Monday 2-Deep: Ohio State Buckeyes

Its going to be a challenge - Northwestern Wildcats travel to the "shoe" to take on the conference leading OSU Buckeyes. The Cats coaches aren't going to reveal their hand until kickoff, but outside of a few dings, NU appears to be mostly healthy for the Big 10 Opener - the injuries are mainly to their Pride.

About last Saturday....
As NU fans try to figure out how to out play both ACC teams AND their refs.

NU got hit with 13 penalties and 125 yards. A couple of those flags allowed Duke scoring drives to continue and you have to wonder what is the difference between ACC and Big 10 play; is the Big 10 that rough? or do we all hold that much?

Warning - writer's opinion here....The Big 10 must be doing something right - many of the "skill guys" on the Patriots are Big 10 Alums and there are a pretty good list of Big 10 line alums out there too. I guess the refs didn't want the big bad Wildcats to beat up on those poor little Dukies. End of opinion

The Buckeyes bring in a tough defense [#1 in the Big 10], plus a youngish offense - at least at QB. They've beaten all 3 of their opponents this year, including Washington. They will stress the Cat's rush defense, but more on that later.

In his weekly press conference, Fitz mentioned that everyone had to improve this week, including himself. He also commented about the defense playing well in the 2nd half, suggesting maybe that they're working on coming out at a higher level in the first half.

He's fairly happy with the offense, "they're moving the ball well."

The big challenge will be to go on the road and play a top 10 team - one that played for the national championship last year.

The Superlatives
2 Deep Changes - Offense
  • No Changes to the starters again, but guard Alex Rucks is now listed as the backup to both the Left and Right Guard spots. You have to worry about the depth on the Offensive Line now - of course it could just be a shot at firing up some underclassmen.
  • Tyrell Sutton is expected to play.
2 Deep Changes - Defense
  • None noted - although you may expect to see #95, Kevin Mims at the other defensive end - based on his play last Saturday.
  • Mike Dinard is apparently the starter at Will Linebacker now, the "or" is gone.
Injuries
  • RB Tyrell Sutton - but is expected to play
  • Will OLB Eddie Simpson
  • There were reports that Dylan Thiry was banged up during the Duke game, but that he didn't [or wouldn't] come out. His backup, Al Netter, is a true frosh and would represent a loss of 35 lbs over on that side of the line.
The Cats will have to step up to the very potent Buckeyes and go for their first win on the road in 2007. Defending the one-two rushing punch, plus a QB who gets better each week  will test NU's sometimes suspect defense.

Playing OSU at home is something that will be a very big challenge indeed.

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