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5 Reasons Why the Ohio State Buckeyes Beat the Northwestern Wildcats

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5 Factors That Contributed to Ohio State's Win Over Northwestern

Jerry Lai - USA Today Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes met the Northwestern Wildcats in Evanston on Saturday for a game that was considered to be one of the most important games of the year for both teams and was potentially even the biggest game in Northwestern history. It was a game that more than lived up to its hype.

It looked to be Northwestern’s game as they dominated the first half and went into halftime with a 20-13 lead over the Buckeyes. The only touchdown for the Buckeyes in the first half came off of a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown by cornerback Bradley Roby. The Buckeyes continued to struggle as the second half began, until running back Carlos Hyde stepped up for struggling starting quarterback Braxton Miller. Hyde seemed to make all the difference as he helped to lead the Buckeyes to a win and keep their hopes of a national championship alive.

It was a great game that either team could’ve won. The struggles of Miller and the Ohio State defense for most of the game were a huge plus for the Wildcats, but there were other factors working against them that they were not able to overcome.

These factors are highlighted in this list as reasons why the Buckeyes were the eventual winners of this game. Some of these factors may be more evident than others and could even be things that many may not have thought of when watching the game. They all played a part in Ohio State’s win, no matter how large or small of a contribution they may have made.

Jenna Aquino is a Big Ten Football writer for Follow her on Twitter, "Like" her on Facebook, or add her to your network on Google.

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5. Urban Meyer

Jerry Lai - USA Today Sports

Whatever Urban Meyer said to his team at halftime must’ve helped, though it didn’t seem to reach everyone, including Miller. His Buckeyes got it together in the second half and got the win over a good Northwestern team. He also called a timeout, unknowingly, at a critical time in the fourth quarter while he decided whether to send his kicking team out or not after Hyde was seemingly unable to get the ball in the end zone. It gave the booth time to review the previous play, which resulted in a touchdown for Hyde and the Buckeyes.

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4. Bradley Roby

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Roby stepped up in a big way against the Wildcats after a performance against the Wisconsin Badgers last week that was not up to his potential. Roby blocked a punt in the end zone in the first half and recovered it for a touchdown. It was the Buckeyes’ first touchdown of the game and kept them within a touchdown of the Wildcats at halftime. This blocked punt earned him honors from the Big Ten as the Special Teams Player of the Week.

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3. Ohio State’s defense in the fourth quarter

Jerry Lai - USA Today Sports

Northwestern’s shot at a win was over with 2:43 left in the game when the Ohio State defense stopped quarterback Kain Colter on a fourth-and-one play. The Wildcats were already trailing 34-30, and the Ohio State defense stepped up and stopped them at a very critical point in the game. The Buckeye defense had otherwise been average in this game.

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2. The Wildcats’ inability to hang onto fourth quarter leads

Jerry Lai - USA Today Sports

Last season this was a huge problem for the Wildcats, and it is unfortunate for them that it’s still the case this season. They had late leads against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Penn State Nittany Lions, and Michigan Wolverines last season, which all resulted in losses for the Wildcats when they couldn’t hold onto their lead in the fourth quarter. They had a 23-20 lead over the Buckeyes going into the fourth quarter on Saturday, and they ended up losing 40-30.

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1. Carlos Hyde

Jerry Lai - USA Today Sports

Hyde essentially took over the Buckeyes’ offense in the second half for a struggling Miller. He made all the difference, running for 168 yards and scoring all three of the Buckeyes’ offensive touchdowns. He also had four receptions for 38 yards. Hyde and his “workhorse” attitude kept Ohio State’s national championship hopes alive. Hyde very deservingly earned an honor from the Big Ten as the Co-Offensive Player of the Week for this performance.