College Football Showdown: Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes
The Wisconsin Badgers and Ohio State Buckeyes will face off in a Big Ten matchup that would have been much more interesting a week ago. Wisconsin was ranked sixth in the nation last week until it lost in a huge upset to unranked Illinois on a last-second field goal. Wisconsin is now ranked 13th overall, while Ohio State is sitting at third in the nation.
While Wisconsin may have taken its first loss of the season last week, it is still not a team to be taken lightly and seems to have a roster that can stand toe-to-toe with any of the top teams. The Badgers are now 6-1 and have a true Heisman candidate along with a top-tier defense.
The Badgers’ defense has been stout all year long, allowing an average of just 7.6 points per game along with 193 total yards per game. They have posted four shutouts already this season, and the 24 points they gave up to Illinois were the most they allowed in a single game this season.
Without a doubt, Wisconsin’s top threat is junior running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor is one of the top backs in the nation with 957 yards already this season along with 15 touchdowns on 157 carries. He is currently averaging 6.1 yards per carry, which can keep any offense on the field all day long.
At quarterback for the Badgers is Jack Coan. The junior has thrown for 1,383 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions over the first seven games of the season. This week will be the toughest defense the Badgers have faced yet, as Ohio State is only allowing an average of 136 yards passing per game this season.
Ohio State has started its season 7-0, with no opponent coming closer than 24 points of the Buckeyes. Very similar to Wisconsin, they have their own Heisman candidate, along with a top defense as well.
Ohio State’s weapon on offense is its dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields. The sophomore sensation has lit up opponents so far this season with 1,492 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just one interception. Fields has started to build a solid Heisman resume this season, and a big game against such a tough defense would look great.
Getting it done for the Buckeyes on the ground this season has been J.K. Dobbins. The junior has 134 carries so far this year for 947 yards and seven touchdowns. Wisconsin has only allowed an average of 58.4 yards on the ground per game this season, so Dobbins will have a tough but important task this week of keeping the chains moving for Ohio State.
Ohio State is no slouch on defense itself. The Buckeyes have allowed only eight points and 229 total yards per game this season. This should make for an old-school defensive Big Ten battle. One team’s stars will have to show up and have a big game against a very tough defense to make a difference to continue controlling their destiny for the rest of the season.
What To Expect
Despite the tough upset last week, I would expect Wisconsin to bounce back in a big way against this challenge. I don’t believe they were exposed last week; I think they do have a very solid all-around team this year, and they won’t just get walked over this week. Expect a tough back-and-forth game that will most likely come down to the wire where Wisconsin celebrates an upset of its own in the end.