After it was unclear if he would return after a brutal collision with Wisconsin running back Montee Ball in the fourth quarter, Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier made announced his return in the biggest way possible.
With the Buckeyes leading 14-7 and just over three minutes remaining in the game, Wisconsin had the ball 4th-and-1 from the OSU 2-yard line. We all knew who was getting the football, and Shazier knocked the ball out of Montee Ball’s hands and Christian Bryant recovered, giving the Buckeyes possession and the ability to hold on and get a 14-7 victory in Madison.
Far from it. The Badgers got the ball back and drove 41 yards in 1:25 and quarterback Curt Phillips found Jacob Pederson for a 5-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14 and send it to overtime.
In overtime, the Buckeyes scored first on just four plays as Carlos Hyde carried the ball in from two yards out.
Wisconsin’s possession ended on an incomplete pass on fourth down as Christian Bryant broke up a pass, giving the Buckeyes the 21-14 victory.
The Buckeyes led the Badgers 14-7 at halftime. After getting down 14-0, Wisconsin was able to respond with an eight play, 82-yard drive to pull within a touchdown heading into the intermission.
Statistically, the Badgers somewhat dominated in the first half–and the game. It was no secret Wisconsin wanted to run the ball, and the Badgers totaled 140 yards on the ground in that first half, 206 for the game.
Several things stood out from the game, both good and bad.
1. Philly Brown’s growth is somewhat astounding. I wasn’t expecting much of anything from Brown at the beginning of the season, but he’s really blossomed into a nice player. His 68-yard punt return for a touchdown to open the scoring was a thing of beauty.
2. The offensive line’s play is really fun to watch. This has to be the best group that OSU has had in recent memory. Some of it may be that Jim Bollman is no longer the coach, but I really enjoy watching these guys pave the way for Braxton and company.
3. John Simon was named as a Lott semifinalist earlier this week–an award given to the nation’s top defensive player. He played like it today, recording four sacks.
4. Carlos Hyde continues to impress me. He didn’t get the ball nearly enough, but he finished with 87 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns.
1. The play-calling today was atrocious. No creativity whatsoever and the offensive game plan was extremely predictable. Not very Urban Meyer-like at all.
2. I hit on this earlier, but the run defense was less than stellar today. Ohio State was second in the Big Ten in rushing defense coming into today’s game, but the Buckeyes gave up 206 yards on the ground. Granted, Montee Ball is one of the best backs in the country, but that is just not good enough.
3. Braxton Miller didn’t play his best game today. He was just 10 for 18 passing for 97 yards and was held to just 48 yards on 23 carries. He needs to learn to throw the football away, though. With that said, he’s still one of the top quarterbacks in the country and I’m glad he’s a Buckeye.
We all got what we wanted, though. Ohio State is 11-0 heading into “The Game” next Saturday.
It’s going to be epic.