EVANSTON, Ill. -- First, Ohio State fans took over Northwestern's stadium, turning the usual purple haze into a sea of red. Then David Boston and the No. 1 Buckeyes took over on the field.
Looking very much at home on the road, Boston broke Cris Carter's school record with his 27th and 28th career touchdowns Saturday as the Buckeyes rolled over Northwestern 36-10.
Joe Germaine had his third straight 300-yard game, throwing for 342 yards and three TDs. Germaine, whose five 300-yard games are an Ohio State record, was 19-of-35 with one interception.
The Buckeyes (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) continued to dominate on defense, holding Northwestern (2-5, 0-5) to just 48 yards rushing and 11 first downs. Ohio State has held its last four opponents to 80 yards rushing or less.
Northwestern's Gavin Hoffman was 15-of-39 for 173 yards and was intercepted twice. Former Silver Bluff star D'Wayne Bates was the lone bright spot for the Wildcats, catching seven passes for 95 yards and Northwestern's only touchdown.
Ohio State has now won its last 21 games against Northwestern, with its last loss in Evanston coming in 1958.
The Buckeyes have been No. 1 since the preseason, and except for the final game against Michigan, can likely coast with no more ranked teams to play. But despite coach John Cooper's promise that there wouldn't be any letdowns, his offense struggled midway through the game.
After taking a 17-7 lead into the second quarter, Germaine seemed rattled by Northwestern's pesky defense. He repeatedly overthrew his receivers and completed just three of eight passes in the period.
Ohio State punted on its first three possessions, and turned the ball over on downs on its fourth. Northwestern, meanwhile, cut the lead to 17-10 on Brian Gowins' 39-yard field goal.
After his sixth incompletion, Germaine settled down and threw a 35-yard scoring pass to John Lumpkin. But Lumpkin cost the Buckeyes by taunting Northwestern cornerback Josh Barnes after the score, drawing the penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Backed up 15 yards, Dan Stultz missed the extra point and Ohio State settled for the 23-10 lead with 1:46 left in the half.
Boston tied Carter with a 38-yard score with 2:31 left in the third quarter. As Northwestern cornerback Gerald Conoway turned around to look for the ball, Boston scooted by him on the right and caught the ball as he crossed the goal line. The two-point conversion attempt failed, giving Ohio State a 29-10 lead.
Boston scored again on a 31-yard pass with 8:11 left in the game for the final margin.
Northwestern's only touchdown came on Hoffman's 60-yard pass to Bates. Hoffman rolled right and threw to his star receiver, who ran straight up the middle, bobbing and weaving around the Ohio State defense until he reached the end zone.
The Northwestern fans, who looked like the visitors in a stadium filled with red, stood and cheered, and the Wildcats piled on Bates as he ran back to the sidelines. It was the longest play from scrimmage against the Buckeyes this year, and the first touchdown given up by the Ohio State in the first quarter.
But that was about the only letdown by Ohio State's punishing defense. The Buckeyes let Northwestern into Ohio State territory just once in the third quarter, and have now held their opponents scoreless in the second half for eight quarters.