Game Data: Ohio State at Northwestern

Here is the pertinent information, depth charts and one man's prediction on Ohio State's game this Saturday at Northwestern (9 p.m., ESPN2).

Game Data

* Date, Time: Sat., Oct. 2; 9 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill.

* TV: ESPN2; Announcers: Eric Collins, Andre Ware, Jimmy Dykes.

* 2004 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 3-0 overall, seventh in AP poll, sixth in ESPN/USA Today coaches poll; Northwestern, 1-3 overall, 0-1 Big Ten, unranked.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (fourth year at OSU, 35-7; 19th year overall, 170-64-2; vs. Northwestern, 3-0); Northwestern, Randy Walker (sixth year at Northwestern, 25-38; 15th year overall, 84-73-5; vs. Ohio State, 0-3).

* Series History: Ohio State leads 55-13-1, including 24-5-1 in Evanston (OSU won 20-0 last year in Columbus).

* Northwestern Schedule: Sept. 2, at TCU, L 48-45 (2 OT); Sept. 11, Arizona State, L 30-21; Sept. 18, Kansas, W 20-17; Sept. 25, at Minnesota, L 43-17; Oct. 2, Ohio State; Oct. 9, Indiana; Oct. 23, at Wisconsin; Oct. 30, Purdue; Nov. 6, at Penn State; Nov. 13, at Michigan; Nov. 20, Illinois; Nov. 27, at Hawaii.

* Northwestern Key Players: QB Brett Basanez (93 of 159 passing, 1,054 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs), RB Noah Herron (74 rushes, 362 yards, 3 TDs), WR Mark Philmore (30 catches, 362 yards), WR Jonathan Fields (16 catches, 252 yards, 3 TDs), OLB Tim McGarigle (38 tackles, 4 tackles-for-loss), S Brian Heinz (30 tackles), DT Luis Castillo (22 tackles), DT Barry Cofield (2-1/2 sacks).

* Northwestern Fast Facts: Location: Evanston, Ill.; Enrollment, 7,700; Nickname, Wildcats; Colors, Purple and White; Stadium, Ryan Field (surface, grass; capacity, 47,130).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 4 Santonio Holmes, 5-11, 185, So.

8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 228. So.

LT 77 Rob Sims, 6-4, 310, Jr.

62 John McLaughlin, 6-6, 300, Sr.

LG 50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, So.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Jr.

C 55 Nick Mangold, 6-4, 290, Jr.

73 Steve Winner, 6-6, 290, Jr.

RG 52 Mike Kne, 6-4, 303, Sr.

72 T.J. Downing, 6-5, 305, So.

66 R.J. Coleman, 6-5, 295, So.

RT 68 Tim Schafer, 6-5, 290, So.

74 Kirk Barton, 6-6, 305, Fr.

TE 80 Ryan Hamby, 6-5, 250, Jr.

86 Rory Nicol, 6-5, 245, Fr.

FL 3 Bam Childress, 5-10, 185, Sr.

7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 170, Fr.

QB 12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, So.

10 Troy Smith, 6-1, 215, So.

TB 30 Lydell Ross, 6-0, 225, Sr.

28 Maurice Hall, 5-10, 205, Sr.

FB 89 Stan White Jr., 6-3, 242, So.

43 Brandon Schnittker, 6-2, 250, Jr.

38 Branden Joe, 6-0, 235, Sr.

K 85 Mike Nugent, 5-10, 180, Sr.

23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

Ohio State Defense

DE 75 Simon Fraser, 6-6, 280, Sr.

50 Vernon Gholston, 6-4, 250, Fr.

DT 94 Marcus Green, 6-3, 290, Jr.

97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, So.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, So.

98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 275, So.

DE 99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 270, So.

57 Mike Kudla, 6-3, 265, Jr.

SLB 42 Bobby Carpenter, 6-3, 255, Jr.

17 Marcus Freeman, 6-2, 230, Fr.

MLB 5 Mike D'Andrea, 6-3, 248, Jr.

51 Anthony Schlegel, 6-2, 245, Jr.

WLB 47 A.J. Hawk, 6-1, 238, Jr.

1 Thomas Matthews, 6-2, 220, Sr.

CB 26 Ashton Youboty, 6-1, 188, So.

13 Harlen Jacobs, 6-1, 197, Sr.

FS 21 Nate Salley, 6-3, 215, Jr.

32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, So.

SS 9 Donte Whitner, 5-11, 200, So.

6 Tyler Everett, 5-11, 196, Jr.

CB 2 E.J. Underwood, 6-1, 175, Jr.

13 Harlen Jacobs, 6-1, 197, Sr.

P 86 Kyle Turano, 6-0, 205, Sr.

23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

LS 60 Kyle Andrews, 5-11, 245, Sr.

68 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, So.

Northwestern Offense

QB 14 Brett Basanez, 6-2, 210, Jr.

11 Chris Maileo, 6-3, 215, Fr.

TB 33 Noah Herron, 5-11, 230, Sr.

26 Terrell Jordan, 5-10, 200, Jr.

FB 44 Erryn Cobb, 6-1, 245, So.

49 Frayne Abernathy, 6-3, 235, Fr.

WR 1 Jonathan Fields, 5-8, 175, Jr.

5 Brandon Horn, 6-1, 220, Jr.

WR 2 Ashton Aikens, 6-2, 200, Sr.

3 Shawn Herbert, 6-1, 205, So.

WR 9 Mark Philmore, 5-10, 185, Jr.

