#8/9 Ohio State v. #25 Wisconsin
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Wisconsin is enjoying a great start and come into Columbus with a 5-0 record and a national ranking. Ohio State is steadily rising up the rankings in their quest for a shot at the national title. Both teams are in control of their Big Ten title destiny and a win on Saturday will give some separation to the victor. Ohio State and Wisconsin seem to is always a classic game to watch and with early Big Ten title implications, this one will surely live up to the hype.
Is Terrell Pryor maturing? Sometimes it looks like has finally has it down and other times you see him throwing off his back foot or “shot-putting” the football. He showed some signs of maturation last week but he still has a long way to go. The tough Wisconsin defense lead by sack machine O’Brien Schofield will eat up the offensive line and send Pryor into scramble mode if the line can’t establish itself. Chris Maragos has a nose for the ball and leads the Badgers with three of the team’s eight interceptions this season. Pryor will have to continue to mature and make good decisions or the Badgers will burn him. Running back Brandon Saine looked great last week and Jordan Hall is showing that he belongs on the field. The running game must be effective if OSU is going to win this game. If the Buckeyes can’t keep the chains moving and score in the red zone on the ground they will have to play catch up all day.
Wisconsin has always been a “run first ask questions later” team and running back John Clay seems to fit that mold however quarterback Scott Tolzien is having a spectacular year and could be the decisive piece of the puzzle to put the Badgers on top. Clay is averaging 116 yards per game and is coming off a 184 yard game against Minnesota last week. Tolzien is having a fantastic season for his first full year starting. He is averaging 208 yards per game with 9 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions for the year. The OSU secondary will have to keep their heads on a swivel as Tolzien spreads the ball out nicely to his three favorite receivers, Issac Anderson, Nick Toon and Garrett Graham, who all average more than 50 yards per game. The OSU defense is ranked 10th nationally against the run and will have to rely on it if they have a hope of winning the game on Saturday.
Wisconsin is scoring a lot of points but is also giving up quite a few; 24.6 per game. The Badgers have won 4 of its five games by eight points or less and had to go to double overtime to put Fresno State away, but Wisconsin is no pushover. The Buckeyes and the Badgers always play a nasty physical game and this seasons contest should be no exception. It’ll be a tight game but the Buckeyes will pull this one out in the end.
OSU 23 – Wisconsin 13
Why OSU will win:
The Buckeyes need to create and capitalize on turnovers.
The Buckeyes have to score touchdowns in the red-zone.
Defense must stay stout and be prepared for both a hard hitting ground attack and long passes.
Why OSU will lose:
Badger running back John Clay is 6-1 248 pounds. The Buckeyes haven’t seen a running back like this guy all season.
The flu bug might keep Buckeye lineman Mike Brewster out of the game. This would be a big hit for the running game and Pryor’s safety.
Crazy stat of the game:
Wisconsin has only allowed two sacks so far this season.
Last time they met was…
2008: Terrell Pryor led the Buckeyes to a late fourth quarter touchdown for a 20-17 final.
Wisconsin players to watch:
Junior QB #16 Scott Tolzien
Sophomore RB #32 John Clay
Senior TE #89 Garrett Graham
Sophomore WR #1 Nick Toon
Junior WR #6 Isaac Anderson
Senior DE #50 O’Brien Schofield
Senior S #21 Chris Maragos