The Buckeyes came out firing! On Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde’s first drive together this season, Ohio State drove 55 yards in under 70 seconds to go up 7-0 on the Wisconsin Badgers. The drive was stamped for approval with a Miller 25 yard touchdown to Evan Spencer. On the following drive, the Buckeye defense came out with extreme passion, led by Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby, and forced a three-and-out. After the Buckeyes were forced to punt, the OSU defensive passion seemed to be sapped as Joel Stave drove the Badger’s offense downfield and connected with Jared Abbrederis on a 37 yard touchdown over Roby, who really struggled on the drive. But the Buckeye’s offense sure didn’t take long to answer, with Braxton pushing the pace and running the offense to perfection en route to a 26 yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith. The drive lasted just over three minutes and totaled 78 yards. The pass to Smith was perfectly placed, as was the Spencer touchdown, helping solve any doubt about whether he should be the game’s starter. On the ensuing drive, the Buckeye defense continued to look deflated, with Abbrederis taking a simple crossing route 64 yards on the opening play to put the Badgers on the 13 yard line to close out the first quarter.
The defense, Roby in particular, seemed to wake up in the second quarter as they held that opening drive from getting in the endzone and then lucked out when Wisconsin kicker Kyle French’s field goal pulled left. Neither team provided much offense until the Buckeyes were able to drive twenty yards into field goal range as Drew Basil connected on a 45 yard field goal with 4:32 to go. The three-pointer put the Buckeyes up 17-7. On the ensuing drive, Stave connected with Abbrederis on a big 33 yard completion to put the Badgers in scoring position. The connection was over Roby again, who has really struggled thus far. Two plays later, Stave connected with Badger tight end Sam Arneson for an eleven yard touchdown to make it 17-14. Just when it seemed like the Buckeyes would go into the half deflated with the close score, Miller drove the team down the field in the last 1:30 and connected with Philly Brown on a 40 yard touchdown to give OSU huge momentum going into the second half. The play was the very last of the half and came on a 4th and 7.
Contrary to what most analysts expected, the Wisconsin offense has thrived off of the passing game. With one of the top rushing offenses in college, the secondary has been caught off guard by the big plays to Abbrederis and the sharp passes from Stave. On offense, Hyde has run angrily and with a passion, a huge component that will prove crucial later in the game when the defenses get tired. Miller has also thrown the game quite crisply, answering any questions on his passing ability after watching Kenny Guiton’s mastery the last three weeks. Guiton has yet to make an appearance in the game, so it will be interesting to see if he makes any impact in the second half. Stick with scarletandgame.com for game updates and analysis during and after the clash!