84 Kim Thompson, 6-4, 190, Fr.

TE 47 Taylor Jones, 6-3, 260, Jr.

83 Sean Mansfield, 6-3, 240, Jr.

LT 76 Trai Essex, 6-4, 315, Sr.

74 Dylan Thiry, 6-8, 295, Fr.

LG 60 Ikechuku Ndukwe, 6-4, 320, Sr.

71 Joe Tripodi, 6-3, 300, So.

C 50 Trevor Rees, 6-2, 280, So.

77 Adam Crum, 6-1, 270, Fr.

RG 64 Matt Ulrich, 6-2, 310, Sr.

62 Austin Matthews, 6-5, 285, Fr.

RT 63 Zach Strief, 6-7, 335, Jr.

74 Dylan Thiry, 6-8, 295, Fr.

K 99 Brian Huffman, 6-1, 225, Sr.

Northwestern Defense

DE 56 Ryan Keenan, 6-4, 280, So.

92 David Thompson, 6-3, 265, Jr.

DT 94 Luis Castillo, 6-4, 305, Sr.

53 Trevor Schultz, 6-2, 285, So.

DT 97 Colby Clark, 6-2, 290, Sr.

53 Trevor Schultz, 6-2, 285, So.

DE 67 Barry Cofield, 6-4, 295, Jr.

92 David Thompson, 6-3, 265, Jr.

SLB 38 Nick Roach, 6-2, 230, So.

51 John Pickens, 6-2, 240, Sr.

MLB 42 Demetrius Eaton, 6-2, 235, So.

55 Kyle Wagner, 6-2, 230, Fr.

WLB 41 Tim McGarigle, 6-1, 230, Jr.

40 Eddie Simpson, 6-0, 215, Fr.

SS 8 Dominique Price, 6-0, 215, Sr.

27 Reggie McPherson, 6-1, 180, Fr.

CB 31 Marvin Ward, 5-11, 205, Sr.

6 Cory Dious, 5-9, 165, So.

FS 21 Bryan Heinz, 6-1, 205, So.

24 Herschel Henderson, 6-3, 195, Jr.

CB 28 Jeff Backes, 5-9, 190, Jr.

22 Deante Battle, 5-10, 180, Fr.

P 99 Brian Huffman, 6-1, 225, Sr.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: Coming off such a poor offensive showing against N.C. State, the Buckeyes will want to flex their muscles again beginning with this game. It helps, obviously, that Antonio Pittman and Branden Joe appear to be near 100 percent. They should help take some of the pressure off Lydell Ross, who found it tough going the distance almost alone against the Wolfpack. NU has surrendered an average of 148.5 yards per game on the ground, a figure that's not too bad considering the fact Minnesota trampled the Wildcats for 251 yards rushing last week. Ohio State would do well to see what the Gophers did in that game (and, really, every week) running the ball and emulate it.

The jury is also out, somewhat, on Justin Zwick. Is this a game where he can gain some confidence? The numbers would say yes. NU is 111th nationally in passing yards allowed per game at 291.5. It should be noted that those numbers are skewed by the fine passing attacks at TCU (368), Arizona State (292) and Kansas (303). In four games, Northwestern has intercepted just one pass, so Zwick should be able to avoid that kind of costly no-no. So, if OSU's ground game is clicking and the Buckeyes can build a comfortable lead, look for one of those famous all-passing play drives somewhere in there where Zwick can go 7 of 8 or 9 and feel a little better about his day.

* When Northwestern Has The Ball: At first blush, you would say that's Zak Kustok under center and not Brett Basanez. Basanez burst on the new year with 513 yards passing in the double overtime defeat at TCU. He is ranked 13th in the nation in total offense at 285.3 yards per game. He suffered a shoulder injury and just his second interception of the year in the loss at Minnesota. Meanwhile, Noah Herron is a respectable running back. Look for more of the same from the Wildcats, who love to spread the field and attack the edges.

The OSU defense has shown it will surrender yardage between the 20's to offenses like this. But the passing game plays to OSU's strength. The Buckeyes are eighth in the nation in passing yards allowed per game (133.7 yards per game). Northwestern, though, can not deviate from what it is. The OSU back seven will again be tested, but I think OSU's defense will once again rule the day.

* How It Will Go: The game two years ago shows us you can take nothing for granted in the Big Ten or, more specifically, at Northwestern at night. Yes, Northwestern is 1-3. But two of the losses were to ranked teams (Arizona State and Minnesota) and the third (TCU) was one they, in all honesty, won – well, except for the 48 points allowed by the defense and five field goals missed.

Ohio State has had two weeks to work on the things that plagued it at N.C. State. I look for the Buckeyes to try and come out and establish their identity as a power running team. The Buckeyes desperately need some play makers to get healthy and step up on offense. Those names include, but are not limited to, Pittman, Joe, Ted Ginn Jr., Marcel Frost and Roy Hall. OSU can't expect Santonio Holmes and Mike Nugent to do it all every week. It doesn't work that way in the Big Ten. This would be a great game to get some of these guys involved.

I look for Northwestern to put at least a few points on the board, and there is no shame in that for the staunch OSU defense. This NU offense is now in its third year as a unit with Basanez at quarterback. They have grown up a lot and they provide a unique look for opposing defenses. Maybe they'll tack on a late score (after midnight Eastern time) to make the final score a tad bit more palatable. I've got it: Ohio State 34-21

-- Steve Helwagen


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