Saturday night’s matchup between then-No. 8 University of Wisconsin and No. 2 Ohio State University was a thriller that ended in a Buckeye victory, 30-23.

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The Badgers jumped on the Buckeyes right away with a quick defensive stop followed by an eight-play, 52-yard drive down to OSU’s 28-yard line, where backup kicker Andrew Endicott put the Badgers on the board first with a 46-yard field goal.

Wisconsin knew field goals wouldn’t be enough to knock off a powerhouse team like Ohio State, who averaged 53.2 points and over 500 yards of offense per game this season before heading to Madison.

An elite team led by J.T. Barrett, a Heisman Trophy candidate, would prove to be the toughest test of the year for Wisconsin’s defense, but the Badgers came prepared for the challenge.

The tenacious defense for the Badgers held the explosive, no-huddle, Buckeye offense to another quick stop to give the ball back to the Badger offense on their own five-yard line following a penalty.

The Badgers wouldn’t be off the field for too long as the offense woke up. The following play saw UW senior running back Corey Clement bust through a stacked box for the team’s longest run of the year (68 yards) down to Ohio State’s 27-yard line. Three plays later, freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook would find a wide open Jazz Peavy over the middle for a 24-yard touchdown, bringing the Badgers’ lead to 10 as Camp Randall erupted.

The Ohio State offense would respond with two unanswered field goals, but these would not slow the Badger offense led by the rushing attack of Corey Clement and Jazz Peavy.

Clement and Peavy marched the Badgers down the field for two unanswered field goals of their own after giving Wisconsin 170 yards on the ground and a 16-6 lead over the No. 2 Buckeyes going into the half.

“That was just how the game was going, coach let me know we’re going to ride the hot horse, we did that til’ they stopped it,” junior wide receiver Jazz Peavy said.

The Badgers looked poised to continue their success in the second half, but as any team previously led by OSU head coach Urban Meyer would, the Buckeyes would come out of the locker room hungry for the end zone.

The Ohio State defense stalled the Badgers on their first two drives and took over the on offense starting from Wisconsin’s own 47-yard line after a short punt by sophomore P.J. Rosowski.

The Buckeyes would convert on two key 4th & 1’s, through two hard rushes by OSU redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber to set up an eventual one-yard touchdown run by Barrett.

The Heisman hopeful would come alive in the second half, scoring on the ground for the second time after a Hornibrook interception in Badgers territory. The touchdown gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the game at 20-16 and also tied Barrett with Braxton Miller for most touchdowns responsible for in Ohio State’s history with 89.

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“Yeah give J.T. all the credit in the world he’s a phenomenal player, he’s shifty, he’s obviously slippery as all get out, you just could not get him down” Wisconsin junior outside linebacker T.J. Watt said postgame.

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The Badgers were down, but they weren’t out. Feeding the speedy Jazz Peavy through the air and Clement on the ground, the Badgers soon marched their way down to the Buckeyes’ 16-yard line, where they faced another 3rd & 3 pickle in the red zone.

Hornibrook then completed a four-yard shuffle pass to junior tight end Troy Fumagalli, giving Wisconsin a first down from Ohio’s own 12. Three plays later, junior full back Austin Ramesh scored the go-ahead touchdown from four yards out.

The Buckeyes would respond by driving deep into Badger territory. The Wisconsin defense held Ohio State to a field goal, however after Barrett was tripped up by UW senior safety Leo Musso to save a possible game-winning touchdown for the Badgers.

Wisconsin was unable to get into field goal range and regulation time ended 23-23 going into overtime.

OSU wasted no time in extra minutes as the Buckeyes scored a seven-yard touchdown through the air to wide receiver Noah Brown to give Ohio State the lead and place all of the pressure to answer back on Wisconsin.

The Badgers managed to get the ball down to Ohio State’s four-yard line, but they were stuffed on three straight plays before the critical 4th & goal situation. With the game on the line, Hornibrook dropped back to pass with his eyes locked on the end zone, but was denied by the swarming Ohio State defense that sacked a retreating Hornibrook, ended the game and completely silenced Camp Randall.

“We didn’t come into this one hoping to keep it close, hoping to just be out there … I asked the kids on Friday night to put it all out there and they did,” Chryst said.

Wisconsin players had the look of pure heartache and exhaustion as they entered the media room ensuing the defeat.

An obviously drained team acknowledged the difficulty of swallowing a loss like this but stressed the importance of moving on.

“Sometimes you either beat the heavyweight champion or you don’t but you still get back up and learn to fight next week” Clement said.

Following two tough losses against top ten teams, the Badgers look to bounce back next week as they head to Iowa City to take on the University of Iowa Hawkeyes in a classic Big Ten West showdown.

The Hawkeyes are 3-1 in conference play and hold an overall record of 5-2. If Wisconsin hopes to take the West and earn a trip to Indianapolis, it is essential that the Badgers escape with a victory on the road Saturday.