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2007 Northwestern Wildcats Preview

Discussion in 'News' started by Buckeyeskickbuttocks, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Buckeyeskickbuttocks

    Buckeyeskickbuttocks Z --> Z^2 + c Staff Member


    [​IMG]

    2007 Northwestern Wildcats Game Preview
    written by:
    BB73, BuckeyeRyn, Buckeyeskickbuttocks, Bucklion, DaddyBigBucks, Deety, Hubbard, jwinslow, OSUBucks22, and 3yardsandacloud




    Preface
    This Saturday will be the 500th football game that the Buckeyes have played in "The House That Harley Built". Since its construction in 1922, Ohio State has a record of 375-104-20 in the venerable stadium, with the tally being 116-10-4 for September games in the 'Shoe.

    This will also be the Big Ten opener for both teams. For all Big Ten conference games, tOSU is 434-162-24 (numbers showing more losses are including non-conference games against teams that are now in the Big Ten). Over the last 50 years, the Buckeyes are 39-11 in their first conference game of the season, including a 26-4 mark when those games are in Columbus.
    The win at Washington gave the Buckeyes 21 consecutive regular season wins, which ties the team record set from '67-'69.
    Since 1971, the last year that Northwestern won in Columbus, the Wildcats have only outscored their opponents over the course of a season on 3 occasions. Each time they claimed a Big 10 title, and in none of those years did they play Ohio State: 1995, 1996, and 2000.

    Since this opponent is a program that just lost to Duke, has only won 1 bowl game in its entire history, and has only had one 10-win season in the last 100 years, is it possible that tOSU will take them lightly? Hopefully not, since some of these players had to walk off Ryan Field in 2004, knowing that they suffered the first Northwestern win over the Buckeyes since 1971.
    Coach Pat Fitzgerald has a 6-9 mark in his second year at the helm of the Wildcdats. Randy Walker's career ended with him owning the second most wins as a Wildcat head coach, with 37. Pappy Waldorf holds that record with 49 wins between 1935 and 1946; and Ara Parseghian's 36-35-1 mark (just before leaving for Notre Dame) is the only winning record for anyone since Waldorf.

    The Wildcats only have a winning record against one Big-10 team (Indiana). As recently as 1997 they shut out Oklahoma 24-0. They actually have a 3-1 all-time record against the Sooners, a 1-0 slate against Texas, and a 21-10 overall mark against current Big-12 teams.​


    Date and Time
    Date: Saturday, September 22nd, 2007
    Time: 3:30 EDT Kick-off
    Location: Ohio Stadium - "The Horseshoe" (Columbus, OH)
    Constructed: 1922 (Renovated in 2001)
    Seating Capacity: 101,568 (Originally 66,210)
    Playing Surface: FieldTurf
    Events:

    Broadcast Information:
    TV Broacast: ESPN/ABC (in Chicago area): Ron Franklin (Play-by-play), Ed Cunningham (Analysis), and Jack Arute (Sideline)
    Radio Broadcast: Ohio State Radio Network (WBNS 1460TheFan in Columbus): Paul Keels (Play-by-play), Jim Lachey (Analysis), and Marty Bannister (Sideline)
    Satelite Radio Broadcast: Sirius Channel 126, XM Channel 196-199​


    2007 Northwestern Wildcats Offensive Preview

    Returning starters: 7

    The Buckeyes open Big Ten play against the Wildcats of Northwestern, a team that has run the unorthodox spread option since running the spread option wasn't cool yet. Last season, the Wildcats uncharacteristically had a difficult time moving the football en route to a dismal 4-8 season under new coach Pat Fitzgerald. They scored over 30 points only one time, in a collapsing loss to Michigan State, which was unheard of just a few years ago for a Wildcat team. Additionally, they had only 324.6 yards per game, ranking 92nd nationally, a startling rank for a team that moved up and down the field at will and scored at least 38 points 6 times the year before. They weren't particularly good running they football (142.1 YPG, 52nd nationally), nor did they pass it very well either (169.0 YPG, 93rd). For a team used to piling up points in bunches, their per game average of 16.5 PPG, and their ranking (105th nationally) was shocking. It was also amazing to see the Wildcats rank 92nd nationally in first downs per game (16.4) and barely convert a third of their 3rd down tries (35.6%, 84th nationally). But dealing with the death of former coach Randy Walker and the transition to and for Fitzgerald couldn't have been easy to put it mildly, and the Wildcats did a good job of dealing with the tremendous adversity and still staying competitive most weeks (their 54-10 loss to the Buckeyes last season not withstanding). In particular, instead of folding their tent for the season after their debacle against the Spartans dropped them to 2-7, they rallied to win two of their last 3 ballgames, a testament to the tremendous character of the coach and the players. Fitzgerald and the staff and players earned a great deal of respect around the league last year for all they went through and how they handled it, and they had good reason to believe that with a lot of experience returning, especially up front, that the offense this season would be in a lot better shape.

