COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State thought it had put slow starts, inconsistency, lack of focus and poor offensive playcalling in the past — like way in the past, back to the opener against Notre Dame.
That’s the last time the Buckeyes scored just seven points in the first half. They came back to win that one 21-10 and need to hope that a similar second half uprising can occur. The Buckeyes average 15.5 points in the first quarter but had just their fourth scoreless frame of the season against the Wildcats.
Ohio State has scored at least 20 points in 69 consecutive games, which ties an NCAA FBS record. That streak is in some jeopardy, and a lack of execution by the Buckeyes offensive line has hampered the ground game, which has been stoned on third down repeatedly — OSU is zero-for-8 on third down conversions, but has converted two of three on fourth down.
The weather has also been a factor, with wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour and rain coming down sideways at times.
Northwestern has certainly seemed to win the toughness battle early, relishing the conditions and using them to advantage. Ohio State was seen pouting on the sideline in the first quarter as the offense came to repeated stops, so it will be interesting to see if it can enlist what Ryan Day has called “competitive toughness.”
“We say it all the time after a Sunday practice,” Day said. “Once we walk through those doors and practice is over and we head up to victory meal, the game is done from the week before, no matter what happens, good, bad or indifferent. Because we have to move on because nothing we did last week matters. And it goes back to that term competitive stamina. Can we bring it every single week?”
That will be known in the next 30 minutes.