Last game: Dwayne Haskins threw for a school-record 499 yards as Ohio State topped the Wildcats 45-24 in the Big Ten championship game last December.
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Coaches: Ohio State’s Ryan Day is 9-0, including a 3-0 mark last season as interim coach of the Buckeyes. He is 4-0 in Big Ten games. Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald is 97-74 in 13-plus seasons at his alma mater. The former Wildcats linebacker is 56-54 in the Big Ten and 0-5 against Ohio State.
Ohio State notes: The Buckeyes rank in the national top 10 in scoring offense (49.3 points per game), total offense (534.5 yards per game) and rushing offense (288.5 ypg.)… The retooled defense is fourth in the country in points allowed per game (8.8) and second in yards allowed (234.0)… J.K. Dobbins needs 174 rushing yards to become the first Ohio State player to run for 1,000 yards as a freshman, sophomore and junior… Ohio State last played a regular season game on a Friday night in 1959 when the Buckeyes lost 17-0 at USC… Overall the Buckeyes are 6-6 on Fridays with the victories including the double-overtime triumph over Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, 2003, that clinched the school’s seventh national championship…. Ohio State has one player from the state of Illinois — linebacker Tuf Borland (Bolingbrook).
READ MORE: Linebacker, offensive tackle out Friday night
Northwestern notes: The Wildcats have struggled offensively, ranking 99th or worse nationally in points per game (14.4), first downs per game (19.4), passing yards per game (140.4) and total offense (292.8 yards per game)… The Northwestern defense remains solid, ranking 30th in scoring (19.8 points per game) and 26th in total yards (318.8)… Fifteen Northwestern players are from Ohio, including local high school grads Isaiah Bowser, a running back from Sidney, and Charlie Kuhbander, a kicker from Springboro. The others are defensive back Trae Williams (The Plains/Athens), quarterback Andrew Marty (Cincinnati Wyoming), punter Andrew David (Massillon Washington), linebacker Peter McIntyre (Toledo St. John’s), slot back Tommy Camifax (Warren Howland), defensive end Mark Gooden (Reynoldsburg), offensive lineman Nik Urban (Willoughby South), offensive lineman Gunnar Vogel (Westerville South), offensive lineman Connor Foster (Milford), slot back Trey Pugh (Plain City Jonathan Alder), receiver Jack Kennedy (Cleveland St. Ignatius) and defensive tackle Jake Saunders (Loveland).
Quoted: Fitzgerald on Ohio State’s evolution on offense: “You watch this year’s offense and it’s the same thing from that last three weeks (of last season), so they just do a great job and they’ve got weapons everywhere. Everywhere. It starts and ends with the quarterback, but everybody else is first-team All-Big Ten in my book. They’re phenomenal.”
Next game: The Buckeyes host Wisconsin next Saturday at noon. Northwestern hosts Iowa at the same time.
Prediction: Ohio State 41, Northwestern 7