    This year, after 3 games, the Wildcats are looking much better, despite that sickening thud when they lost to hapless Duke last weekend. Their yards per game has spiked to 466, good for a ranking of 29th nationally. They have improved into the top 50 running the football so far (168.3 YPG, 49th) and their passing average of 283 YPG is just outside the top 25 (27th). They have also significantly increased their 1st downs per game to 23.3 (35th) and their 3rd down conversion percent is improved, though still not stellar (41.3%, 53rd). Granted, the level of competition has not been particularly high, but the significant improvement is still a good sign for the Wildcats, and they can use some early confidence in their offense to sprint into conference play. They have, however, been particularly abysmal against the Buckeyes of late, scoring a total of 17 points in getting run over the past 2 games after their landmark win over the Buckeyes in 2004 (their first win over Ohio State since coach Alex Agase won 14-10 in 1971, and just their 2nd win over the Buckeyes since 1963). It will be interesting to see how much the Wildcats have after such a disappointing loss last week, and the showing the past 2 games against the Buckeyes.


    Quarterbacks
    QB #18 C. J. Bacher (6-2, 210, JR, Jesuit HS, Sacramento, CA)

    Bacher will be making his 9th start for the Wildcats, with a 4-4 record to this point. He is just 3 yards from passing another QB everyone may have heard of, Otto Graham, on the career list at Northwestern. Last season, the offense showed signs of life the final 5 games after Bacher took over the starting job. He won 2 of those starts and threw for at least 200 yards in all 5 games, a consistent performance and good enough to give him some momentum heading into 2007. The first 2 ballgames, Bacher played well as the Wildcats won both contests. He threw for 243 yards and a score, completing almost 80% of his passes, and ran for a TD in the opener against Northeastern, and despite completing less than 50% in game 2 against Nevada, he threw for 227 yards and 3 TDs and chipped in 60 more yards on the ground. Looking at the stats for the game last weekend against Duke, it is inconceivable they scored only 14 points, and Bacher threw for 368 yards and added 35 with a TD on the ground. He threw 2 very costly INTs however (his only ones to this point) en route to the inexplicable loss. He's also been sacked 7 times already, right around his normal #, as he was sacked 10 times in 5 starts last season, so he is vulnerable in the backfield, though his rushing totals this season (82 yards, 2 TDs) mean he has developed better ways to escape from the backfield. Bacher is more of a passer, but he can move around to create space or scramble for a big gain as well, and he can get on a roll and complete a lot of balls on occasion. The Buckeyes will need to pressure him and throw off his timing.

    The backup is Mike Kafka (#13), a sophomore who started early in the season last year, so he has quite a bit of game experience. He has only 2 pass attempts this year, but he could be called upon to run the offense without too much of a drop-off at the position.

    QB Rating: B-

    Head-to-Head: Northwestern versus Ohio State QBs

    Bacher (P/R): 73/124 (58.9%), 838 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 123.1 rating; 22/82, 2 TDs

    Boeckman (P/R): 45/71 (63.4%), 574 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs, 153.5 rating; 7/-11, 0 TDs

    Bacher has been good so far in 2007, leading his team to 2 wins and furiously trying to rally his team last week against Duke. He has also developed into a better running threat. Boeckman acquitted himself very well last weekend, and his rating actually went up after facing a quality Husky defense. Based on last week's performance, Boeckman gets the nod, though don't be surprised to see Bacher play well this weekend. The Wildcats have better depth in terms of game experience, though last year's offense struggled under Kafka and it doesn't appear to give the Wildcats that much of an advantage.

