Game of the Week — Week 9
A dominant run game, a two-point lead, and College Football Playoff hopes were all undermined by a terrible play call and a clutch field goal in one of the biggest upsets of the year. A week after falling to unranked Illinois, who were 31 point underdogs, the Wisconsin Badgers will travel to Columbus, OH to take on the red-hot Ohio State Buckeyes. #13 Wisconsin’s need for a win to stay competitive in the Big Ten West will make this an interesting match, as #3 Ohio State is looking to run the table and be assured a spot in the CFP.
Wisconsin has one clear advantage in this game: Jonathan Taylor. The Heisman candidate has accrued 957 rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns this year, opening up the passing game and leading the Badgers to a 6-1 record. More importantly, though, this ground attack has led to a lopsided time of possession, wearing down opposing defenses as Wisconsin has held the ball for nearly twice as long as their opponents this year. On the opposite side of the ball, senior LB Chris Orr has led the defensive approach, recording 38 tackles and 8 sacks as Wisconsin has shut out two opponents this season. Dominating the time of possession will be the key to Wisconsin’s success this Saturday.
Ohio State QB Justin Fields has been excellent this season, passing for 1492 yards, scoring 30 total touchdowns, and leading the way for Ohio State’s CFP case as well as keeping his name at the forefront of the Heisman race. His 22:1 ratio of passing touchdowns to interceptions leads the nation and has led the Buckeye offense to average 49.7 points per game, which is third in the nation. The Ohio State defense has also been immaculate this season. Led by junior DE Chase Young, whose 9.5 sacks is third in the nation, the Ohio State defense has limited opponents to an average of 8 points per game. If the Buckeyes can contain the Badger run game and continue their offensive dominance, it’s going to be a long day for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin and Ohio State are ranked first and second in both points allowed and yards allowed, respectively. These stellar defenses have done well all year against their Big Ten opponents; it remains to be seen, however, if they can keep it up against the nation’s elite. The game will take place at noon on Saturday and will air on FOX. Tune in to see how the Heisman candidates perform against tough competition.