Ohio State vs. Northwestern: Key Players to Watch in Big Ten Showdown

Alex KayCorrespondent IOctober 4, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 28:  Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes sneaks up on Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes while Meyer is being interviewed for television after the Buckeyes defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 31-24 at Ohio Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The No. 4-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes are preparing to take on the No. 16 Northwestern Wildcats in a much anticipated clash between Big Ten powerhouses.

It should be a thrilling matchup that no self-respecting fan of B1G football will want to miss. Play begins on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois and can be seen live on ABC.

For those of you who aren’t diehard supporters of either side, it’s still going to be a fun matchup that features two undefeated squads going blow for blow.

Here are a handful of players to keep an eye on while you are watching.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

The Buckeyes faithful were rightfully fearful when Miller was forced to miss two games this season due to a knee injury. The program was fortunate to have a relatively easy schedule during his absence, with a road game against a floundering Cal team and a visit from cupcake Florida A&M.

Now Miller is back under center and clearly feeling fine, as the signal-caller was playing at an elite level against the Wisconsin Badgers last weekend.

He completed 17 of 25 passes for 198 yards and four scores with no interceptions. Miller also showed no sign of weakness in his knee, as he ran 22 times for 83 yards.

This elusive dual-threat weapon will have to be even better against the Wildcats, as they are a high-scoring team that will not have a problem hanging points on the board.

Miller accounted for four touchdowns last week and may need to eclipse that number this Saturday in order for his Buckeyes to move to 6-0.

Treyvon Green, RB, Northwestern

Green can absolutely be a game-changer, and his performance in this one could easily dictate the outcome.

The junior rusher has already compiled 58 carries for 404 yards and five scores in 2013 and will be looking to improve upon those numbers against Ohio State.

However, he’s going to have to show some consistency and prove he can bounce back from a mediocre showing against Maine in the Wildcats’ last outing.

Green ran for just 51 yards on nine carries that day, far below his eye-popping figures of 15 carries, 129 yards and two touchdowns (vs. Cal), and 20 carries, 158 yards and two touchdowns (vs. Western Michigan).

If he can play up to his abilities and bust free for a few big runs, there is no doubt that Northwestern will be right in the thick of things with a great chance to win the game.

Jordan Hall, RB, Ohio State

Speaking of running backs that can alter the outcome of a game, OSU senior Hall is definitely in that class.

He has already run 69 times for 427 yards and has scored a whopping eight touchdowns, but he hardly saw the field against the Badgers last week and saw a diminished role against Florida A&M prior to that.

Look for him to get back into the swing of things against the Wildcats, as head coach Urban Meyer vowed to get him involved. Per Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Jordan Hall has got to be involved. That was a decision we kind of made.  We knew it was going to be very hard to run in there the way they play their defensive line. Those are our top two backs, and we are working on that now. So I want to make sure we get Jordan Hall involved.

Expect to see this young man touch the rock early and often as Ohio State looks to punish Northwestern on the ground.