Ohio State has looked flat and lifeless through one half of the B1G Championship Game, putting the College Football Playoff hopes of the Buckeyes in serious jeopardy.

Unfortunately for the Ohio State offense, the day did not start on a good note with the announcement that star receiver Chris Olave and freshman Jaxon Smith-Njigba would not be available. Olave led the team in catches and was tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns, providing the perfect one-two punch in the passing game with Garrett Wilson.

Olave’s absence is certainly being felt with star QB Justin Fields struggling at the break. Through one half of action, Fields is just 9-for-20 for 101 yards and an interception. Making matters worse, that interception came late in the first half and in the red zone as the Buckeyes were trying to score to take the lead.

On the other side of the ball, Ohio State’s defense has not done a good job against the run or at getting pressure on Northwestern QB Peyton Ramsey. The Wildcats are averaging 4.5 yards per carry while putting up 77 yards on the ground.

In the end, Northwestern’s defense carried the day and the lead into halftime at 10-6. Fortunately, Ohio State still has a half of action to turn it around.

One thing the Buckeyes may look to do a bit more in the second half is run the ball effectively. Trey Sermon and Master Teague III combined for 83 yards on the ground. Considering the key absences and struggles throwing the ball, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Ohio State to try and churn it up with the rushing attack moving forward.

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