Buckeye fans might want to check their heart beat after that thrilling performance in what is arguably the best all around game of the season from this Ohio State team. The offense was able to put some things together to keep it a ballgame. The defense was better than ever, keeping Russell Wilson at bay and the running attack to 89 yards on the day. There aren’t many wins that will feel better than this. Redemption is so bitter sweet.
Here is a breakdown of tonight’s 33-29 win over those stinkin’ Badgers.
Wisconsin got a crack on offense first and got things rolling in the passing game. No, this team doesn’t just offer the same old knock your teeth out rushing attack between the tackles on offense.
After a beautiful play-action pass on the first play of the game from Russell Wilson to Jared Abbederis for a gain of 18 yards, the Buckeye defense settled in and got the ball back on after collapsing the pocket and forcing Wilson to run on third down.
The Buckeyes would take over, but after a Boom Herron misdirection to the middle of the field for ten yards and a big play-action pass attempt from Braxton Miller to a streaking Corey Brown was incomplete down the sidelines, the Scarlet Assasins would give the ball back to Wisconsin for their second drive of the ballgame.
That’s when we saw our first look of this dynamic Wisconsin offense coming together. After two solid passes out in the flat to fullback Bradie Ewing, the former NC State quarterback found Montee Ball open in the middle of the field. The running back scored his NCAA leading 20th touchdown from 22 yards out. The Badgers would march 69 yards in just a bit more than 3 minutes, giving them the lead 7-0.
The Buckeyes would respond by getting freshman quarterback Braxton Miller in the running game. After getting the first down on a beautiful designed run in the middle of the field on third down and long, the running game would struggle on the delayed draw. Boom Herron was dropped for loss twice leading to third down and 12. Miller would connect on a pass to Philly Brown past the first down marker — streaking to the right sideline and drag his feet down before going out of bounds. On the ensuing third down, Jake Stoneburner would lose handle of the football before maintaining control.
After the punt, the Buckeyes would hold Wisconsin to three and out on a beautiful formed tackle from CJ Barnett on third and one, keeping Montee Ball in his shoes and down at the line of scrimmage.
Heading into the second, it looked like the Ohio State offense had some momentum and the Buckeye defense was a bit more physical than the Badgers. After two straight first downs, to start the quarter, The buckeyes would pin the Badgers deep in their own territory. Another 3rd and out gave the Buckeyes the football with 8:41 seconds remaining in the half.
Finally, after a sustained rushing attack, including Braxton Miller’s legs saving the drive on third and ten from the 42. His 14 yard run would put the Buckeyes in Field Goal position. After an 8 yard pass to Jordan Hall got to the Badger 22, Drew Basil put up a 39 field goal that clanked off the post and in to make it 7-3 with 2:55 remaining in the half.
The Buckeyes D would get to Russell Wilson on the ensuing drive, Wisconsin would get near mid field, but after John Simon got his 4th sack of the year on third down, the Badgers were forced to punt with 1:06 remaining in the first half.
After losing the handle on it, Jordan Hall dove on the football on the return to prevent a turnover in their own territory. The Buckeyes would head into the half down 4.
When things opened in the third quarter, fans of both of these teams were introduced to the best running back in the Big Ten.
After a return by Jordan Hall up to the 25, Boom Herron got free on a 57 yard scamper on the first play from the line of scrimmage. He would follow that up with a 18 yard run to get Ohio State on the goal line. Braxton Miller would cap off the 2 minute rushing drive on 4th down and goal from the one, with a beautiful move that broke ankles up front, and allowed him to jog into the endzone to give Ohio State the 10-7 lead out of the gates.
The defense continued it’s hungry pursuit of the Wisconsin offense forcing a punt deep in their territory. Buckeye fans then said hello to freshman linebacker Ryan Shazier, who blocked the punt off the edge, as fellow freshman linebacker Curtis Grant recovered the football sliding into the goal line. Jordan Hall would find some room to run and score from 2 yards out, making it 17-7.
But with big plays on special teams came unexcusable mistakes.
After a solid defensive stand just after taking the lead, Jordan Hall mishandled the football on the punt return for the second time tonight. After regaining the fumble earlier in the game, Hall would let this ball slip through his legs and into the hands of Jon Budmayr.
Wisconsin would take over on the Ohio State 27, move the football without issue as Russell Wilson hit Jared Abbrederis for a 12 yard first down putting the Badgers inside the ten yard line. Russell Wilson would rush for 8 yards up to the goal line, to set up Montee Ball’s 22nd touchdown, as he walked in untouched to make it 17-14.
Despite dominating teams in the third quarter all season long by a tune of 80-7, it was Ohio State outscoring them 14-7 and going into the final quarter with a three point lead.
And when the defense exploded.
After a huge sack and Intentional Grounding call, the Badgers were forced to punt from the back of their end zone.
The Scarlet Assasins would use the solid field position to their advantage. Taking over at the 34, Boom Herron got on his horse yet again, carrying the football 28 yards and setting up a 22 yard Drew Basil field goal, giving the Buckeyes a 20-14 lead with 10:39 to play.
The Silver Bullets would then go out in a packed Ohio Stadium and play shut down defense. After forcing the ball out the hands of Nick Toon, the defense set up 4th and 2 at the OSU 38. Bielema and company went for it on a pitch to the left side, which was instantly sniffed out by the Ohio State defense. The scarlet and grey continued their defensive pressure, containing the running game better than anyone this season against the Badgers.
With 8 minutes remaining, the Buckeye offense would take over from their own 37, looking to make it a two score game. After getting into Wisconsin territory, Braxton Miller would get loose on the Option keeper off the edge, making it look easy, and adding six more points on the board. After the 44 yard touchdown run and failed two point conversion, Ohio State had the 26-14 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
Of course, the Badgers wouldn’t lay down with their Big Ten hopes on the line.
Ohio State fans cringed as memories of Nebraska flashed in their head, as Wisconsin got things
rolling right away after the Ohio State touchdown. Montee Ball took the ball up to the Ohio State 17 after a 40 yard run, setting up back to back bang bang plays as Russell Wilson found Jared Abbrederis on a 17 yard down the middle of the field as he beat Vincent Petrella in zone coverage in the middle of the end zone, as Wilson faded it over the defenders head and into the hands of Wisconsin’s offensive MVP this Saturday.
After taking only :51 sceonds off the clock, The Badger defense got the ball back for Wilson and company. With 1:30 left in the game, It was the Wilson/Abbrederis connection hitting for 49 yards as the receiver was open on the right sideline and walked his way in for the go ahead score. After the two point conversion was good, the Badgers were up by three with 1:18 to go. It looked like this one was in the books.
Until Braxton Miller had the one moment of the season that launched him into Ohio State history.
With time winding down, the Buckeyes broke no huddle in a bit of confusion. Miller set up in the shotgun formation with two backs in the Backfield and three receivers lined up — two bunched to the left. The Badger front flushed Miller out of the pocket to the left side near the sidelines. With pressure, Miller made a throw from his back foot up in the air near the line of scrimmage to the middle of the field, where Devin Smith made the catch at the back of the end zone for a 40 yard strike with :20 seconds to go. After further review and the extra point, The Buckeyes led 29-27.
After the Drew Basil’s kick went out of bounds, the Buckeyes shut things down on the last defensive front. A beautiful sight from Ohio Stadium — a back and forth ball game coming down to one big time play from two freshman.
Man it feels good to be a Buckeye tonight.