Preview: Northwestern at Ohio State

Sixth-ranked Ohio State looks to strengthen its case for a College Football Playoff berth when it faces No. 21 Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship game on Saturday in Indianapolis. Ohio State eviscerated seventh-ranked Michigan 62-39 to capture the Big Ten East Division title and vault into contention for a postseason spot, but No. 4 Georgia and fifth-ranked Oklahoma are potential roadblocks in their path to the playoff as the Buckeyes aim to win their second consecutive conference championship game.

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“When you start using terms like national championship and playoffs, that’s very rare air,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer told reporters. “That’s why we have a job to do … to go win the Big Ten championship and worry about that down the road.” Northwestern is making its first Big Ten Championship game appearance after ending Wisconsin’s dominance in the West division. The Wildcats have won seven straight conference games, including a 24-16 victory over Illinois to capture the Land of Lincoln Trophy last week, and hope to ride the momentum by knocking off the Buckeyes for the first time since 2004. “I’m fired up to take the purple down to Indy as every year our goal is to win the Big Ten West and we’ve gotten over that hump,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told reporters. “We have an opportunity to take the team to the Rose Bowl and if that doesn’t motivate you then I don’t know what does.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Ohio State -14

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (8-4, 8-1 Big Ten): Clayton Thorson completed 12-of-18 passes for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns while adding another on the ground as the Wildcats downed the Fighting Illini for the fourth consecutive time. Linebacker Paddy Fisher earned All-Big Ten First Team honors after making 92 tackles and forcing three fumbles, while defensive end Joe Gaziano was named to the second team following six sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2018. Fitzgerald was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after guiding the Wildcats to eight conference wins, which matched a single-season program record.

ABOUT OHIO STATE (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten): Dwayne Haskins continued his push for the Heisman Trophy as he threw for 396 yards and equaled a program record with six touchdown passes in the win against Michigan. Haskins was named the Big Ten Player of the Week for a record sixth time after his dominant display against the Wolverines, breaking the old mark of five set by former Heisman Trophy winner and former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith in 2006. Defensive tackle Dre’mont Jones was selected to the Big Ten First Team after registering 7.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss to go along with a pair of touchdowns while Chase Young earned second-team honors.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Ohio State has won six consecutive meetings with Northwestern.

2. Haskins set Big Ten single-season records with 4,081 passing yards and 42 touchdowns.

3. The Wildcats have won 15 of their last 16 Big Ten games dating back to last year.

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College Football Fantasy Draft News 1-1-2016

Northwestern Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers College Football Fantasy Preview 1-1-2016

The Outback Bowl features the Northwestern Wildcats facing the Tennessee Volunteers. College football draft GMs can tune to ESPN2 TV on Friday January 1st at 12PM Eastern Time to track the results of their one day league fantasy picks.

Northwestern competed in the weaker part of the Big Ten conference in the West division. They compiled an overall record of 10-2 and found themselves winning many of their close games which didn’t happen in 2014 where the team finished at 5-7. A very glaring picture of the team is when they were forced to step up in competition. They failed badly dropping a 40-10 home decision to Iowa and a 38-0 defeat on the road to the Michigan Wolverines. The Michigan loss was significant as Northwestern faced their first and pretty much only opponent with great speed and the difference on the playing field between the two teams was quiet wide.

Tennessee has good speed and quickness and that will give the Wildcats issues on defense. The Volunteers finished at 8-4 and closed out their regular season with five straight victories. They are a good offensive team that piles up 223 yards rushing per game which is 21st best in the nation.

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Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd leads the team with 13 touchdowns. He has rushed for 253 times for 1155 yards with 11 touchdowns. Hurd is a busy running back who could get upwards of 20 carries in this bowl game. He closed out the season strongly with 120 rushing yards and a touchdown at home to Vanderbilt and he had a 151 rushing performance on November 21st at Missouri. An impressive performance came against Florida. The Gators are a stout defensive club yet Hurd was able to rush for 102 yards and two touchdowns. On Oklahoma’s defense the sophomore running back had a rushing touchdown and 106 yards on the ground. Against another playoff team in Alabama, Hurd averaged 5.1 yards a carry and had a touchdown.

