Ohio State showed no signs of rust coming off a bye week, and the rare non-Saturday kickoff did little to throw the Buckeyes off as they rolled over the Northwestern Wildcats, 52-3, in Evanston on Friday night.
Quarterback Justin Fields threw for 193 yards and four touchdown passes in just over three quarters of action, and running back J.K. Dobbins added 121 yards rushing and two total touchdowns as the Buckeyes offense continued their theme of wearing down opposing defenses as the game progressed en route to 484 yards of total offense.
Northwestern (1-5) came into the game as massive underdogs, particularly because of an offense that ranked near the worst in the entire country in nearly every statistic. Facing an Ohio State defense that has been playing at a high level all season, Northwestern’s offensive woes were magnified Friday night to the tune of just 199 yards of total offense.
The tone of the game was set immediately as Ohio State wasted no time getting on the board after electing to receive the opening kickoff of the first half.
Starting at their own 20-yard line, Fields engineered a 10-play, 80- yard drive that was capped off with a 20-yard strike from Fields to receiver Chris Olave to put the Buckeyes up 7-0 just over four minutes into the game.
After trading punts on the next two drives, Northwestern got on the board with a 33-yard field goal by Charlie Kuhbander to cut the Ohio State lead to 7-3 in the first quarter.
That would wrap up the scoring for the anemic Northwestern offense, and Ohio State would open the game up on the ensuing drive.
Fields found Dobbins for a 19-yard touchdown throw and catch to finish off a 12-play, 75-yard drive and increase the Ohio State lead to 14-3 with 12:44 left in the second quarter. Ohio State converted three third downs on the drive, a common theme for the night as they were 7-11 on third down before Fields was pulled early in the fourth quarter.
Dobbins added his lone rushing touchdown to push the Ohio State lead to 21-3, and Fields connected with Olave for the duo’s second touchdown of the first half to make it 28-3 with 3:45 left in the second quarter. Blake Haubeil added a 55-yard field goal —a new career-long —in the closing seconds of the first half to send the Buckeyes into the locker room with a 31-3 lead.
Touchdown passes from Fields and Chris Chugunov, as well a 73-yard touchdown run by Master Teague III, in the second half rounded out the game’s scoring, sending the Buckeyes to 7-0 and redirecting their full attention to the looming showdown with the Wisconsin Badgers next weekend in Ohio Stadium.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.