The battle between two undefeated juggernauts between the no.4 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes and the no.16 Northwestern Wildcats will get played tonight at 8 PM EST at Northwestern’s Ryan Field on ABC. A great prime time match-up that will feature a hard-hitting run stopping defense against an electric, game changing, ground attack led by running back and a team that averages 249.5 yards per game on the ground.
Another intriguing aspect of the game is that the Wildcats only allow 118 yards per game on the ground and tonight that defense will get a stiff test in trying to stop Carlos Hyde and the Buckeyes dominant ground attack. Also, in the mix are Jordan Hall and Braxton Miller helping Ohio State rank 11th in rush offense.
Ohio State has established itself as an offensive powerhouse in the first five games of the season. Miller (406 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, and 1 interception) and Kenny Guiton (664 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) have taken turns turns this season shredding defenses at will.
On defense it’s still relatively young and inexperienced and for most teams that is the heart and soul of the team. The Buckeyes reputation is for their dominant defenses. With big names of the past such as A.J. Hawk, the monsters that stop the run and make it difficult for quarterbacks to get into any kind of rhythm are a distant memory.
So far in 2013 the Buckeyes’ defense has not gelled together against the pass. When it comes to teams running the football it’s a difficult challenge only giving up an average of 84.6 yards per game and allow 219.4 yards per game through the air.
For Northwestern their pass defense hasn’t performed well allowing 308.8 yards per game. With Miller leading the way he has the opportunity to continues to those struggles against the pass opening up the run for the Buckeyes. Corey Brown will likely have a big day.
Begging the question of how will the two of the nations best running teams and two teams that stop the run fare?
This game has BCS implications for both teams. Ohio State is going to be tested for their ability to prepare for a possible final showdown with Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship. This sets the stage for the final battle.
The game favors Ohio State even while being a huge road test. Look for a score to be close with the Buckeyes winning 27-24.