The No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) were no match for arguably the nation’s No. 1 overall team on Saturday, losing 38–7 to No. 3 The Ohio State University (8-0, 5-0) in Columbus, Ohio.
The score tells the story of the game, as the Badgers were dominated in the second half and now find themselves two games behind No. 13 Minnesota (8-0, 5-0) in the Big Ten West.
I gave three keys to a Badger victory on Thursday: They needed to dominate time of possession, Jack Coan had to have the game of his life and the team needed to contain J.K. Dobbins and Justin Fields on the ground.
Head Coach Paul Chryst’s team was able to accomplish none of them, as OSU won the time of possession battle by three minutes, Coan played well but was under pressure on every play and Dobbins and Fields combined for 191 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns.
Football: Ohio State rolls over Wisconsin in Columbus, ruins Badgers’ hopes for CFPThe University of Wisconsin men’s football team (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) lost to The Ohio State University Buckeyes (8-0, 5-0) Read…
Here are four takeaways from the Buckeyes’ dismantling of the Badgers on Saturday.
First, The Ohio State University was too fast, too athletic and too dynamic for the Badgers.
The Badgers pride themselves on being able to compete with more talented teams due to their style of play and overall execution. On Saturday, however, the talent disparity between the two teams on the field was apparent, and from the speed of the Buckeyes’ wide receivers and secondary, to the talent on their defensive line, this game was a clear mismatch from start to finish.
OSU finished the contest with 24 first downs compared to nine for the Badgers, 264 rush yards compared to the Badgers’ 83, 431 total yards compared to 191 from the Badgers and two fewer turnovers than Chryst’s team.
The second takeaway from Saturday is Dobbins and Fields’ work on the ground helped the Buckeyes take over the game in the third and fourth quarters.
Dobbins finished the game with 163 yards, 8.2 yards-per-carry and two touchdowns, while Fields finished with 28 yards on the ground, one rushing touchdown and what seemed like 15 broken sacks as he scrambled around in the backfield.
The Badgers were in the game until Dobbins started picking up chunk plays in the third quarter. But even when they were in the game, the running threat of the two stars moved the linebackers on every play and opened up space for the rest of their offense.
The third takeaway from Saturday is the dominance of the nation’s best player — defensive linemen Chase Young — and Chryst’s peculiar methods to try to stop him.
Many agree that Young is the best player in the country and the statistics back it up. Through eight games Young has recorded 13.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and 29 total tackles.
On Saturday, his dominance was on full display. Young finished Saturday with four sacks, five tackles for loss, six total tackles and countless moments where he was in the backfield disrupting the Badgers flow on offense.
What was astounding about Young’s performance is how Chryst tried to stop him, and whether Chryst realized Young was lining up across from his line.
Through the course of the game, Chryst had his left tackle try to block Young one-on-one. There were also several plays where nobody laid a finger on Young, and Chryst even had tight end Jake Ferguson try to block Young, a matchup that was ridiculed by analysts and fans alike. To say none of these strategies worked would be an understatement, as Young ran right through anything Chryst and the Badger offense threw at him.
The final takeaway from Saturday, partly due to Young’s dominance, is the offense’s inability to move the ball, something that hurt the defense immensely and let the game get out of reach in the third quarter.
As noted above, the Badgers lost the time of possession battle and finished the game with only 83 rushing yards and 191 total yards.
It is obvious that these numbers are a letdown for Chryst’s unit. The team failing to score on the Buckeyes’ great defense obviously hurt the team’s chances of winning, but what the stagnant offense also did was hang the defense out to dry.
Playing more than 31 minutes on defense against the nation’s best and most dynamic offense is a great recipe for getting embarrassed and on Saturday, that is exactly what happened.
The Badgers are back in action Nov. 9 after a bye week at home against the Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-2), a game which has major implications for the Big Ten West standings.