This just in…
THE Ohio State University Buckeyes are every bit as good as advertised.
With QB Braxton Miller back at the helm, they held serve at home and bested a very good and surprisingly balanced Wisconsin team in Columbus on Saturday night.
Miller threw for three touchdowns in the first half (four on the night) and his Buckeyes moved to 5-0 (1-0) on the year with a 31-24 win over the Badgers.
Wisconsin falls to 3-2 and 1-1 in the conference.
Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer executed a simple game plan.
Stop Wisconsin’s ground game.
Meyer dared the Badgers to beat his team through the air.
And Wisconsin nearly did just that.
You would have thought that Bucky would have used his formidable running attack to keep pace with the No. 4 ranked Buckeyes.
But you would be wrong.
It was quarterback Joel Stave and pet target Jared Abbrederis that provided the wild card in this classic battle between two Big Ten behemoths.
Yes, he went to Jared.
Over and over and over again.
While OSU was concentrating on stopping James White and Melvin Gordon, Stave was looking for and finding Abbrederis for long gainers and a touchdown.
Abbrederis had 10 catches for 207 yards on the night, both career highs.
Stave threw for a total of 295 yards, the most in his career.
The lone misstep by the young quarterback made the hole just too deep to climb out of.
With Chris Borland seemingly on every tackle, the stout Wisconsin ‘D’ stopped the Buckeyes on a fourth and one.
There was 6:15 left in the third quarter and Wisconsin was trailing, 24-14.
Stave threw an interception to Bradley Roby, giving the ball right back to Ohio State.
Miller wasted no time in padding his lead, driving the final 30+ yards for a score.
He hit Corey Brown for a second time and a 31-14 lead with 2:18 left in the third quarter.
True freshman Sojourn Shelton had nearly picked off Miller on the previous play.
The Badgers did make some noise, however, scoring 10 unanswered in the fourth quarter.
A 28-yard run by White and a Kyle French field goal did manage to make it interesting.
The ensuing onside kick nearly succeeded, but Ohio State was able to maintain possession and chew enough of the remaining time to hold on to the victory.
A last minute drive with no timeouts and some questionable time management failed to rattle Meyer’s charges.
The Buckeyes are now 17-0 in the Meyer Era.
They would’ve been the Leaders Division champs had it not been for NCAA sanctions.
That allowed the Badgers to take the division by default and ultimately won a third straight conference crown.
The loss in Ohio puts a huge dent in the Badgers’ chances to win a fourth.
“It was a game of swings…a game of big plays,” Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said after the loss.
“That’s giving Ohio State credit for make the big plays when they had the opportunity.
“If you want to be a great team, you have to make those special plays and special moments,” Andersen said.
The Badgers have an open week in their schedule next Saturday.
They return to action on Saturday, October 12, at Camp Randall Stadium when the Northwestern Wildcats come to town.
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