1. It started off a lot like 2010, it ended up a lot like 2012, and there was an unhealthy dose of 2013 thrown into the mix. Anyone who thought that this was going to be a redux of 2014 was disabused of that notion about two minutes into the game. Here, let me explain:
2. In the 2010 contest between Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Badgers opened up a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter and never looked back en route to a 31-18 upset victory over the #1 Buckeyes. This year the early script was much the same, with the Badgers scoring a touchdown with 6:17 left in the first quarter to take a 10-0 lead over the #2 ranked Buckeyes. At that point, the Badgers had run 12 plays for 147 yards (12.25 average) and 10 points, while the listless Buckeyes had run 10 plays for 22 yards (2.2 average) and zero points.
3. The Buckeyes were on the verge of a 2010-style blowout, but the offense rebounded with a much-needed scoring drive (11 plays, 67 yards for a field goal), and the defense stiffened somewhat before the half, allowing 30 plays for 156 yards (a still unacceptable 5.2 average) and 6 points on a pair of short field goals (32 yards, 22 yards). The offense was able to add another field goal to make the score 16-6 at the half, which was quite a difference from the last time the two teams met: In the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game, Ohio State led 38-0 at halftime and eventually won the game by the score of 59-0, the largest margin of victory in the series (tied with 1979, also a 59-0 rout by Ohio State).
4. In the third quarter, the Buckeye defense held Wisconsin to 11 plays for 11 yards, an interception, and no points. Meanwhile, the offense got into gear, scoring touchdowns late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter to build a 20-16 lead. Then the defense fell asleep once again, allowing an 11-play, 81-yard drive that was highlighted by a 36-yard pass completion on third-and-9 from Wisconsin's own 20-yard line.
5. The Buckeye offense responded with a field goal to tie the score at 23 with 3:57 left in regulation and the defense forced a punt in the final minute, and just like 2012 the teams were headed to overtime. And just 2012, the Buckeyes got the ball first and scored a touchdown to take a 7-point lead. And just like 2012, the Buckeye defense forced a turnover on downs to secure the victory for the good guys.
6. Here's where 2013 fits into the equation. In the 2013 contest between the two teams, Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis had the game of his career, with 10 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown. Although Abbrederis had a fine season in 2013 (78 receptions, 1,081 yards, 7 TDs), his production against Ohio State represented 12.8% of his receptions, 19.1% of his yards, and 14.3% of his touchdowns for the season.
Entering last night's game, Wisconsin wide receiver Jazz Peavy had 335 yards from scrimmage, for an average of 67.0 yards per game. Against Ohio State, Peavy more than doubled his average with 146 yards from scrimmage. Peavy had several big plays including a 24-yard touchdown reception on the Badgers' second drive of the game; a 36-yard reception to save the Badgers' final touchdown drive; and a 28-yard run.
7. Wisconsin running back Corey Clement had 25 carries for 164 yards for an average of 6.6 yards per carry. Clement gained 68 of his yards came on one play, meaning that his other 24 carries netted just 96 yards, for a modest average of 4.0 yards per carry.
8. Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli had 7 catches for 84 yards, including season-long receptions of 28 and 30 yards. Fumagalli entered the game averaging 3 receptions and 36 yards per game.
9. Buckeye running back Mike Weber is starting to play like a freshman. Last night he had 11 carries for 46 yards (4.2 average), no touchdowns, and one really dumb holding penalty far behind the action that negated a 25-yard run by Curtis Samuel. On the positive side of the ledger, Weber did convert a pair of fourth-and-ones on the Buckeyes' first touchdown drive.
10. After four games, Weber had 68 carries for 495 yards, for averages of 7.3 yards per carry and 123.8 yards per game. After subpar performances against Indiana in week five (15 carries, 71 yards) and Wisconsin in week six (11 carries, 46 yards), Weber now has 94 carries for 612 yards, for averages of 6.5 yards per carry and 102.0 yards per game.
