On a day in which the offense once again struggled at times to move the football, the defense stood tall on multiple occasions. Even though they gave up a few big plays, it seemed Malik Hooker was there to make sure it didn’t go for more. Hooker totaled a game high 14 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss while also coming on a few blitzes, putting pressure on the quarterback. While he was not as effective shutting the pass game down, he did a great job in run defense and containing Northwestern plays that could have gone for more.
My Buckeye Leaf is going to Malik Hooker. The safety had a game-high 14 tackles. There were a couple occasions where he flew up the field from his safety position and made stops around the line of scrimmage. On Northwestern’s last drive, he had a key stop when quarterback Clayton Thorson ran a sweep around the right end. Hooker streaked up the field and tripped up Thorson for a loss of 2 yards, putting the Wildcats at the 5. He was the only player on either team to have double digit tackles as well.
For as much flack as the Ohio State offense seems to get, the Buckeyes actually gained 431 yards against Northwestern, and I'd argue that running back Mike Weber was the biggest reason for that. Without his two touchdowns, there's no knowing where the finishing touch would have come from for the Buckeyes. Weber finished the game with 14 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns, good for 6.2 yards per carry. He added three catches for 20 yards as quarterback J.T. Barrett once again was forced to check down numerous times throughout the game. Weber is young, but he's proving to be a dependable back who can carry the workload for Ohio State's offense, even when the Buckeyes aren't at their best.