No. 4 (CFP) Ohio State makes its fourth consecutive Big Ten championship game appearance, and sixth overall, Saturday with a 12 noon game against the No. 14 Northwestern Wildcats at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The game will be nationally broadcast on FOX and it will be played in front of no more than 2,000 family members of players, coaches and program staffers as each team was allotted 1,000 tickets for such distribution.
#4 Ohio State vs. #14 Northwestern • Sat., Dec. 19 • When: 12:00 p.m. • Where: Lucas Oil Stadium • TV: FOX • Radio: 97.1 The Fan
- Saturday’s game will be the third contest between Ohio State and Northwestern in the last two years.
- The Buckeyes and Wildcats met in the 2018 Big Ten Championship Game, a 45-24 Ohio State victory, and then again during the regular season in 2019 – a 52-3 win for the Buckeyes at NU’s Ryan Field.
- Ohio State leads the all-time series 63-14-1, has won 32 of the last 33 games, and has won eight consecutive games since a 33-27 overtime loss in 2004.
- The Buckeyes and Wildcats will be playing for the 11th time when both tams are ranked. The Buckeyes have a 6-4 edge in the previous 10 games.
STRENGTH VS. STRENGTH
- Something has to give on Saturday when one of the nation’s top offenses meets one of the nation’s top defenses.
- Ohio State possesses the No. 4 scoring offense in the country and is averaging 46.6 points per game. The Buckeyes have scored no less than 38 points in each of it games this year.
- Meanwhile, Northwestern has the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense, allowing an average of just 14.6 points per game. They’ve given up no more than 29 points in each game this season.
- A reason for the Wildcats’ success on defense has been its play against the pass. Northwestern ranks No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency defense (93.26) and 12th in total interceptions (12).
- Ohio State, led by the stellar play of QB Justin Fields, is second nationally in team passing efficiency (196.1) and has just three interceptions in 137 attempts.
A DYNAMIC DUO
- How good have Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave been this year? Really good. And really consistent.
- The duo is No. 1 and No. 2, respectively in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game (Wilson in averaging 114.4 yards/game and Olave 105.6).
- They are the only set of teammates nationally who are averaging more than 100 yards receiving per game.
- Wilson and Olave have accounted for 70 of Ohio State’s 107 total receptions this season (65.4 percent) and 1,100 of its 1,407 receiving yards (78.1 percent).
- Wilson had 100 or more receiving yards in each of the Buckeyes’ first four games, which was the second longest streak in program history. Olave also has four 100-yard receiving games.
SECOND QUARTER SURGE
- For the season, Ohio State has outscored its opponents 80-17 in the second quarter and has outgained them 771-302.
- The Buckeyes also hold a 136-30 first-half scoring advantage over its opponents this season.
- In the last four games, in wins over Penn State, Rutgers, Indiana and Michigan State, the Buckeyes have a 669-221 advantage in second quarter total offensive yards.
CAREER RECORDS WATCH
- Justin Fields is currently tied with Joe Germaine for third place on Ohio State’s career TD pass list with 56. Bobby Hoying is No. 2 with 57 from 1992-95 while J.T. Barrett holds the Ohio State and Big Ten record with 104.
- Fields’ 4,680 career passing yards at Ohio State ranks No. 12 all-time. He’s 410 yards away from passing Jim Karsatos for 11th place.
- Chris Olave caught his 20th career touchdown pass last week at Michigan State, which moved him into a tie for sixth place on Ohio State’s career list with K.J. Hill. David Boston holds the record with 34 from 1996-98.
- Olave is three receptions shy of 100 for his career.
Ohio State is the first in Big Ten history to win three consecutive outright Big Ten championships. All other streaks included shared or co-championships.
Ohio State has allowed only 30 first-half points this season while scoring 136. The Buckeyes have allowed just 16 first-half points in the last four games.
6 & 13
Something to watch: led by QB Justin Fields, Ohio State has the nation’s No. 6 total offense (532.4) while Northwestern is rock solid at No. 13 nationally in total defense (313.9).
Ryan Day-coached Ohio State teams have topped 500 yards of total offense 16 times in 22 games and they have also scored 40 or more points 16 times.
THE NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS
- Champions of the Big Ten West, Northwestern is No. 14 in the latest College Football Playoff Top 25 and finished with a 6-1 regular season record.
- The Wildcats won their rivalry game last week, topping Illinois 28-10 behind a rushing attack that totaled 411 yards.
- Quarterback Peyton Ramsey, a transfer from Indiana, has started all seven games and is completing nearly 60 percent of his passes (124 of 210) for 1,218 yards and nine touchdowns.
- Drake Anderson is the team’s leading rusher with 256 yards and two touchdowns on 62 carries this season. Isaiah Bowser has carried the ball 77 times for 229 yards while Cam Porter is coming off a 145-yard effort last week vs. Illinois.
- Northwestern is second in the country in scoring defense, allowing an average of just 14.6 points per game. The Wildcats have not given up more than 29 points in any game this season.
- Northwestern also ranks in the top 25 nationally in rushing defense (21st, 121.9 yards allowed/game) and passing defense (21st, 192.0 yards allowed/game). It also leads the country in team pass efficiency defense (93.26).
- Freshman cornerback Brandon Joseph leads the team and the Big Ten with five interceptions.
- Senior linebacker Paddy Fisher is the team’s leading tackler with 65 total stops and 3.5 tackles for loss. Fellow linebacker Blake Gallagher, also a senior, has 9.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.
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