Ohio State vs. Northwestern: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More
No. 4 Ohio State has won its first five games of the 2013 campaign, whether it has been Braxton Miller or Kenny Guiton under center.
As the Buckeyes get set to visit No. 16 Northwestern on Saturday, they are fresh of a huge Big Ten victory over Wisconsin.
In the 31-24 victory, Miller tossed four touchdowns, while the Buckeyes rushed for 192 yards. Ohio State was also able to limit the dynamic Melvin Gordon to 74 rushing yards.
Northwestern (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten) is coming off a 35-21 victory against overmatched Maine. The Wildcats posted 251 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in the win.
Here's a preview of the Big Ten clash Saturday in Illinois.
*Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com
When: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. EDT
Where: Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill.
Betting Line (via Covers.com): Ohio State -7
Ohio State Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: S Christian Bryant (Ankle), WR James Clark (Ankle), DT Tommy Schutt (Foot), S Jamie Wood (Shoulder), CB Adam Griffin (Shoulder), TE Blake Thomas (Neck)
Questionable: TE Marcus Baugh (Disciplinary)
Northwestern Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: CB Daniel Jones (Knee)
Questionable: DT Sean McEvilly (Leg)
Probable: RB Venric Mark (Leg)
Top Storyline: The Presence of Venric Mark, the Absence of Christian Bryant
Not only do the Buckeyes have to deal with the return of Northwestern star running back Venric Mark on Saturday, they also have to find a way to make up for the loss of safety Christian Bryant, who broke his ankle against Wisconsin.
Bryant was important to Ohio State in many ways. The senior's playmaking ability (one interception), tackling ability (22 tackles) and leadership skills were vital for the Buckeyes on the back end.
Mark, who is returning from a leg injury, was named an All-American last season. He not only rushed for 1,366 yards (23rd in the nation) and 12 touchdowns, but he was also a dynamic return man, averaging 18.7 yards per punt return (two returns for scores).
The senior will test Ohio State at the line of scrimmage and at the second level Saturday. Corey Brown, Tyvis Powell and freshman Vonn Bell could see playing time in place of Bryant.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Northwestern 30
Who will win on Saturday?
I think Ohio State's defense will be able to limit Northwestern's offensive attack, even with Mark in the fold. I also worry about Northwestern's defense against Ohio State.
It was impressive what the Buckeyes did to Wisconsin's Gordon, who came into the clash last week as one of the hottest running backs in the country. Ohio State ranks 10th in the nation in yards allowed per carry, backed by a strong defensive line featuring Noah Spence and Michael Bennett and a linebacking corps boasting Ryan Shazier.
Also, Northwestern allowed 21 points to Maine and a combined 57 points to California and Syracuse. Ohio State loves to run the ball, and the Wildcats rank 43rd in the nation in yards allowed per carry.
And in case you are thinking Mark may spring free on a punt return, keep in mind that Buckeyes punter Cameron Johnston was fantastic against Wisconsin, placing all six of his punts inside the 20-yard line (including five inside the 10-yard line). The Badgers had a grand total of three punt return yards.
Ohio State stays undefeated through Week 6.
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