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Notes, Quotes and Little Motes from a Tight and Tough Win over Northwestern
By John Porentas

COLUMBUS — The Buckeyes entered the game 26-point favorites but had to hang to claim a four-point home win over Northwestern by a final of 24-20.

-The focus after the game was "What went wrong", but Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes were focused on what went right in a game that was supposed to be a cake walk but turned into a dog fight.

"We're kind of a dogfight team I guess," said Meyer.  "That's fine.  It builds character I guess."

- Most of the hard questions after the game involved the OSU offense, and even included some discussion as to whether expectations are out of line for a young OSU offensive unit that is breaking in three new offensive linemen.  Meyer agreed that the questions were appropriate, but also said the wasn't down on his team.

"Do I think it's unfair, I would never say that," said the OSU coach.  "I don't know what to say.  I've got a team to coach, and we're getting better. We're 7-1 with a bunch of new players that I love to death right now and I enjoy coaching them."

Meyer actually took exception to the notion that the offense was not productive on the day. 

"We were very balanced, ran for 200 and threw for 230.  Most places that's a pretty good day.  I understand here that's off a little bit.  We've got to get to that 500 number I guess, but I'm happy with it. I'll enjoy myself tonight."

- The Wildcats tied the game at 17 in the third quarter but the Buckeyes were able to do all the things they needed to do in the fourth quarter to win. They managed a bit play in the passing game, something that has been missing, made a stand in the red zone that limited Northwestern to a field goal late in the game, then were able to run out the clock on offense to secure the win. 

"I thought our guys nutted up when they had to," said Meyer.  "and the final two drives were big."

- The Buckeyes scored a touchdown on their first possession, the first time they have done that this season. That was another positive Meyer took from the game.

"I like the fact that we started fast," he said.

- K. J. Hill provided something that has been missing in the Buckeye offense when he hauled in a 34-yard reception in the fourth quarter. The play carried to the Northwestern 10-yard line and led to the game-winning touchdown.  

- Safety Malik Hooker registered 14 tackles, a career-high for the first-year starter. 

- Noah Brown tied his career-high with five catches, but aside from Hill's big catch late in the game the Buckeye passing game did not come up with big plays. Meyer agreed that is a concern.

"We're not hitting it," said Meyer. "I don't know if we're separating, I see the same thing that everyone sees who watches us, and I think we're going to get that figured out."

- Mike Webber's 15-yard catch in the first quarter was a career-long. His two rushing touchdowns tied his career high. He had two against Indiana as well. 

- After having a tough week last week right tackle Isaiah Prince played much better this week. OSU's final drive to run out the clock featured a 35-yard rush by J.T., Barrett on a third and 10 play that allowed the Buckeyes to run out the clock and preserve the win. The play went over right tackle where Prince provided a key block. 

- OSU gave up six sacks to Penn State last week so the Buckeyes brought in some blocking help when 6-7, 320 pound offensive lineman Brandon Bowen was brought into the game as a tight end. Right guard Billy Price liked the move and tongue-in-cheek hinted of more surprises to come.

"I saw Pitt do the tackle end-around. That was beautiful," said Price referring to a play in the Pitt Virginia Tech game. "Do the right guard end around, it's coming. Right guard end around.

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