GAME PREVIEW: No. 6 Ohio State vs. Northwestern
Oct. 24, 2016

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No. 6 Ohio State vs. Northwestern
Saturday, October 29th, 2016, 3:30 p.m. ET
Ohio Stadium (104,955), Columbus, OH

TV: ESPN
Dave Pasch (Play-By-Play)
Greg McElroy (Analyst)
Tom Luginbill (Sideline)

Radio: WBNS FM (97.1 The Fan) The Urban Meyer pregame show airs 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Paul Keels will call the action with former Buckeye Jim Lachey and Matt Andrews on the sidelines. The game can also be heard on Sirius-XM channels 135 (Sirius) and 195 (XM) and internet channel 957.

FIRST AND 10

  • Ohio State has won the last five meetings with Northwestern and 29 of the last 30 overall.
  • Saturday will be Northwestern’s first visit to Ohio Stadium since 2007.
  • Ohio State’s defense has given up just eight touchdowns this season and has allowed just two rushing scores, tied for the fewest in the FBS.
  • The Buckeye defense also has scored four defensive TDs on the season, second most in the FBS.
  • The Buckeyes rank second in the FBS in red zone defense (.650), fourth in turnover margin (+1.29) and fifth in scoring defense (14.4), total defense (279.7) and pass efficiency defense (91.2). Offensively, Ohio State ranks fifth in the FBS and second in the Big Ten with 45.3 points per game.
  • J.T. Barrett is Ohio State’s all-time leader with 90 touchdowns responsible for, 62 passing and 28 rushing. Barrett’s 90 scores are the second most among active FBS players since the start of the 2014 season. He became Ohio State’s all-time leader in touchdown passes in the win over Rutgers and now has 62 in his career entering Saturday’s game vs. Northwestern.
  • Curtis Samuel ranks second in the Big Ten with 142.6 all-purpose yards per game and 37 total receptions.
  • Malik Hooker is one of 16 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation’s top defensive back. Hooker is tied for sixth nationally with four interceptions and is third on the team with 36 tackles, including 4.0 tackles-for-loss.
  • Jerome Baker leads Ohio State with 43 tackles and is tied for second with 6.0 TFL.
  • Head coach Urban Meyer has the highest winning percentage (.851) among active coaches with at least 10 years of FBS coaching experience. Meyer has lost consecutive games just four times in his 15-year head coaching career.

NOW ... BACK-TO-BACK GAMES AT OHIO STADIUM
Ohio State, coming off a pair of emotional, tense slugfests on the road at two of the top road environments in college football – 82,000-strong jumping around at UW’s Camp Randall Stadium and 107,000-plus in white-out conditions at PSU’s Beaver Stadium – returns to Ohio Stadium for back-to-back Big Ten games in the next two weeks vs. Northwestern and Nebraska, respectively. The 6-1, 2-1 Big Ten, Buckeyes will look to rally in front of the home crowd after being stunned on Saturday by Penn State behind 17 unanswered fourth-quarter points after leading 21-7 entering the fourth quarter.

TOUGH STRETCH
The two tough road games the Buckeyes just experienced started a difficult stretch of contests leading up to the end of the season. Ohio State’s last seven games were/are against teams that have a combined 35-14 record. Wisconsin was in the Top 10 when the schools played and is at No. 11 this week. Nebraska and Michigan are each 7-0 and ranked Nos. 7 and 2, respectively, by the Associated Press. Only Michigan State, a team that has won two of four games against Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, is the only team without a winning record among the final seven schools Ohio State will play.

FIRST NORTHWESTERN VISIT IN NINE YEARS
This will be the first Ohio State/Northwestern game in Ohio Stadium in nine years, or since Sept. 22, 2007. The teams have played just twice since that game with both contests in Evanston: a 45-10 Ohio State win in 2008 and a 40-30 Ohio State win in 2013.

GAME TIME CHANGED
The start time for the Ohio State/Northwestern game at Ohio Stadium was adjusted 10 days ago (Oct. 14) at the request of ESPN from 5:30 p.m. EDT to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Both participating institutions and the Big Ten Conference agreed to move the start time. It was announced on Saturday that ESPN would televise.

URBAN MEYER’S STREAKS
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has lost five times in this, his fifth year as head coach. He’s won 56 times. He has also led his Buckeyes to a school record 24- game winning streak and another 23-game winning streak; an NCAA record 30 consecutive conference wins; a school-record 20 consecutive true road victories and a Big Ten record-tying 17 consecutive Big Ten road wins. Those mutually inclusive last two road winning streaks came to an end Saturday at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa.

HIS TEAMS RECOVER. QUICKLY.
Urban Meyer’s teams, covering 188 games, have regrouped, recovered and gotten back to winning quickly after a loss. His teams have lost consecutive games only four times in 15 seasons and he has had just one three-game losing streak. His last back-to-back losses: at the end of the 2013 season to Michigan State and Clemson.

WAY BACK-TO-BACK
Meyer’s only multi-game losing streaks

  1. BGSU-2002: at No. Illinois; at South Florida
  2. Florida-2007: vs. Auburn; at No. 1 LSU
  3. Florida-2010: at No. 1 Alabama; vs. No. 12 LSU; vs. Mississippi State
  4. Ohio State-2013: vs. Michigan State; vs. Clemson

BARRETT HITS 90 TDS RESPONSIBLE FOR
Junior quarterback J.T. Barrett, who set the Ohio State record for touchdowns responsible for (passing and rushing) in the overtime win over Wisconsin, added his 90th career touchdown Saturday vs. Penn State, a 26-yard touchdown pass to TE Marcus Baugh. The touchdown moves Barrett within striking range of the most in the Big Ten since 1996, according to the statistical database Stats LLC.

MOST TDs RESPONSIBLE FOR - BIG TEN
(active players since 2014)

Name, School Pass Rush Total
Drew Brees, Purdue 81 14 95
Denard Robinson, Michigan 49 42 91
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State 62 28 90
Chad Henne, Michigan 62 28 90

MOST TDs RESPONSIBLE FOR (RUSH & PASS)
(active players since 2014)

Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech 97
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State 90
Deshaun Watson, Clemson 87
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan 86
Greg Ward, Jr., Houston
Cooper Rush, Central Michigan
75

Barrett also accounted for an Ohio State school-record seven touchdowns Sept. 3 in the win over Bowling Green with six touchdowns passing and another running. The total broke the mark of six that he shared with Kenny Guiton (2013 at Cal) and Tony Curcillo (1951 vs. Iowa). The six touchdown passes tied the school mark that he holds with Guiton. Barrett threw for a personal-best 349 yards and rushed for 30 yards for 379 total offensive yards versus the Falcons and extended his own school-record for 300-yard total offense games to 12. He directed the Buckeyes to a school-record 776 yards of offense with 417 passing yards and 359 rushing.