OSU's Bradley Roby: We're the kings of the Big Ten
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Whether or not cornerback Bradley Roby is No. 3 Ohio State's best player makes for good conversation.
That Roby is Ohio State's top conversation maker is pretty much indisputable. And after a rough start to what's almost certainly his final season playing college football, it sounds like Roby has his mojo back.
The timing is good, too. On Saturday night, Ohio State hosts Wisconsin in a primetime game that pits the conference's most talented team and its 16-game win streak against the three-time defending Big Ten Champions. A year after the bowl-banned Buckeyes went unbeaten but watched Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl for the third straight year, there's plenty at stake in this year's game as Ohio State hosts a team Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer called "the kings of the Big Ten" earlier this week.
"We know we're the kings," Roby said. "Simple as that."
And so marks the start of the big-game portion of the season.
If Saturday's game vs. No. 24 Wisconsin is really the test Ohio State has been waiting for, and if Wisconsin is going to try win that game by bullying an inexperienced Buckeyes defensive front with its power running game, Roby said Ohio State welcomes "smashmouth football" and that Ohio State has had this game circled since last winter when Wisconsin won the Big Ten Championship Game and moved on to Pasadena.
"When somebody takes something that's yours, the next time you see them there's going to be a fight," Roby said. "Saturday, obviously, is going to be a fight."
Wisconsin brings the nation's third-best rushing offense to Columbus for that fight, an offense that's certainly different and probably better than what Ohio State has seen thus far. The Buckeyes have a pretty good running game, too -- it ranks sixth-best nationally four weeks into the season -- and should welcome quarterback Braxton Miller back to the starting lineup.
Roby didn't go into details but said Ohio State's plan is to stop the run and force Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave to try to win it through the air.
"Anytime we can make him throw, that's what we want," Roby said.
Roby's media appearances have been limited since his July arrest after being involved in an early-morning incident at a Bloomington, Ind., bar. His initial assault charge was reduced, but he still served a one-game suspension. His punishment also included being barred from Big Ten Media Day and playing with the second-team defense through training camp.
He clearly missed doing interviews, but he's responded on the field with an interception and three pass breakups in three games. A returning All-American and possible first-round pick in next May's NFL Draft, Roby is a fourth-year junior who had his picture taken with the Buckeyes seniors before the season. He said last winter he came back to school to play for championships and to play in big games like Saturday's vs. Wisconsin, and here comes the first chance for Roby and his teammates to prove they're the Big Ten kings.
"This is the first very big game," Roby said. "There's so much at stake. Anytime you open with a Big Ten game like this, it's going to be big.
"I love night games. It's electrifying out there. Prime time, ABC ... why not? Let's have fun. With night games, people have all day to get drunk and stuff like that. So, it's going to be crazy."