NCAA Football: Ohio Bobcats vs. Northwestern Wildcats Preview, Prediction & Odds - Sept. 25, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: Noon ET; Sept. 25, 2021
Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Where to watch: Big Ten Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Northwestern -15; O/U 48; Northwestern -720 Ohio +500
BetMGM: Northwestern -15; O/U 47.5; Northwestern -769 Ohio +525
Caesars: Northwestern -15; O/U 48; Northwestern -800 Ohio +550

Season record
Ohio: 0-3
Northwestern: 1-2 (0-1 Big Ten)

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Ohio - Northwestern preview and analysis

Recent form
Ohio: lost 49-14 at Louisiana Lafayette on Sept. 16
Northwestern: lost 30-23 at Duke on Sept. 18

It was a good run for the Northwestern Wildcats. May we all gather in the honor circle and give thanks to the good football they once played.

For that is all gone, and the remains of Wildcat past are yelling in agony, “why are you the way that you are?”

But perhaps the lovely folks of Northwestern could ease those concerns for a week when the Wildcats host the Ohio Bobcats in Illinois on Saturday.

Of course it feels like decades ago, but it was only last season that Northwestern was a half away from making the Rose Bowl. Now, after starting the season with a Big Ten loss to the Michigan State Spartans, Northwestern is really going to need to rally in order for things to happen.

But the Wildcats are coming off a 30-23 loss at the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday. Northwestern rallied down 30-7 at halftime to cut it to seven, but three Northwestern quarterbacks combined for 260 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. All three picks came from starter Hunter Johnson, while Andrew Marty came in relief and threw two touchdowns.

Marty left the game with an injury and was replaced by Ryan Hilinski (2-of-7, 34 yards). Whether Marty will be the starter on Saturday remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt he provided a spark for the Wildcats at one of their lowest points this season.

But it’s been about as low of a season for Ohio, if not lower than the floor, through three games. After losing by two points to Duqesne, the Bobcats lost by five touchdowns to the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns and could close September with an 0-4 mark.

Ohio quarterback Kurtis Rourke threw two touchdowns, but only 122 yards on 12-of-22 passing. All in all, the Bobcats were held to 250 total yards. Backup quarterback and former UNLV transfer Armani Rogers had 58 yards on seven carries.


College football is designed to bring these matchups together that make no sense. But this is an instant where Northwestern should win the game comfortably and get back on the winning track before conference season begins. Northwestern wins by 17

Betting trends

Ohio is 5-14 against the spread in its past 19 games overall.

The under is 6-1 in Northwestern’s last seven games as a home favorite.

Players to watch

Ohio: I’m truly interested if Armani Rogers is going to ever get a full look at quarterback. His dual-threat ability could open things up considerably, but Rourke is more of the pocket passer. If it can’t work at UNLV, it won’t work anywhere.

Northwestern: After Louisiana torched the Ohio run defense (led by four rushing touchdowns from Montrell Johnson), look for Evan Hull to get more action this week. He only had 10 carries for 49 yards against Duke, but that was likely due to playing so far from behind.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Kurtis Rourke -- 432 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: O’Shaan Allison -- 167 yards
Receiving: Ty Walton -- 118 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Bryce Houston -- 26 tackles

Passing: Hunter Johnson -- 424 yards, 4 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Evan Hull -- 262 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Bryce Kirtz -- 165 yards
Defense: Jeremy Meiser -- 2 sacks

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Ohio - Northwestern prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NCAA projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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