    Edge: Ohio State


    Running Backs
    TB #19 Tyrell Sutton (5-9, 190, JR, Archbishop Hoban HS, Akron, OH)
    TB #11 Brandon Roberson (5-9, 200, SR, Pearland HS, Pearland, TX)

    Sutton is a dynamic gamebreaker who makes the defense always respect the run and opens significant lanes for the passing attack, as well as being an effective receiver out of the backfield. He's had 2 thousand yard seasons so far, including gaining 1000 last year and scoring 5 TDs, after a monster first year where he gained 1474 yards and scored 16 times. He usually averages over 5 yards a carry and can break one virtually anytime. The offense is clearly better with him out there, which has been sparingly in 2007 as he has been injured. He gained 108 yards in the opener before carrying it only 3 times against Nevada and missing the Duke game. One could certainly speculate the outcome of that contest may have been different had Sutton been able to suit up. Fitzgerald has said he expects Sutton to play this weekend, but how much and how effectively remains to be seen.

    If he can't go, or go much, the job falls to Roberson, a veteran who has carried the load adequately this season in Sutton's absence. He gained 128 yards on only 13 carries against Nevada, adding a TD, and scored again last weekend in the midst of gaining 80 yards. He's a good player, but one thing the Wildcats miss about Sutton is the boost to the passing game. Sutton has caught 9 passes in his limited action to Roberson's 2, and Sutton has caught at least 40 passes the past 2 seasons, so it is clear that Sutton is more of a multi-dimensional threat when he is in there. Still, Roberson has looked good carrying the football and can get the basic job done. Omar Conteh (#29), a junior, is 3rd on the chart and has 21 yards this season.

    RB Rating: B+

    Head-to-Head: Northwestern versus Ohio State RBs

    Sutton: 27/122 yards, 1 TD, 4.5 YPC; 9 rec/83 yards, 0 TDs, 9.2 YPR
    Roberson: 45/252 yards, 2 TDs, 5.6 YPC; 2 rec/19 yards, 0 TDs, 9.5 YPR

    C Wells: 60/324 yards, 2 TDs, 5.4 YPC; 1 rec/7 yards, 0 TDs, 7.0 YPR
    M Wells: 22/78 yards, 0 TDs, 3.5 YPC; 3 rec/23 yards, 0 TDs, 7.7 YPR
    Saine: 28/153 yards, 2 TDs, 5.5 YPC; 3 rec/8 yards, 1 TD, 2.7 YPR

    This is an interesting one, mainly because the availability and effectiveness of Sutton is crucial to the Wildcat offense and is an unknown going into this weekend's game. Sutton is head and shoulders the best receiver of this group, while Wells has been very steady carrying the football and had a nice game against the Huskies last weekend. Roberson and Maurice Wells are steady players, and Saine has also flashed signs of being a special running back, so given the questions in the backfield for the Wildcats and the depth for the Buckeyes, Ohio State gets the edge here. If Sutton is full go, however, he could have a big game.

    Edge: Ohio State


    Wide Receivers
    Y-WR #10 Eric Peterman (6-1, 200, JR, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin HS, Sherman, IL)
    H-WR #8 Rasheed Ward (5-11, 180, JR, Harper HS, Chicago, IL)
    Z-WR #9 Ross Lane (6-3, 190, JR, Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, FL)
    X-WR #Tonjua Jones (6-2, 185, SR, Southfield-Lathrup HS, Southfield, MI)

    Gone is Shaun Herbert, who led the team in receptions and yards last year. Still, the loss is minimally felt with the returns of Lane, Peterman, and Ward, 3 players with significant production last season. All 3 caught at least 20 passes for at least 200 yards a season ago. The Wildcats like to spread the ball around (Herbert led with less than 500 total yards last year) and this season is no different. Lane leads the team with 14 catches for 179 yards and 2 scores, and is probably the best of the group. His height makes him a good target in the red zone. Five other Wildcats have caught at least 9 passes each, including Peterman and Ward who have 10 catches apiece. Jones has 5 catches thus far. So while none of these players will put up gaudy numbers, all are solid contributors and give opposing defenses a lot of options to consider.

    There is also good depth at the position, as upperclassmen Kim Thompson (#84) and Jeff Yarborough (#7) each have 10 catches, so the Wildcats go at least 6 deep. There is a good combination of size and speed amongst these players, and many of them have significant program and game experience as well, both of which will benefit the Wildcats during the long grueling conference season.

