Sunday, October 6, 2013
What we learned: Week 6
By Matt Fortuna
Here is what we take away from Ohio State's 40-30 win Saturday night at Northwestern:
1. Braxton Miller giveth, and Braxton Miller taketh away. Three turnovers are obviously cause for concern. But Miller also led the Buckeyes back from a two-score deficit in the second half, and he did it mostly with play-action. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Miller was 11-for-15 passing off play-action plays, with four of those completions going for 20 or more yards. Six of those completions went to Corey Brown, who had four grabs of 20 or more yards. They connected 6 of 7 times on play-action throws. It is encouraging for the Buckeyes to survive a night road contest like this one when not everything is clicking for Miller.
2. Biggest test may be behind them. Ohio State has now beaten Wisconsin and Northwestern, and it wasn't long after Saturday's game until attention turned to whether or not the Wildcats could face the Buckeyes again, in the Big Ten title game. The Buckeyes' three remaining home games are against Iowa, Penn State and Indiana. They are at Purdue and at Illinois before the finale at Michigan. Ohio State took what are possibly the conference's two-best shots in consecutive weeks, and it remains a perfect 18-0 under coach Urban Meyer.
3. Pass defense has some work to do, but front is great. Northwestern threw for 343 yards against Ohio State, one week after Wisconsin threw for 295 yards against the Buckeyes. Fortunately for them, the pass-rush was in full-effect as the Buckeyes clearly took advantage of the battle inside the trenches and finished the night with five sacks.