-10 beating in 2002, and the most points yielded since that same occasion.  Even last year's 54-10 loss was a lot closer, with NU able to at least move the ball (NU had 297 yards of total offense) - although it was the 5 turnovers that lost that game for NU.

There will be a lot of deficiencies to address for this team and hopefully they can pick themselves back up and improve prior to next week's matchup with rejuvenated Michigan who is coming off of a win against Penn State that brought their record to 2-2, 1-0.

Player of the Game: Todd Boeckman, basically just for showing up: 11-14 for 179 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT.  That's a TD pass ever 3.5 attempts.  And 12.8 yards/attempt.

Solid NU Performances:
Adam Kadela who had 12 tackles including 2 for a combined loss of 4 yards.
John Gill who had 6 tackles including 2 for a total loss of 9 yards (one was NU's only sack of the game).

What to Work On:
EVERYTHING.  Particularly, controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

Random Observations:
- See my play-by-play from Saturday, although nobody really wants to see that.

e-mail: j-hodges@alumni.northwestern.edu

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