Upon Further Review: Badgers not in same league as Ohio State
Wisconsin and Ohio State both play in the Big Ten, but as was proven again Saturday the two teams aren’t in the same league.
The Badgers held tight with the Buckeyes in the early part of the game, but in the end talent won out and Wisconsin was on the end of a 38-7 drubbing in Columbus.
The games have been (mostly) closer than this one in recent years, but this was Wisconsin’s seventh straight loss to Ohio State, the last win coming at Camp Randall Stadium in 2010. The Badgers haven’t beaten the Buckeyes on the road (or on a neutral field) since 2004, a string of five straight defeats in Columbus.
Of course, that Ohio State team went 7-4 in the regular season. This edition is much better and ranked No. 3 for a reason.
Wisconsin could barely open holes for running back Jonathan Taylor, who finished with 52 yards on 20 carries (2.6 average) and had his streak of eight straight games with a touchdown ended. Overall the Badgers had just 83 yards rushing on 34 attempts.
Jack Coan was under pressure all game, mainly from Chase Young (four sacks, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles) and completed 10 of 17 passes for 108 yards.
All that being said, Wisconsin was down just three points with roughly 9 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. But Ohio State’s offense started clicking as the Badgers defense in conjunction perhaps got a bit worn down.
The Buckeyes had nine of their 15 chunk plays (runs of 10+ yards, receptions of 15+ yards) in the second half. Running back J.K. Dobbins had nine of those and finished with 219 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns which helped put the game away.
If Wisconsin can run the table (and Minnesota also loses at least once), the Badgers could face Ohio State again in the Big Ten championship game. We’re not sure that’s good news. But then again, after the last two weeks, we’re also not sure what to expect from Wisconsin in its final four regular-season games.
At least the Badgers are off next week. It’s a good time for a respite.
Here's a recap of Saturday’s game:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
In a game like this, it’s hard to single out a player who stood out. But Wisconsin did play Ohio State closely in the first half and that was thanks to the defense. Linebacker Noah Burks finished with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss (one sack and two TFL occurring in the first half) and eight tackles overall, third highest on the team.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT ME
Wisconsin debuted a wildcat with Aron Cruickshank in the first quarter and on the first play it worked for a gain of 27. That would turn out to be the Badgers’ longest run of the day and it would have been the longest overall play if not for a 35-yard reception by Quintez Cephus early in the fourth quarter.
Cruickshank also continues to look better as a kick returner and retuned one for 28 yards in this one.
On Ohio State’s first possession of the second half, Burks and Isaiah Loudermilk combined to sack Ohio State quarterback Josh Fields on a third-and-6 play. Punting from their own 17, the Buckeyes had the ensuing punt deflected by Alexander Smith, who came in from the left side and just got a finger on the just-kicked ball, causing it to travel just 13 yards. Taking over at the 30, Wisconsin ran three plays before scoring on a third-and-6 pass from Jack Coan to A.J. Taylor to trim Ohio State’s lead to 10-7. In the moment, Smith’s deflection was huge – allowing Wisconsin to have good field position and get to within three points. Of course, Ohio State would score on its next possession and proceed to run away with the gane, but for a fleeting moment the Badgers had what appeared to be a potential game changer.
How lethargic was Wisconsin’s offense? The Badgers had only 191 total yards, the first time they’ve been held under 200 yards in a game since a 14-7 loss at Michigan on Nov. 1, 2016. Wisconsin ran just 51 plays – 21 fewer than Ohio State – and had just five chunk plays (9.8%; Ohio State had 20.8%). The Badgers also were held under 100 yards rushing for the first time since the 2017 Big Ten championship game … against Ohio State. Here’s one more number: 2022. That’s the next time Wisconsin will face the Buckeyes in the regular season.
THEY SAID IT
“Good teams can find a way to take that momentum back and they did just that.” – head coach Paul Chryst on Ohio State scoring on its next possession after Wisconsin cut the lead to 10-7
“What makes it tough is they have all those players around him, so you can't put all your attention on him. But you try to have protections to give whoever's with him, on him, responsible for him some form of help. A couple of time we had it and were successful ... and other times they can force it where he still ends up being one-on-one. ... I think if you look back at it, he was most effective when he was on that edge.” – Chryst on Ohio State’s Chase Young
"I think a lot of our guys are looking forward to playing these guys again." -- tight end Jake Ferguson, referring to a potential meeting in the Big Ten title game
"They have really good players, good coaches. And then when our offense can’t stay on the field as long as usual, we’re on the field longer, obviously that gets exhausting." -- linebacker Zack Baun
"It's November football coming up. That's championship football. We still have pretty much all of our opponents from the West left, and one of our goals is to win the West, so we're going to come through this bye week ... and try to do that." -- linebacker Chris Orr
Wisconsin has a week off to lick its wounds before having to face another ranked team – Iowa, which also won’t play next Saturday – but this one will be back in Camp Randall Stadium. The Hawkeyes are also 6-2, but the wins haven’t exactly been a murderer’s row (Miami (Ohio), Rutgers, Purdue and Northwestern along with a good one over Iowa State) with losses to Michigan and Penn State, but even so the Hawkeyes have yet to allow more than 20 points in a game this season. Senior quarterback Nate Stanley, a Wisconsin native, has never beaten the Badgers.