    WR Rating: B

    Head-to-Head: Northwestern versus Ohio State WRs

    Peterman: 10 catches, 133 yards, 0 TDs, 13.3 YPR
    Ward: 10 catches, 93 yards, 0 TDs, 9.3 YPR
    Lane: 14 catches, 179 yards, 2 TDs, 12.8 YPR
    Jones: 5 catches, 42 yards, 1 TD, 8.4 YPR

    Robiskie: 17 catches, 342 yards, 2 TDs, 20.1 YPR
    Hartline: 14 catches, 153 yards, 1 TD, 10.9 YPR
    Washington: 2 catches, 41 yards, 1 TD, 20.5 YPR

    Both of these corps have quality players. The Buckeye front line of Robiskie and Hartline have put up impressive numbers thus far, but Lane has as well and the Wildcats do a good job of spreading the ball around. Depth definitely favors the Wildcats here, as does total game experience. This one is pretty even overall, and both groups of receivers should make some plays Saturday.

    Edge: Even


    Tight Ends
    TE #80 Brendan Mitchell (6-3, 250, SO, Western Reserve Academy, Twinsburg, OH)

    Mitchell isn't used much, and is basically a third guard when he is. He has good size and is a good blocker.

    TE Rating: C

    Head-to-Head: Northwestern versus Ohio State TEs

    Mitchell: 0 catches, 0 yards, 0 TDs, 0.0 YPR

    Nicol: 4 catches, 22 yards, 0 TDs, 5.5 YPR

    Not much to go on here, as Northwestern doesn't use the TE position much and it isn?t a focal point of Ohio State's offense either. Nicol is solid and plays a good deal more.

    Edge: Ohio State


    Offensive Line
    LT #74 Dylan Thiry (6-8, 315, SR, Trinity HS, Louisville, KY)
    LG #77 Adam Crum (6-1, 285, SR, Homer HS, Anchor Point, AK)
    C #50 Trevor Rees (6-2, 280, SR, Pearland HS, Pearland, TX)
    RG #52 Joel Belding (6-3, 300, JR, Cloverleaf HS, Seville, OH)
    RT #78 Kurt Mattes (6-6, 290, SO, Wyoming Valley West HS, Larksville, PA)

    This is a veteran group with a lot of game experience. They aren't the typical monster-sized maulers, but they have a lot of agile lineman that fit effectively into their offensive scheme. Thiry comes from heralded Trinity HS and has 25 career starts for the Wildcats. He is the true battering ram of this lineup and does a good job protecting the left side. Crum is a nice story, a former walk-on from Alaska who has earned a starting spot. Rees, a veteran and team captain who leads all NW players with 35 starts, was suspended for the opener but returned against Nevada and was named offensive player of the game by the team in that contest. He is very effective at the center position. Belding is a versatile lineman who has started at guard and center (13 total), and Mattes is a younger player who has stepped in to the starting spot effectively. This line is mobile and fits the running style of Sutton and Roberson, though they are vulnerable to pass rushers as evidenced by the total sacks given up the past season and a half. They will have to be at their best to keep the offense balanced and protect Bacher this weekend.

    Versatile interior lineman Alex Rucks (#59; JR) is a top backup, along with freshmen tackles Mike Boyle (#66) and Al Netter (#75).

    OL Rating: B-

    Head-to-Head: Northwestern versus Ohio State OL

    The Wildcats have plenty of experience and game production from their line, as do the Buckeyes. They are different styles of lines, and both seem to do their jobs effectively. The Buckeyes had a good showing last weekend against the best competition faced by either team, while the Wildcats are coming off of a very disappointing loss in which they scored only 14 points. The Wildcats are good, but the Buckeyes get the nod.

    Edge: Ohio State


    Overall Offensive Analysis

    The Wildcats have shown some significant improvement, albeit against weaker competition and with a disappointing loss last weekend. They can run the ball effectively out of the spread option, and Bacher has been effective delivering the ball to a multitude of decent receivers. The keys revolve around the availability of Sutton and whether the line can protect Bacher effectively. There are no questions about the character of this team, but there are questions as to their overall effectiveness against high quality defenses. A lot of questions will be answered this weekend, as the Wildcats attempt to put a disappointing 2006 behind them and build for the future.

