Northern Illinois gave the defending national champions four quarters of tight, competitive football, but the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes emerged with a 20-13 victory at Ohio Stadium.
NIU's defense forced five turnovers, including two early Cardale Jones interceptions that knocked the Buckeyes quarterback out of the game. J.T. Barrett also threw an interception, but his game-tying touchdown pass to end the first half gave OSU momentum going to the locker room.
Drew Hare's interception-turned-pick-six proved to be the deciding score in the second half. The Huskies had multiple opportunities in the fourth quarter in a one-possession game, but failed to capitalize against Ohio State's defense.
NIU was a 35-point underdog heading into Saturday's matchup, and proved to be a worthy adversary for Urban Meyer's Buckeyes. Rod Carey's Huskies now prepare for their last non-conference game next week on the road against Boston College.