Meet the Northwestern football team, Ohio State football's week 9 opponent
The last time Ohio State football played Northwestern, the game took place in late December 2020 in Indianapolis as the two teams met in the 2020 Big Ten Championship Game.
Ohio State won 22-10 and advanced to the College Football Playoff.
Northwestern, meanwhile, beat Auburn, 35-19, in the Citrus Bowl.
Ohio State football schedule:Meet the Notre Dame football team, the first game of Ohio State football schedule in 2022
It's been all downhill since then for the Wildcats. Northwestern went 3-9 in 2021, tied for the worst record it's had since Pat Fitzgerald became the head coach in 2006.
The Buckeyes will travel to Evanston, Ill. on Nov. 5 for a showdown with the Wildcats.
The shortened pandemic season was sandwiched between two 3-9 campaigns, meaning there might be some pressure for the second-longest tenured coach in the Big Ten.
Fitzgerald, entering his 17th season as head coach, is a Wildcats legend who was given a contract extension following the 2020 season. But he'll have his work cut out for him as Northwestern looks to rebound from a 1-8 Big Ten record from a year ago.
Here's what to know about the 2022 Northwestern Wildcats.
OSU football vs. Northwestern all-time record
Ohio State famously went from 1972 to 2003 without losing to Northwestern. In total, it was a 24-game winning streak that included a 70-6 win in 1981. Ohio State is 64-14-1 all-time against Northwestern.
Fitzgerald had never beaten the Buckeyes, who last lost to Northwestern in 2004. That season as a middling 8-4 campaign for Ohio State that ended with a 33-7 Alamo Bowl win over Oklahoma State.
The Buckeyes were heavy favorites in that 2004 game and lost in overtime 33-27.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is a College Football Hall of Fame member
Fitzgerald was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He was a two-time Bronko Naqurski Trophy winner, a two-time Chuck Bednarik Award winner, the 1996 Jack Lambert winner and a two-time consensus All-American.
The Illinois native was one of the best players on the 1995 Northwestern team that went 10-1 and reached the Rose Bowl. Obviously, Northwestern avoided playing Ohio State that season.
Despite his standout career, Fitzgerald wasn't drafted in the NFL and his pro career lasted just two preseason games with the Dallas Cowboys.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Maryland and then Colorado before working at Idaho in 2000 as a linebacker and special teams coach.
He returned to Northwestern in 2001 and has never left. He was the linebackers coach in 2005 when Randy Walker died in June of 2006 and he was promoted to head coach.
What did Northwestern football do in 2021?
The Wildcats were 3-3 entering October last season but finished the year on a six-game losing streak, the longest such streak currently in the Big Ten. Northwestern managed a 21-7 win over Rutgers, it's only win of the Big Ten season in 2021.
During its six-game losing streak to end the season, Northwestern's closest game was against Iowa, a 17-12 home loss.
Northwestern's defense was bad in 2021. But so was the offense
Northwestern has had good defenses in the past, but last year's team struggled. As did the Wildcats offense.
Northwestern scored 14 or fewer points in seven games last season and allowed 6.15 yards per play on defense, the most in a decade.
Northwestern QB battle is between Ryan Hilinski and Brendan Sullivan
Ryan Hilinski and Brendan Sullivan are expected to compete for the starting job this summer. Hilinski is a transfer from South Carolina and was a starting quarterback for the Gamecocks. Sullivan, meanwhile, is a redshirt freshman.
Peter Skoronski is one of the best offensive lineman in the Big Ten
Peter Skoronski, the 6-foot-4, 294-pound tackle allowed just two sacks and 11 pressures in 410 pass-block snaps in 2021, according to ESPN. He's poised to follow 2021 NFL Draft pick Rashawn Slater as a first round pick next year.
He was a first-team All-Big Ten player in 2021 and was on the second-team as a freshman.
Northwestern will play Nebraska in Dublin, Ireland
The Wildcats and the Cornhuskers will play inside Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on Aug. 27, in the 2022 AER Lingus College football Classic. The game will kickoff at 12:30 p.m. on Fox.
What does the Northwestern football schedule look like in 2022?
Along with a trip to Ireland, here's what the schedule looks like for Northwestern:
- Aug. 27: Nebraska
- Sept. 10: Duke
- Sept. 17: Southern Illinois
- Sept. 24: Miami (Ohio)
- Oct. 1: at Penn State
- Oct. 8: Wisconsin
- Oct. 22: at Maryland
- Oct. 29: at Iowa
- Nov. 5: Ohio State
- Nov. 12: Minnesota
- Nov. 19: Purdue
- Nov. 26: Illinois
Who are the best NFL 2023 Draft prospects for Northwestern?
Skoronski is the No.11-ranked prospect on Mel Kiper Jr.'s big board and the No.1 ranked tackle by Kiper.
Ohio State football schedule 2022
- Week 1: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3, in Columbus, Ohio
- Week 2: Ohio State vs. Arkansas State, Sept. 10, in Columbus, Ohio
- Week 3: Ohio State vs. Toledo, Sept. 17, in Columbus, Ohio
- Week 4: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin, Sept. 24, Columbus, Ohio
- Week 5: Ohio State vs. Rutgers, Oct. 1, Columbus Ohio
- Week 6: Ohio State vs. Michigan State, Oct. 8, East Lansing, Mich.
- Week 7: Ohio State vs. Iowa, Oct. 22, Columbus, Ohio
- Week 8: Ohio State vs. Penn State, Oct. 29, State College, Pa.
- Week 9: Ohio State vs. Northwestern, Nov. 5, Evanston, Ill.
- Week 10: Ohio State vs Indiana, Nov. 12, Columbus, Ohio
- Week 11: Ohio State vs. Maryland, Nov. 19, College Park, MD.
- Week 12: Ohio State vs. Michigan, at noon Nov. 26, Columbus, Ohio