Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Offense

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Offense

Big Ten

Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Offense

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Biggest Key To The Northwestern Wildcats Offense

Start hitting a few downfield passes again. It was so, so painful.

The offense just didn’t go anywhere, especially after defenses had no fear whatsoever of getting burned deep. Northwestern finished dead last in the nation in yards per completion, hitting just nine yards per completion and a pathetic 4.5 yards per throw.

No one else in the nation averaged fewer than 5.2 yards per pass.

It’s not like the offense was all that great the year before with Clayton Thorson winging it around, but at least there was a wee bit of a passing game. The Wildcats went from getting over 3,000 yards through the air, to just 1,404.

How bad was it? The Wildcats failed to hit 100 passing yards in four of their last seven games.

Biggest Key To The Ohio State Buckeyes Offense

The offensive line has to find its groove again. Justin Fields was in the mix for the Heisman, JK Dobbins ran for over 2,000 yards, and the receiving corps was brilliant.

It all started with an offensive line that helped make it all go.

Of course it was a function of the offense – the decision-making of Fields was a big help – but the line’s ability to thump away for the ground game turned out to be one of the biggest difference-makers.

There were too many sacks allowed, and it was possible to get into the Buckeye backfield, but the running game went off for 3,735 yards and 39 scores after running for 2,398 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2018.

Of course having a more mobile quarterback than Dwayne Haskins was a big factor in the difference, but the line also did its part as it took over games the longer they went on.

Left guard Jonah Jackson is off to the NFL, and right tackle Branden Bowen is done, but there’s not much of a problem filling in those two spots around the all-star-caliber parts in place.

NEXT: Penn State Nittany Lions, Purdue Boilermakers

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