Evanston, Ill. — No. 2 Ohio State (9-0, 6-0) battled adverse weather conditions, high winds and rain, and the Wildcats ball-control offense to claim a 21-7 road win at Northwestern (1-8, 1-5) Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois.
Notably, Saturday’s 21-7 win marked the program’s 70th consecutive game with at least 20 points, marking a new all-time FBS record.
C.J. Stroud completed 10-of-26 passes for 76 yards. He also rushed for 79 yards on six carries, including the game’s longest play from scrimmage, a 44-yard rush late in the fourth quarter.
Marvin Harrison Jr., led the receivers with 51 yards on five catches.
Jesse Mirco punted seven times for an average of 50.3 yards (352 total).
The Buckeyes had 283 yards of total offense with 207 via the ground game. The Wildcats had the advantage in time of possession, holding the ball for more than 36 minutes. The Buckeyes had the ball for just under 24.
The Buckeyes return to Ohio Stadium next Saturday to face Indiana. The game time and television network will be announced Monday.
The Buckeyes took the first snap of the game after the Wildcats won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Ohio State’s Xavier Johnson returned the Northwestern kickoff to the Ohio State 30.
Faced with high winds and rain, the Buckeyes were not able to move the ball on their first possession. Mirco came on to punt and managed a 34-yard effort to the Northwestern 40.
The Wildcats also had trouble with the ball and punted, with the wind, to the Ohio State endzone for a touchback, after a 56-yard punt.
Stroud started from the OSU 25 after the Wildcats were penalized 5 yards for an illegal (punt) formation.
The Buckeyes drove to the Northwestern 47 before Mirco delivered a 47-yard punt for a touchback with 10:03 left in the opening quarter.
Northwestern then drove 80 yards on nine plays to score the first points of the game (7-0) on a 16-yard direct snap rushing touchdown over the left edge by Evan Hall.
Ohio State was forced to punt for the third time on the next possession, this time a 37-yard Mirco effort from the OSU 34 to the Northwestern 29.
The Wildcats gave the ball back to the Buckeyes on a 52-yard punt from the Wildcat 35 that was returned 18 yards by Egbuka to the Ohio State 31.
Northwestern’s defense then stopped the Buckeyes on fourth down and a yard to go at the Ohio State 40 to give the Wildcat offense the ball in Buckeye territory.
The quarter ended after a Northwestern first down rush to the Ohio State 27.
Ohio State got the ball back on downs when the Wildcats failed on a fourth-and-8 while driving into the wind for the first time.
The Buckeyes took over at the OSU 21.
With the wind in the second quarter, Stroud and the Buckeyes stalled at the OSU 36. Mirco came on to punt and booted one 64-yards for a touchback.
Northwestern’s next drive was stopped by the Ohio State defense at the Wildcat 49.
After a 31-yard Northwestern punt to the Ohio State 18, the Buckeyes moved to the OSU 26 where Mirco delivered a punt of 77 yards for a touchback after a 5-yard Ohio State delay of game penalty.
The Wildcats lost 6 yards on its next possession before punting from its 14, a 32-yarder, to the NW 46.
Ohio State stayed with the ground game on the next possession, rushing six times to tie the game at 7-all on a 15-yard end-around rush by Egbuka to the right front corner of the endzone. Egbuka spun to his right to stay inbounds before crossing the goal line for the score with 2:26 left in the half. The drive covered 46 yards.
The half ended with Northwestern taking a knee to run out the clock at its 34 with the game tied 7-all.
The Wildcats started the second half with the ball facing the wind. The offense drove to the NW 45 where the Ohio State defense stuffed a fourth-and-1 attempt to give the Buckeyes the ball in Northwestern territory.
The Buckeyes took advantage of the field possession, taking a 14-7 lead on a Miyan Williams 27-yard scoring run that started up the middle before breaking to the right side for the score. The drive covered 45 yards on six plays.
Ohio State got the ball back after a Northwestern punt from the OSU 46 to the Ohio State 16, a boot of 30 yards.
After driving to their 48, the Buckeyes punted the ball away, a 48-yard Mirco effort that went out of bounds at the NW 4.
The Wildcats moved to their 12 on a pair of rushing plays before the quarter ended with Ohio State leading 14-7.
Northwestern, with the wind at its back, used more than five minutes of clock with 16 plays to open the fourth quarter, driving to the OSU 36 but faced with a fourth-and-8, threw an incomplete pass over the middle to turn the ball over on downs to Ohio State.
The Buckeyes gave the ball back to the Wildcats after driving to the OSU 44. A Mirco punt into the wind pinned Northwestern at their 11 following a 45-yard punt.
Ohio State’s defense stepped up to stop the Wildcats at their 18. After a 44-yard Wildcat punt, Ohio State took over at the OSU 38 with a one-score lead and more than six minutes left in the game.
Stroud had the big play of the game on the next Ohio State drive, a 44-yard rush down the right side to set up a Williams 2-yard touchdown run up the middle for the 21-7 lead.
All five plays of the drive were rushes covering 62 yards over 2:06.
The Wildcats turned the ball over on downs on their next possession at the OSU 44.
Ohio State remained with the ground game the rest of the way to secure the 21-7 victory.