25 words or fewer: If the win at Oklahoma was the Buckeyes' arrival, the win over Northwestern was their revival. Shucks, who knows what beating the Huskers could mean.

Next game: vs. Nebraska

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Ohio Stadium

TV: ABC (Channel 6)

Radio: WBNS-FM/AM (97.1/1460)

25 words or fewer

If the win at Oklahoma was the Buckeyes' arrival, the win over Northwestern was their revival. Shucks, who knows what beating the Huskers could mean.

In the polls

The first College Football Playoff ratings will be revealed on Tuesday night. Knowing what the committee thinks of the Buckeyes to date will be interesting, taking this week's polls into consideration. The Buckeyes are No. 6 in both the Associated Press (media) and Amway (coaches) polls, and they have wins over Wisconsin (eighth in both polls) and Oklahoma (11th in the coaches, 12th in the AP). They host Nebraska (ninth in the AP, 10th in the coaches) on Saturday night.

What went right?

In the second half surge to reassert control, it was a suddenly revitalized passing attack - including catches by wide receivers K.J. Hill and Noah Brown - which played a vital role. J.T. Barrett wasn't responsible for a touchdown running or throwing for the first time as a starter, but he was 21 of 32 passing for 223 yards, and he ran for 71. Mike Weber scored two touchdowns on his way to 87 yards rushing, and Curtis Samuel had the winning score on a 3-yard plunge while rushing seven times for 31 yards and catching seven passes for 68 yards. The defense forced a field goal on on what turned out to be Northwestern's last possession, because the OSU offense then ate the remaining 3:31.

Back to the drawing board

Hitting receivers on the run over the middle is fun, with Barrett connecting several times in the second half. Perhaps those calls will move higher on the playlist; clearly they are in the repertoire. They made a pedestrian left/right passing attack look more vibrant as the game ensued. But about the deep passing game … still to be determined.

Stepping forward

Safety Malik Hooker, a first-year starter, spent the first half of the season playing a lot of center field, which helped him grab a team-leading four interceptions. But the past two weeks he has become an enforcer in the run defense, and he led the Buckeyes with 14 tackles against Northwestern.

Dinged up

Key receiver/returner Parris Campbell suffered what coach Urban Meyer said was an ankle sprain. Though X-rays reportedly showed no structural damage, Campbell did have to be helped from the field and carted to the locker room for those X-rays.

Up next

Nebraska, which saw its unbeaten start come to an end with an overtime loss at Wisconsin on Saturday night. Of course, OSU escaped Camp Randall Stadium with an overtime win, so the Cornhuskers, with Tommy Armstrong at quarterback and a defense playing more like the Nebraska of times gone by, have the Buckeyes' attention.

This week's challenge

It will be the mantra for the rest of the season: win by any means, and advance. The Buckeyes have another chance to make a major campaign statement in prime time.

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports