Ohio State-Northwestern | Defense recovers from slow start to second half

Tim May

INDIANAPOLIS — The Ohio State defense had cause to celebrate Saturday night just like the rest of the Buckeyes after a 45-24 victory over Northwestern delivered the team’s second straight Big Ten championship.

The defenders probably would have felt even better if they could have erased two Northwestern possessions in the third quarter when, bristling from being down 24-7 at halftime, the Wildcats came out throwing haymakers to score two touchdowns and make it 24-21.

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“We just started running more base (defense) and not too many blitzes,” defensive end Chase Young said of the main adjustment.

“We just came out a little slow, but we made a quick adjustment, an attitude adjustment and started playing Buckeye football,” cornerback Damon Arnette said.

After that second touchdown of the third quarter, the Buckeyes limited the Wildcats to three points and 98 more yards.

But it’s no guarantee that a Big Ten championship will be enough to put the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff.

“I hope that God puts his hands on us and hopefully we make it,” Young said.

To win a second straight league title has its own reward, not the least of which is a spot in the Rose Bowl against Pac-12 champion Washington if the Buckeyes don’t enjoy divine intervention.

“It’s a blessing no matter what happens,” defensive tackle Robert Landers. “I’ve been blessed to play with this group of guys.”


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