Thursday, September 17, 2015

#Buckeyes Preview 9.17.15: Northern Illinois Huskies #NIU @ Ohio State

By @jddisantis

After an unenthused 38-0 win over Hawaii last weekend the Buckeyes will stay home to host the Mid-American Conference Champion Huskies from Northern Illinois.  Despite the 38 point victory Ohio State looked like they were sleep walking through most of the game last Saturday.  The Buckeyes will have an opportunity to get the offense out of first gear this weekend and will look to post big numbers against Northern Illinois.

One of the biggest reasons behind the underperforming offense is the quarterback play hasn't been great.  I was most disappointed that J.T. Barrett didn't take advantage of the opportunity he was given last week to take control of the quarterback position.  With the offense needing a shot in the arm J.T. was inserted in the second quarter and completed eight of 15 passes for 70 yards and no touchdowns.  Cardale Jones will start this weekend and J.T. will continue to get playing time.  It will be interesting to see if one of these players can take control of this offense and get it running like the well-oiled machine it should be.  

One of the few bright spots from last weekend was the shut-out pitched by the Buckeye defense.  The Silver Bullets were dominant holding Hawaii to 165 yards and forcing four turnovers.  They will have a tougher task this weekend against the Huskies.  Northern Illinois has shown the ability to put up some points as they are 2-0 on the year and racked up 643 yards of offense last week against Murray State in a 57-26 victory. Quarterback Drew Hare has thrown for 718 yards and 6 touchdowns through 2 games this year while running back Joel Bouagnon has 5 touchdowns and 204 yards on the season.  Through two games in this young season Northern Illinois is averaging more points and yards per game than the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes haven't hit their stride yet and are still working things out on offense.  The short week between Va. Tech and Hawaii looked like it played a role as Ohio State struggled to get themselves going on offense.  Add in a running average of less than 4 yards per carry for Ezekiel Elliot and the offensive line last week and the Buckeyes should be looking to put up some major points against a Husky defense giving up 28 points and 433 yards of offense per game.  With a full week of practice the Buckeyes should be able to finally hit their stride offensively and look like the most talented team in the nation.

What: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus Ohio
When: Saturday, 9/19 at 3:30 PM ET
Watch: ABC/ESPN2

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