College GameDay crew explains how Northwestern could upset Ohio State
It seems like we’ve already made Ohio State the Big Ten champion before the Buckeyes face off against Northwestern.
Ohio State most likely needs to defeat the Wildcats to make it to the College Football Playoff. A loss would certainly make the Buckeyes’ chances much bleaker but would be quite the accomplishment for Pat Fitzgerald’s squad.
Not trying to assume too much (it is 2020 after all), the College GameDay crew tried to break down Northwestern’s chances of winning the Big Ten title.
Lee Corso kicked things off believing in the Wildcats as a team that could upset Ohio State.
“Even though they’ve lost 32 of the last 33 games against Ohio State, of all the teams that challenge the Buckeyes this year, it’s Northwestern,” Corso said. “Why? They can play defense. They’re No. 2 in the nation, they only give up 14 points per game. They have an offense that can control the clock.
“It will take a miracle like LSU’s win over Florida last week.”
Based on what we’ve seen, I think it’s safe to say Northwestern is better than LSU and has the discipline not to shot put an opponent’s shoe.
The best case for the Wildcats’ upset appears to be the fact Northwestern’s defense has played at a high level and Ohio State has significant absences with nearly two dozen players set to miss Saturday’s game.
“Mike Hanwitz is one of the better defensive coordinators in the B1G and consistent coordinators we’ve seen in recent years and, of course, Pat Fitzgerald,” said Kirk Herbstreit. “They’re all revved up. The problem is, do they have enough? Even with Ohio State down a few players, do they have enough on that side of the ball to be able to say up with Ohio State? Because we all know, Justin Fields’ ability to run and throw could be the difference in the game.”
We’ve certainly seen Fields basically lead drives by himself in games this season because of significant absences for Ohio State. He can make everyone better around him, including his wide receivers.
“If Northwestern’s defense isn’t able to slow down Ohio State’s wideouts, I don’t care who’s out there on the perimeter. It’s going to be a long day for them,” Desmond Howard said.
Defense will be a big deal for the Wildcats today if they are going to pull off the improbable upset.
“They’re outmanned, they’re outgunned,” David Pollack said of Northwestern. “They’ve got to create turnovers. They gotta steal possessions away from that powerful Ohio State offense.”