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Tennessee Volunteers RB

Oklahoma St Cowboys vs. Mississippi Rebels College Football Real Money Fantasy Preview 1-1-2016

The Sugar Bowl will pit the Oklahoma St Cowboys against the Mississippi Rebels. DFS draft managers can tune to ESPN TV on Friday January 1st at 8:30PM Eastern Time to track the scoring results of their fantasy selections.

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The Ole Miss Rebels concluded regular season play with a record of 9-3. They are a very good offensive team that averaged 514 yards and 40 points per game. Early in the season the Rebels were the only team to nail Alabama with a regular season loss as Mississippi beat the Crimson Tide 43-37. The Rebels had a difficult schedule down the stretch and they closed out with a 38-17 home win to LSU and a 38-27 road victory against rival Mississippi St.

Oklahoma St is a very questionable New Year’s Six bowl team. They finished at 10-2 and looked really bad down the stretch with losses to Baylor and Oklahoma. They are the 95th ranked defense from college football and had trouble defending the pass by allowing 244 yards per game which is 93rd worst in the nation. They have given up 31 or greater points in four of their past five games.

Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly completed 65% of his throws for 3740 yards with 27 touchdowns. He has thrown for multiple touchdown passes in seven straight games. Kelly had a three touchdown completion performance against Alabama as he tallied 341 yards passing in the game. The Ole Miss junior quarterback has the luxury to throw against another bad Big 12 defense.

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Mississippi Rebels QB

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Fanpicks.com College Football Bowl Game Preview

OUTBACK BOWL
Tennessee vs. Northwestern

Fanpicks.com is proud to bring you the Outback Bowl game preview featuring Tennessee against Northwestern. This is an simple prediction Tennessee will trounce Northwestern to take the game at 31-21. Play the best fantasy college football contests at Fanpicks.com.

 

Tennessee and Northwestern look to end breakout seasons on a high note when they meet in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Tennessee won its last five to reach eight victories for the first time since posting 10 with a win at the Outback Bowl in 2007. The Wildcats finished the regular season with five consecutive victories and go for a school-record 11th in Tampa where they lost 38-35 in overtime Jan. 1, 2010 at the Outback Bowl.

Both teams depend on their rushing attacks with multi-purpose quarterbacks and 1,000-yard sophomore running backs leading the way. Northwestern’s freshman signal caller Clayton Thorson has thrown for seven touchdowns and rushed for another five while Justin Jackson was fourth in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards with 1,491 – 1,344 on the ground with four scores. Jalen Hurd was fourth in the SEC with 1,158 yards rushing to go along with 11 scores for the Volunteers and quarterback Joshua Dobbs accounted for 24 touchdowns – 15 passing and nine rushing.

Special teams could become a major factor as Tennessee boasts six return touchdowns this season – three on punts and three on kickoffs. Evan Berry took three kickoffs back for scores and averaged a national-best 38.3 yards per return while Cameron Sutton (18.7 yards per return, leading the country) scored twice and Alvin Kamara once returning punts for the Volunteers. Tennessee led the nation in kick returns while ranking second behind Texas A&M on punts and Northwestern is 56th and fourth (2.13), respectively, defending them.

 

NORTHWESTERN Season Overview (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten): The Wildcats’ defense allowed an average of 14 points the last four games, led by sophomore linebacker Anthony Walker and senior defensive lineman Deonte Gibson. Walker, who was named to the Big Ten first team, has 113 tackles – 19.5 for loss – this season and Gibson boasts nine sacks, but All-Big Ten second team cornerback Nick VanHoose (three interceptions) is not expected to play due to a finger injury. Thorson has been intercepted seven times and completed only 51.6 percent of his passes with fullback Dan Vitale (33 catches, 355 yards) as his top target.

 

TENNESSEE Season Overview (8-4, 5-3 SEC): Dobbs has raised his production as a junior with 2,125 yards through the air, a near 60 percent completion rate and just five interceptions. Dobbs, who was picked off 12 times in his first two seasons while throwing fewer passes combined than he did during the 2015 campaign, has found seven different players for at least two scoring strikes, five of whom have 270 receiving yards or more. Josh Malone has 29 receptions for 388 yards to lead the way and Kamara is a key versatile performer for the Volunteers, scoring 10 times and accumulating 1,016 all-purpose yards.

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