The Buckeyes led just 7-3 after 15 minutes before scoring 24 points in the second quarter.
On the season, they have outscored the opposition 158-20 in the second quarter.
“It’s kind of been the Buckeye onslaught,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said after watching Ohio State convert 57 percent of their third downs. “The first quarter against most teams but against us and Michigan State the second quarter. You’ve got to be able to get off the field on third down against them.”
Ohio State quarterback went home to Georgia last week
2. They dismantled a solid defense.
The Wildcats entered allowing 19.8 points and 318.8 yards per game but gave up more than double in both categories.
A team that held Wisconsin in check earlier in the season had no answers for Justin Fields and the Buckeyes.
Fields threw for 194 yards and four touchdowns, looking sharp on third downs as Ohio State put together a pair of long scoring drives early in the game and another in the third quarter.
“Those were momentum opportunities against in my opinion the best team in the country that we missed,” Fitzgerald said.
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“The plays they ran were the plays we expected to see. That’s what kind of makes you really kind of really, really mad,” he added with an incredulous smile. “Doesn’t it? Like when you’re calling plays from the boundary and they run it and you don’t stop it. It kind of ticks you off a little bit. So you just tip your hat and wish ‘em well.”
The Buckeyes finished with 480 total yards, including 279 on the ground.
3. Northwestern had a decent night running the ball.
The Wildcats got virtually nothing from their passing game (42 yards) but carved out 157 yards on the ground against a defense that was allowing 82.0 per game.
Isaiah Bowser, a sophomore from Sidney who has been slowed by a knee injury most of the season, led the way with 65 yards on 16 carries.
“The first play we had 10 on the field, so that wasn’t a good start, but yeah they had two weeks to prepare for us,” Day said. “They do a good job. They’re very well coached. They’ve got good players. I thought their backs ran hard tonight. We’ll look at the film and see how they attacked us.
Northwestern had seven runs of 10 yards or more, though the Buckeyes continued to prevent the big play as none were longer than 16 yards.
4. Thayer Munford had to relieve Nicholas Petit-Frere.
With Munford ailing and top reserve Josh Alabi out, Petit-Frere got his first college start at left tackle.
The redshirt freshman was called for holding early in the game and would have allowed a sack if not for Fields’ fleetness of foot, and Munford replaced him in the second quarter.
Right about that time the offense took off, beginning with a 68-yard run by J.K. Dobbins, who cut off a block by left guard Jonah Jackson while Munford sealed the edge.
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“There’s a lot going on there,” Day said. “Thayer’s had a little nagging deal there that we had to kind of decide in game. I thought he was gritty, and when we needed him in the game he came in and played — I think he played well. I’m gonna watch the film.
“He played hurt, and that says a lot about him. But I thought Nick stepped up. Nick played well. We did a good job with him in there and that was his first real time to start. I thought that was good.”
Petit-Frere replaced Munford in the third quarter with the Buckeyes enjoying a commanding lead.
5. It was a memorable night for Ohio State’s kicker, too.
Blake Haubeil put his name in the record book when he banged through a 55-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
It matched the second-longest field goal in school history, trailing Tom Skladany’s record of 59 yards.
Centerville native Mike Nugent (twice), Dan Stultz and Gary Cairns have also made 55-yarders for the Scarlet and Gray.
“He had made one before so we said we would give him a shot,” Day said. “It was good to see the team rally behind him. It shows the confidence the team has in him and also the chemistry on the team in general. I think it put an exclamation point on the half.”