11. Quarterback J.T. Barrett had 318 yards of total offense last night (92 rushing, 226 passing), which gives him 7,087 total yards for his career. With that effort, Barrett moved past Troy Smith (6,888 total yards) and into fourth place in Buckeye history. Barrett still trails Bobby Hoying (7,151 total yards), Braxton Miller (8,609 total yards), and Art Schlichter (8,850 total yards).
12. Barrett had three total touchdowns last night (2 rushing, 1 passing) to give him 89 for his career, which is a new Buckeye record (breaking Braxton Miller's total of 88).
13. H-back Dontre Wilson had 54 all-purpose yards last night, giving him 2,750 for his career. With that effort, Wilson moved from 28th place to 27th place on the Buckeyes' list of career leaders, surpassing Robert Smith. Wilson's 43-yard reception against Wisconsin was his longest play from scrimmage during his Buckeye career.
14. H-back Curtis Samuel had a relatively poor showing, with 12 rushes for 46 yards (3.8 average) and 6 receptions for 58 yards (9.7 average) and no touchdowns. He did manage to haul in a 25-yard reception, which gives him 12 plays from scrimmage of 20+ yards (5 rushes, 7 receptions) on the season.
15. After catching just 3 passes for 31 yards and no touchdowns in his past two games, wide receiver Noah Brown had 4 receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown against Wisconsin. For the season, Brown now has 16 receptions for 213 yards (13.3 average) and 6 touchdowns.
16. All three of the Buckeyes' touchdowns drives began in Wisconsin territory: 47 yards after a short punt; 38 yards after an interception; and 25 yards in overtime.
17. Despite dire pre-game predictions, weather was not a factor except for literally two minutes of action. The height of the downpour hit during the middle of the third quarter, more specifically when the Buckeyes were driving deep into Badger territory. On 2nd-and-9 from the Wisconsin 13-yard line, J.T. Barrett dropped back to pass and the wet ball slipped coming out of his hand. Unfortunately, Barrett's duck didn't take to water and the ball sailed over the head of Buckeye receiver James Clark and into the hands of Badger defensive back D'Cota Dixon in the end zone for a touchback. The rain stopped shortly thereafter and did not affect the rest of the game.
18. The official rules of the Big Ten require "indisputable video evidence" of error in order to overturn the results of a play. In practice, the Big Ten replay officials will overturn a call if there is even a shred of video evidence of error, especially if the call on the field favors Ohio State. In last night's game, Buckeye cornerback Gareon Conley lost an interception when the replay officials apparently found some phantom image to support the position that Conley dropped the ball (he did not) and they overturned the play. The call did not have much of an impact on the outcome of the game, but it certainly could have as the play occurred with under a minute left in regulation. Why have replay at all when the replay officials get things wrong more often than the officials on the field?
19. The Buckeyes came into the Wisconsin game averaging 537.6 yards and 53.2 points per game on offense. Against one of the nation's top defenses (4th scoring, 11th total), the Buckeyes put up respectable numbers: 30 points (7 in OT) and 411 yards (25 in OT).
20. On the other hand, the Buckeyes' top-5 defense had troubles containing one of the nation's worst offenses. The Badgers entered the game gaining just 360.2 yards (106th in FBS) and 26.0 points (88th), and the Buckeyes entered the game surrendering just 246.4 yards (4th) and 10.8 points (2nd). Relying on a number of big plays (runs of 20, 28, 68; passes of 24, 28, 30, 36), the Badgers put up 450 yards of offense (10 in OT), which was 90 more yards than their average and over 200 yards more than the Buckeyes had previously allowed on average.
21. With the win, the Buckeyes have now won 20 straight games on the road. Urban Meyer improved his record at Ohio State to 56-4 overall (.933 winning percentage), and 35-2 in Big Ten play (.946 winning percentage).
22. Ohio State has now won five in a row over Wisconsin (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 CCG, and 2016) and owns a record of 58-18-5 (.747 winning percentage) in the series.
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