    Overall Offensive Rating: B-


    2007 Northwestern Wildcats Defensive Preview

    Returning Starters: 8

    In 2005 Northwestern's defense was nothing short of dreadful, giving up some 480 yards per game. However, the unit made considerable strides in 2006. With the return of all but three of last year's starters, the Wildcats look to continue the improving trend. While the discussion must be cautioned against the realization that the season is only three games old, and thus far has been against suspect competition (Northeastern, Nevada, and Duke), the early indications illustrate that Northwestern is indeed continuing its improvement. While giving up about the same yards per game as 2006 (366 this year compared to 362 in 2006), the Wildcats are doing a better job at keeping the opposition out of the end zone. So far this year, Northwestern is giving up 17 points per game as opposed to the 26.2 they allowed per game in 2006. While the run defense has shown a statistical improvement in 2007, the pass defense has suffered some. Presently, Northwestern allows 121.3 on the ground, and 244.7 through the air.


    Defensive Line
    LE #72 David Ngene (6-3 270 SR, Humble HS, Humble, TX)
    LT #79 Adam Hahn (6-4 280 SO, Hartford Union HS, Hartford, WI)
    RT #70 John Gill (6-3 285 JR, Bellarmine College Prep HS, Los Altos Hills, CA)
    RE #99 Corey Wootton (6-6 240 SO, Don Bosco Prep HS, Rutherford, NJ)

    If Northwestern's D-Line has a star, it's Wootton who earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten last season. With his wingspan he is able to alter throwing lanes and recorded 2 interceptions in 2006. Thus far in 2007 Wootton has nine tackles, 1.5 for loss. He has yet to sack the quarterback. On the other side is David Ngene. Ngene has been limited with injuries in the past (knee, ankle) but has decent size and speed. While he has started each of the three games this year, he has yet to record a tackle or sack. Adam Hahn looks to build upon his solid Freshman campaign where he recorded 28 tackles. He has 11 tackles in 2007 and has the potential to earn a spot on all conference rosters. Gill also returns to the middle of the line and hopes to improve on his 40 tackle, 2 sack 2006 season.

    Also in the rotation are DE's #91 Mark Koehn (6-3 260 SR) and #69 Marshall Thomas (6-3 270 SO), and DT's #95 Kevin Mims (6-3 250 JR), and #92 Keegan Kennedy (6-3 250 JR). Mims, while not a starter, is actually 3rd on the team in tackles with 19 and also leads the teams in sacks with 2. Each of Koehn, Thomas, and Kennedy have seen action in all three games this year, recording 10 tackles between them.

    OL Rating: B

    Head-to-Head: Northwestern versus OSU DL

    Gholston - 7 Tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 Sack
    Worthington - 9 Tackles
    Denlinger - 6 Tackles
    Rose - 2 Tackles

    In terms of individual statistics, Northwestern's line looks slightly better than Ohio State's. However, as a reflection of an overall scheme Ohio State's line has proven to be more dominant. For example, Ohio State has given up just 76 yards per game on the ground to Northwestern's 121 as well as limiting opposing backs to nearly a yard less per carry than does Northwestern. (2.6 to 3.4) Northwestern's line is experienced and may be among the best line Northwestern has ever had, but is shorter on overall talent, speed, and depth than Ohio State's.

    Edge: Ohio State


    Linebackers
    OLB #36 Prince Kwateng (6-2 215 JR, Munster HS, Munster, IN)
    MLB #43 Adam Kadela (6-2 235 SR, Coffman HS, Dublin, OH)
    WLB #31 Mike Dinard (6-2 230 JR, Franciscan HS, Parma, OH)

    Northwestern's Linebacking corps is led by Kadela, the team's leading tackler in in 2006 (80) and early leader in 2007 (26). While he has had injury problems in the past, if he stays healthy he's a good bet for over 100 tackles. Dinard saw some time in 2006 recording 16 tackles. While not the quickest, he is fairly solid in run support, but needs to improve his pass coverage. He has 19 tackles thus far. Kwateng saw action in 11 of Northwestern's 12 games in 2006 and has recorded 12 tackles, 2 TFLs, and a sack in 2007.

