Ohio State has been excellent this season behind a dominant defense, and that defense led them to an early season road win at Notre Dame. Wisconsin is also a good defensive team under first-year head coach Luke Fickell. Can the Badgers pull off the upset on Saturday?
Ohio State is having trouble running the ball effectively.
As injuries continue to hamper Ohio State, opponents are daring McCord and the passing game to move the chains. With an outstanding offensive line supporting him, Ohio State should be able to push ahead quickly; unfortunately, it just hasn’t.
But this defense certainly isn’t at the level it has been over the past several seasons – after two difficult days against Iowa and Illinois’ running games, which both featured large runs. Still, Wisconsin should have enough defense to hold off most opponents but not enough to hold off Ohio State.
Ohio State has an incredible run defense, so Wisconsin must run aggressively to control the clock and wear down their front four. Wisconsin ran 35 or more carries in each win but couldn’t reach 30 during two losses.
Defense, Defense and more Defense.
Ohio State’s 20-12 win over Penn State may have been marked by plenty of criticism the Nittany Lions offense, but much credit should also go to the Ohio State D – especially their impressive defensive performance, which ranked fifth nationally for total defense, third for scoring defense and second in pass efficiency defense – making Ohio State look like they had 13 players on the field, particularly their secondary units.
Wisconsin’s offense has not exactly been on fire.
Luke Fickell’s new style has yet to produce results under his watch, failing to create anything consistent that works well. We all remember and loved the Badger running team from years past; now, all parts needed for an inefficient passing attack are also missing.
Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord has done enough to be considered successful thus far, partially because Marvin Harrison Jr. stands as one of the best wideouts in the country and Wisconsin hasn’t proven itself against opponents with competent offenses.
Luke Fickell will be center stage as former Buckeye and one-year transition coach from Tressel to Urban.
But then Ohio State’s defense will once more steal the show.
The Badgers should keep Harrison Jr. under wraps for at least the first 20 minutes of this game before McCord hits some throws to give his team a halftime lead and prevent Wisconsin from scoring in the second half. The Buckeyes pull away and win 31-13.
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