Observations on the win over Northwestern, 42-20!

1-Wow! What a great second half! 4 drives for 4 red zones for 4 TDs, and a Breaston punt return for a 5th TD. Northwestern did manage a big play by Herron for a 68 yard TD, and one red zone for a TD; however, we had 4 red zones for 28 points compared to their 4 red zones for 13 points. Our offense woke up, and took it to them. Our defense still played sluggish, but did enough to contribute to the win.

2-Henne was 19 of 26 for 187 yards and 2 TDs. He led us to 24 first downs and 6 of 12 in 3rd and 4th down conversions for 421 yards in total offense. Hart finished with 151 net yards in 23 carries, and 3 TDs plus a 20 yards screen pass reception. Braylon Edwards had 7 catches, but he was covered well by Wildcat senior Marvin Ward so he only had 54 yards.

3-Our defense has been led by Leon Hall and Ernest Shazor with 7 tackles each. Joey Sarantos added 6 tackles, and Lamarr Woodley had 5 tackles including a sack, a forced fumble and a pass knockdown. Northwestern attacked our right side as did MSU, and was very successful. Basanez was 23 of 43 for 216 yards, and Herron ran for 156 yards on 23 carries and grabbed 4 passes for 36 additional yards. The Cats had 21 first downs and were 8 of 19 in 3rd and 4th down conversions to help them gain 405 yards in total offense.

4-McGarigle led their defense with 14 tackles. They had 4 sacks, and allowed no big plays other than Hart's 34 yard romp and Breaston's 68 yard punt return. Turnovers were not a factor in this game.

5-Special teams advantage went to the Wolverines with the TD punt return and the important blocked field goal. We were forced into 4 first half punts, but none in the second half. The Cats punted 5 times, and one resulted in the Breaston TD.

6-The game in Columbus next week will not only give us the opportunity to share the Big Ten title or win it outright if Iowa is able to upset Wisconsin at home, but also catapult us into a BCS bowl game in either the Rose or Fiesta Bowls against top BCS achiever: California, Utah or Big East Champ, Boston College or perhaps even ACC champ, Virginia, Virginia Tech or Miami-FL. Otherwise, it looks like the Capital One Bowl against a worthy SEC opponent like Tennessee, Georgia or LSU.

We are really going to have to work on closing that gap our opponents are exploiting on our right side (weak or wide side) with our over-aggressiveness resulting in cutbacks for big plays. Also, the Buckeyes will be taking away our big plays to Edwards like Northwestern and Purdue did, forcing our running game and Henne to beat them. A.J. Hawk will be daring Dudley to block him away from Hart. It should be an interesting, low-scoring nail-biter with Rivas and/or Nugent deciding it. The Buckeyes have really improved, and their special teams are always dangerous with Ginn back there on punt and kickoff returns.

In our favor, the Buckeyes have the worst 3rd down conversion rate and fewest first downs in the Big Ten; however, they always seem to be capable of a big play with players like Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn plus our defense has been susceptible to the big play all year. Our defense hasn't played their best game yet; hopefully it will be next Saturday in Columbus.

It was great to see Breaston almost back to full speed; he really make a difference on offense and special teams when he is healthy. He does still have his bad hand wrapped though. Joey Sarantos got his first start at Mike-Inside Linebacker in place of Scott McClintock who missed the game with the flu. Jamar Adams got a lot of playing time today at safety after Mundy went out. Jeremy Van Alstyne started over Larry Harrison at defensive end (tackle) as Massey moved from the strong side to the wide side.

Observations on the first half with the Wildcats, 7-6!

1-Northwestern has definitely outplayed us! They have created 3 red zones, all by their offense, but only cashed in 6 points with one blocked field goal by Massey. Our offense (and defense) created zero red zones, but we got a 34 yard run by Hart for a TD so we lead at half. Like Bo said on the Big Ten ticket, he expected us to come out flat after the bye week, and we did.

2-Henne is 10 of 16 for 81 yards, 8 first downs, 2 of 6 in 3rd down conversions, and 3 sacks. Hart has 54 yards on 7 carries for a TD, but we have only 45 net yards in rushing offense due to the sacks. Braylon Edwards has 4 catches, but he's been covered well by Wildcat senior Ward so he only has 26 yards.

3-Our defense has been led by Joey Sarantos with 5 tackles. Northwestern is attacking our right side as did MSU, and is very successful. Basanez is 12 of 22 for 116 yards, and Herron has run for 73 yards on 15 carries. The Cats have 10 first downs and are 3 of 9 in 3rd down conversions to help them maintain a 1:30 time of possession advantage. The Wildcats have a net rushing advantage of 80 to 45 since they've experienced no sacks. The Cats have a 196 to 112 yards of total offense advantage.

4-It looks to be a close game, and turnovers could be the difference. Neither team has turned the ball over yet. McGarigle leads their defense with 7 tackles. Special teams shows no advantage other than the Massey block as we've been forced into 4 punts, and they've punted 3 times.