    While the unit is not the strongest part of the defense, it is deep with seven LBs seeing action thus far. Earning playing time are #41 Davie Quentin (6-4 200 rFR), #40 Eddie Simpson (6-0 220 SR), #46 Malcom Arrington (6-2 225 JR), #54 Chris Malleo (6-3 220 SR), and #57 Nate Williams (6-2 220 FR). Simpson opened the year starting over Dinard but was replaced by game two and then sat out the Duke game with a leg injury. Malcom Arrington has a good deal of potential and has recorded 4 tackles in 2007. Quentin leads all the reserve LBs with 7 tackles, one for a loss.

    LB Rating: C+

    Head-to-Head: Northwestern versus OSU LBs

    James Laurinaitis - 22 tackes, 2 TFLs, 2 sacks, 2 INT
    Marcus Freeman - 14 Tackles, 1 TFL
    Larry Grant - 8 Tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 Sack

    Ohio State's starting 3 are superior to Northwestern's trio. Like Ohio State, Northwestern's LBs are physical, but unlike the Buckeyes, they are not particularly quick. While Northwestern is deep, Ohio State matches the depth with the likes of Ross Homan (12 Tackles, 2 TFLs), Austin Spitler (10 Tackles, 2 TFLs and 1 sack), and Thad Gibson (5 tackles, 1 TFL) each of whom would stand a good chance of starting for the Wildcats.

    Edge: Ohio State


    Secondary
    RCB #22 Deante Battle (5-10 180 SR, Starr's Mill HS, Fayetteville, GA)
    WS #24 Reggie McPherson (6-1 190 SR, San Leandro HS, San Leandro, CA)
    SS #4 Brendan Smith (6-1 215 SR, New Hampton Prep HS, New Hampton, NH)
    LCB #24 Sherrick McManis (6-1 175 SO, Richwoods HS, Peoria, IL)

    The Wildcat secondary is strongest up the middle with Safeties McPherson and Smith. Smith was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2006 while recording a team second best 68 tackles along with a pick. He missed the opener against Northeastern recovering from shoulder surgery, but has played in both games since recording 5 tackles. McPherson had a solid 2006 in which he finished 5th on the team in tackles and first in pass break ups. He already has 19 tackles in 2007 as well as Northwestern's lone interception. On the corners are McManis and Battle. Battle is a sure tackler with the ability to stay with all but the fastest WRs he lines up against. He was 3rd on the team in tackles in 2006 (67) and had 3 INTs. He has 17 tackles and a pass break up in 2007. McManis earned spot starts in 2006 while recording 22 tackles and a pick. McManis has very good straight line speed affording him the ability to recover quickly if needed. He is second on the team with 22 tackles and 3 TFLs in 2007.

    Completing the two-deep for Northwestern are CBs #28 Justan Vaughn (6-0 175 rFR), and #16 David Oredugba (6-2 185 JR) as well as Safeties #47 Chaz Richart (5-10 180 JR), #17 Brad Phillips (6-2 200 SO), and #45 Ben Rothrauff (5-10 190 SR). Rothrauff and Richart represent a significant drop off from McPherson and Smith but Phillips has shown good potential. Phillips has 8 tackles and leads the team with 3 pass break ups. Orendugba is versatile enough to spell any of the defensive backfield positions and has seen action in each game in 2007, as he did in all 12 of Northwestern's 2006 contests. Vaughn missed nearly all of 2006 with an arm injury and has seen limited action thus far in 2007.

    DB Rating: C+

    Head-to-Head: Northwestern versus OSU DBs

    Malcom Jenkins - 11 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT
    Kurt Coleman - 15 Tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 Breakup, 1 blocked kick
    Anderson Russell - 18 Tackles, 2 Breakups
    Donald Washington - 6 Tackles.

    Northwestern's Secondary is probably better than the current 244 per game figure indicates, but it is not nearly as good as Ohio State's secondary. Malcom Jenkins would start on any team in the country, including the Wildcats. He literally shuts down half the field. On the other side, teams avoiding Jenkins don't get much of a break having to go at Donald Washington. Russell and Coleman are 2nd and 3rd on the team in tackles respectively and provide both solid run support and strong pass coverage. Ohio State's depth in the secondary is likewise superior to anything that Northwestern might offer.

