(Image courtesy of usatoday.com, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, cleveland.com, espn.com)
The #3 Buckeyes (8-0, 5-0) hosted #13 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2) on Saturday. The Buckeyes overcame the rain and outplayed the Badgers to claim a 38-7 win. The Badgers featured one of the top defenses in the country and possibly the best running back in the country, Jonathan Taylor. This had the makings of a B1G heavy-weight slugfest. Ohio State broke the ice with 6:57 remaining in the half with a 49 yard FG to take a 3-0 lead. They expanded their lead with :43 remaining in the half on a 27 yard Fields to Olave pass. At this point, the game was holding true to form. Ohio State overpowered Wisconsin in the second half, outscoring them 28-7, out-gained them 251 yards to 119 yards and ran 37 plays to Wisconsin’s 22 plays.
The offense understandably too a while to take the measure of Wisconsin’s defense.That was okay, since the defense dominated play all afternoon, the offense could take its time getting into gear.
The Buckeyes punted on their first three possessions. They scored on six (1 FG, 5 TD) of their next seven possessions. For the game, Ohio State had 431 yards in total offense, driven by a soul-crushing 264 yards rushing. They converted 9/14 3rd downs to extend drives.
J.K. Dobbins (20 carries, 163 yds, 2 TD) and Master Teague III (MST3K) (13, 76) and Justin Fields (12, 28, 1) benefited from overpowering line play. Justin spread his 12 completions among four receivers. Chris Olave had 7 receptions for 93 yards and 2 TDs. J.K. Dobbins had 3 receptions (56 yards) and K.J. Hill and Garrett Wilson had 1 reception each.
Let’s just say that Chase Young is very, very good. He had 6 solo tackles, 4 sacks and an additional tackle for loss. He also forced two fumbles, both of which were recovered by Pete Werner.. On back to back Wisconsin possessions, at the end of the 3rd quarter and beginning of 4th quarter, Young sacked Wiscy QB Jack Coan causing fumbles that Werner recovered.
Of note, the defense held all-everything Jonathan Taylor to 52 yards on 20 carries (2.8 YPC). The Wisconsin running game was held to 83 yards on 34 carries (2.4 YPC).ting.
The 2nd quarter was a bit mind-numbing if you were a Wisconsin fan. They had 11 rushing plays for net 0 yards and one pass completion for 13 yards. That’s all, folks; 15 plays net 13 yards.
Buffalonian Blake Haubeil & Co had a busy day. He was 5-5 on extra points and was 1-1 in FG attempts.
Drue Chrisman averaged 42 yards on the three punts he got off, but did have one punt partially blocked. His three punts in the first half helped put Wisconsin in long field positions.
Neither team did much of note offensively in the first quarter (table, below). Even though Ohio State did not have its usual 2nd quarter offensive outbursts, the Buckeyes established dominance in that quarter. The Ohio State defense held Wisconsin to under 1 yard per play while the offense opened a bit of breathing room with an eight-play, 85 yard scoring drive just before the half to go up 10-0. It wasn’t the +21 point 2nd quarter we’re used to seeing, but if you outscore your opponent 10-0 in a quarter, then extrapolating to a full game really works out well for you.
The second half was a clinic by Ohio State. They outscored Wisconsin 28-7, out-gained them 251 yards to 119 yards and ran 37 plays to Wisconsin’s 22 plays. Ohio State iced this game in the 4th quarter by playing “keep-away”. They ran 20 plays to Wisconsin’s 7. They held the ball for 11:04 to Wisconsin’s 3:56. They outscored Wisconsin 14-0. This was a thorough beat-down.
Below is a table of quarter-by-quarter activity.
The Buckeyes host Maryland (4-1, 2-0) Saturday. Kickoff and coverage are TBD at this point. If nothing else, you’ll be able to listen on 97.1..