The Ohio State Buckeyes, ranked second in the College Football Playoff poll, will play the Northwestern Wildcats this weekend at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois.
Ohio State (8-0, 5-0) scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to hold off Penn State 44-31 last weekend. The offense was without top wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (hamstring injury), but quarterback C.J. Stroud still managed to throw for 354 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Harrison Jr. has stepped up in Smith-Njigba’s absence and had 10 catches for 185 yards.
The Buckeyes defense gave up nearly 500 yards to the Nittany Lions but got an amazing effort from defensive lineman J.T. Tuimoloau. The former five-star prospect had two interceptions, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown.
Northwestern (1-7, 1-4) hasn’t had anything go right since its comeback win over Nebraska in Dublin to open the season. The Wildcats got two touchdown passes from Brendan Sullivan last week but not much else in a 33-13 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Caesars Sportsbook lists Ohio State as a 38-point road favorite with an over/under of 58.
Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Ohio State -38
Money line: N/A
Analysis: Ohio State has a winning margin of 29.7 during its nine-game win streak against Northwestern. Some of those games have been close, but Saturday is going to be a blowout.
The Wildcats have struggled to score this season, sitting at 120th in the nation with 17.9 points per game. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes are among the best in college football with a scoring offense that averages nearly 49 points a game.
Weather will be an issue Saturday as the forecast calls for rain and wind gusts that could reach 40 MPH. That may force the Buckeyes to lean more on TreVeyon Henderson and the running game rather than having Stroud sling the ball around the field. It shouldn’t matter in the final result.