    Edge: Ohio State


    Overall Defensive Analysis

    Northwestern's defense is an improving unit. While not of the same caliber as the defenses which were lead by then MLB and now Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald, this group is likely to be the best defense Evanston has had since those units. They need to improve their ability to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks and need to work on creating more turnovers, particularly interceptions of which they only had 11 in 2006. The linebackers are not likely to get pushed around, but cannot be expected to get to the quarterback consistently on blitzes. The secondary is decent at the top, but behind the starters are question marks, or in the case of the backup Safeties, worse.

    Overall Defensive Rating: C+


    2007 Northwestern Wildcats Special Teams Preview

    Returning Starters: 0

    This is the most talented and consistent special teams unit we have faced. Not that that says a lot, but they are genuinely good. Not a whole lot of experience is there, but they really are producing. I expect the ST's to be the highlight of the day for the Wildcats and keep them in the game, well at least for the first half.


    Special Teams
    P #1 Stefan Demos (5-10 190 RS FR, Horizon HS, Scottsdale, AZ)
    PK#96 Amado Villarreal (5-10 180 JR, Englewood HS, Englewood, CO)
    PR#8 Rasheed Ward (5-11 180 JR, Harper HS, Chicago, IL)
    KR #24 Sherrick McManis (6-1 180 SO, Richwoods HS, Peoria, IL) & #29 Omar Conteh (6-0 205 JR, Cy-Fair HS, Cypress, TX)
    LS #86 Phil Brunner (6-2 220 JR, South Milwaukee HS, South Milwaukee, WI)

    Kicking Game:
    Northwestern's kicker, Amado Villarreal is the best and most consistent kicker we've faced so far this season. He's 4-4 in field goal attempts and 7 of 7 in PATs. He doesn't do kick offs, but I don't think it's because he has a weak leg, he has a long of 46 for his career.

    The punter, Stefan Demos, who also handles the kickoff duties (3-13 in the end zone and an average of 65.8), has had a solid season so far. He only has a 37.3 average on punts with a long of 48, but he has downed 7 of his punts 12 punts inside the 20-yard line.

    All in all, a very solid kicking unit, but what also adds to its effectiveness is the coverage units for both punts and kicks. The punt return team is 4th in the nation in punt return yardage defense with average of 0.6 yards per return on 6 punts. The kickoff coverage team is 14th national with 29.7 yards per return.

    Kicking Game Rating: A

    Head-to-Head: Pretorius slipped in my book a bit missing a field goal and getting one blocked. A.J., stud again, that punt in the 4th down to the 4 was a thing of beauty (not to mention a great call by Tressel). Trapasso may of not had the average this week, but performed when needed.

    Northwestern's kickers and coverage teams are having a great year, no weaknesses that I see and I expect them to help Northwestern stay in the game early.


    Edge: Northwestern in a shocker!


    Return Game:
    The kick return team, headed by corner back Sherrick McManis, is only averaging 19.1 yards per return, but they did have a long of 43, which is further than us. He along with the long snapper, Phil Brunner, are the returning men to the special teams. McManis was named to the all Big Ten freshman team and was Northwestern's special teams player of the week 7 times (5 consecutively), so there is talent back there, just a matter of time before he shows it.

    The punt return team, headed by wide receiver Rasheed Ward is only averaging 3.7 yards per, but to be fair it's only on 3 attempts. We haven't got to see enough opportunities yet.

    Return Game Rating: C-

    Head-to-Head: I am becoming less and less impressed with OSU's return game, maybe it's that I am just spoiled by last year when every touch I was out of my seat thinking it could be taken to the house. I think we still have the athletes to do that though.

    Northwestern's returners aren't flashy, but they get it done. I expect solid play from them this week as well.

    Edge: Northwestern again. Until OSU starts showing me something I am not picking them.


    Overall Special Teams Analysis

    Let's make this simple.

    Kickers: Pretty much perfect throughout the first 3 games.
    Returners: Gotta pick it up against the Buckeyes this week.

    Overall Special Teams Rating: B-


    Predictions
    BB73's prediction: 38-10, Ohio State
    BuckeyeRyn's prediction: 28-17, Ohio State
    Buckeyeskickbuttocks' prediction: 31-6, Ohio State
    Bucklion's prediction: 31-7, Ohio State
    DaddyBigBucks's prediction: 49-10, Ohio State
    daddyphatsac's prediction: ??-??, Ohio State
    Hubbard's prediction: 34-6, Ohio State
    jwinslow's prediction: 34-6, Ohio State
    OSUBucks22's prediction: 41-6, Ohio State
    OSUsushichic's prediction: 42-13, Ohio State
    3yardsandacloud's prediction: 35-12, Ohio State
    JCOSU86's prediction: 42-7, Ohio State


    Previous Game's Results (OSU 33 - Washington 14)
    Low score wins the year long battle of prediction supremacy! (Difference of actual score versus predicted score. 10 point penalty for picking the losing team.)
    (1, 19, 10 = 30) OSUBucks22's: 24-13, Ohio State (9 + 1 = 10 + 20 last week)
    (11, 14, 10 = 35) DaddyBigBucks's prediction: 24-13, Ohio State (13 + 4 = 17 + 25 last week)
    (0, 33, 17 = 40) Hubbard's prediction: 20-10, Ohio State (13 + 4 = 17 + 33 last week)
    (7, 22, 12 = 41) daddyphatsac's prediction: 23-16, Ohio State (10 + 2 = 12 + 29 last week)
    (2, 22, 18 = 42) 3yardsandacloud's prediction: 28-27, Ohio State (5 + 13 = 18 + 24 last week)
    (4, 29, 9 = 42) BB73's prediction: 27-17, Ohio State (6 + 3 = 9 + 33 last week)
    (0, 29, 15 = 44) OSUsSushichic's prediction: 21-17, Ohio State (12 + 3 = 15 + 29 last week)
    (7, 25, 14 = 46) Buckeyeryn's prediction: 20-13, Ohio State (13 + 1 = 14 + 32 last week)
    (17, 22, 16 = 55) Bucklion's prediction: 24-21, Ohio State (9 + 7 = 16 + 39 last week)
    (10, 30, 15 = 55) jwinslow's prediction: 21-17, Ohio State (12 + 3 = 15 + 40 last week)
    (16, 33, 10 = 59) Buckeyeskickbuttocks' prediction: 24-13, Ohio State (9 + 1 = 10 + 49 last week)

    Adjusted scores for weeks missed. Participant must take the highest score from the week they missed:


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2007
    fourteenandoh likes this.
  2. OSUBucks22

    OSUBucks22 No touching! Staff Member

    My prediction was 41-6 tOSU... :biggrin:
     
  3. Buckeyeskickbuttocks

    Buckeyeskickbuttocks Z --> Z^2 + c Staff Member

    Oops... Sorry about that. I'd go in and make the edit, but it would screw up the formatting.
     
  4. YumaBuckeye

    YumaBuckeye aka EvansvilleBuckeye

    Great Review - no letdown this week......38-3.......go Bucks :osu:
     
  5. *OSUBucknut10*

    *OSUBucknut10* Buckaholic

    Excellent job with the review as always,


    OSU 42 NW-6
     
  6. JCOSU86

    JCOSU86 2019 Rose Bowl Champions! Staff Member

    Added Northwestern's defense and Special Team members High School information. And my prediction :biggrin:
     
  7. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie '16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner

    My NW'ern prediction was 38-10. 27-17 was U-Dub.

    I won't edit it because of the formatting. :tongue2:
     
  8. Muck

    Muck Enjoy Every Sandwich Staff Member

    63-3

    Bucks in a squeeker...
     
  9. Buckeyedynasty

    Buckeyedynasty I'd hit it!

    Great job with the preview guys, your hard work is appreciated and as always GO BUCKS! 38-7 is my guess.
     
    iambrutus and Best Buckeye like this.
  10. OSUBucks22

    OSUBucks22 No touching! Staff Member

    No worries... :biggrin:
     
  11. This game has red flags all over it for me. Not that I think we will lose but we could if we're not careful.

    Dionte's hurt, Saine is out, Fitzgerald is a former linebacker who is going to have his (embarassed by Duke loss) team fired up for validation against the Bucks. I am glad we are at home.

    If we control the penalties and turnovers, OSU wins 45-9.
    If we look sloppy and out of synch, OSU wins 27-20.

    Go Bucks! Make a few statements today!
     

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