The No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes faced their first tall task of the season on Saturday afternoon as they welcomed the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers into The Horseshoe for some good ole’ fashioned Big Ten football. It was exactly ideal football weather in Columbus, with a driving rain and temperatures in the mid-50s. Wet conditions, as well as the two top defenses in the country, combined for a recipe for a low-scoring, messy affair.
The Buckeye defense, led by Chase Young, put together a monster performance to slow down Jonathan Taylor and the Wisconsin offense. Ryan Day and his defensive staff were on the money for the entire game, debuting some new sets and dominating at the line of scrimmage. Young had his best game of the season to date, racking up four sacks and five tackles for loss — both Ohio State records — while also forcing two fumbles in what was just an unbelievable display by the nation’s best player.
In a battle between two Heisman-contending running backs, J.K. Dobbins outplayed Taylor in every aspect. Dobbins would finish the game with 20 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching three passes for 58 yards. Taylor, on the other end, rushed 19 times for just 52 yards as the Buckeye defense swarmed to the ball all game long.
Wide receiver Chris Olave had a big game for OSU, as the sophomore added seven catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns of his own. Justin Fields, battling injury most of the second half, finished 12-of-22 with 167 yards and two touchdown passes. He also added another 28 yards and a rushing score.
On a rainy Saturday in Columbus, defense reigned supreme early. After stopping Jonathan Taylor short of the sticks on 3rd-and-3 on the first drive, the Buckeyes offense took over for what would be a sloppy possession. A miscommunication on the snap count led to an easy Wisconsin sack of Justin Fields, and following a run for no gain on third and long, OSU would punt it right back.
The Badgers picked up the first first-down of the contest on a 14-yard run from Taylor on third and short to take the ball near midfield. OSU was throwing out a ton of different defensive formations clearly saved for this game, one of which with Chase Young lined up at linebacker. It worked to perfection, as an attempted screen pass was eaten up for a loss by Young, and once against Wisconsin would be forced to punt.
Can anyone argue that Chase Young isn't the best athlete in the country?— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 26, 2019
He goes from the backfield to tackling the receiver about one second. pic.twitter.com/DuFGB7YLVQ
The Ohio State offense started to look more like the once we’ve grown accustomed to this season, as Ryan Day began to feed his star running back. J.K. Dobbins was able to drive the Bucks down past the 50, but another self-inflicted wound on a bobbled snap killed yet another drive, forcing the home team to punt for the second time in their first two possessions. After a subsequent Wisconsin punt, the first quarter would end with no score.
The defensive slugfest continued as the Buckeye offense was less than stellar heading into the early stages of the second quarter. Another punt gave QB Jack Coan and the Badgers the ball with a chance to take the lead, but Young’s big first half got even bigger. Completely bullying the Wisco left tackle, Young squeezed his way into the backfield to sack Coan on third down and force a punt — his second sack of the early contest.
Chase folded Jack Coan in half. pic.twitter.com/iJFhUixIfW— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 26, 2019
On the other side of the ball, the rain was having a huge impact on everything Ohio State did on offense, as Fields looked to try and get the passing game in rhythm with little success. His throws were all a bit off, mostly sailing high, and even the ones that were on target were getting dropped in the slick conditions. Even still, the Bucks were able to get the ball into Wisconsin territory, and would up with an impressive 49-yard field goal make by Blake Haubeil despite less than ideal conditions.
UW head coach Paul Chryst made the first big play-call of the game, going for it on 4th-and-1 from inside his own 45. The Badgers would convert, but would not get much else as the OSU defense got yet another stop. The Badgers attempted to leave Young unblocked on a screen pass, and he was in Coan’s face immediately as the junior QB was forced to throw it away.
With time running out on the first half, the Buckeyes put together their first good-looking offensive drive just before halftime, as Fields was tasked with conducting a two-minute drill. Dobbins set the tone with a 12-yard drive at the onset, and after a few quick passes by Fields and a long 21-yard scamper, Ohio State was nearing the redzone.
After a Wisconsin sack set up third and long, Fields dropped a dime into the hands of Chris Olave for a beautiful 27-yard touchdown, as the home team took a 10-0 lead into halftime.
that is just pretty pic.twitter.com/oFypcw5cW6— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 26, 2019
The third quarter began even worse than the first, as Ohio State came out with a quick three-and-out on offense. Wisconsin got a hand on the punt, and the Badgers started with the ball on the Buckeyes 30-yard line. The momentum seemed to flip entirely to the away team’s side, as Coan dropped a beautiful pass into the hands of A.J. Taylor for a 26-yard TD to cut the OSU lead to 10-7.
The Scarlet and Gray took the field in need of a huge answer on the ensuing possession, and they got it. Olave’s big game continued to start the drive, ripping off a 22-yard catch and run and a few plays later another catch for 11 yards. Reestablishing the ground game, Dobbins broke off a huge 28-yard run to get the Bucks down to the Wisco 10-yard line. One play later, Fields kept the ball on an option and dove into the endzone. The big time drive put Ohio State up 17-7 as they regained a 10-point lead early in the third quarter.
The Silver Bullets forced Wisconsin into a three-and-out on their next possession, and following a sweet 23-yard punt return by freshman receiver Garrett Wilson, OSU was in business near midfield.
After a nice return from the true freshman if Ohio State can score again here, the game just might be over. pic.twitter.com/rGClfnPdyS— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 26, 2019
With Fields clearly battling through pain, the Buckeyes elected to feed Dobbins — and boy, was that a good idea. After a 34-yard powerful run to get the ball inside the Badgers’ 10-yard line, Dobbins snaked his way through the Wisconsin defense untouched into the endzone, putting the good guys up 24-7 as it appeared the game was becoming out of reach.
this is a grown man run pic.twitter.com/1NTSjuyXzb— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 26, 2019
The Badgers needed to find some success in their next drive in order to stay alive, and through some solid power running were able to get the ball down toward the Buckeyes’ 30-yard line. Sensing desperation, and after a snap infraction by the center, Wisco was faced with a crucial 4th-and-9. The Ohio State defense came up big once again as — guess who — Young strip-sacked Coan to force the huge turnover. The boys in Scarlet and Gray headed to the fourth quarter still leading 24-7.
The J.K. Dobbins Show continued into the fourth quarter, as Day was almost exclusively riding with his hotter-than-the-sun junior running back. A run of 13 yards and a 21-yard reception by Dobbins had the Buckeyes down into the redzone quickly. One play later, a 14-yard scamper for an easy walk-in touchdown by Dobbins put Ohio State up 31-7, as the best team in the country was once again looking like the best team in the country.
This didn't send before, but Dobbins is clearly the best RB in the Big Ten and probably in the country, and will almost certainly join the Heisman conversation after this week, BUT after a shaky first quarter, the o-line has been dominant! pic.twitter.com/zAK9luiKJL— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 26, 2019
Wisconsin continued to run into the Chase Young buzzsaw, as the junior edge rusher added on to what was one of the most dominant individual performances by a defensive player in college football this season. After completing a big play down the sideline to get into OSU territory, The Predator snuck his way into the backfield for yet another sack fumble - his FOURTH of the game.
Why in the world are you trying to block Chase Young with one player? pic.twitter.com/0ZkjzF6rh3— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 26, 2019
In what would be the final drive for the ones, Master Teague spelled Dobbins as Ohio State continued to run it down the No. 1 defense in the country’s throat. Fields would find Olave in the corner of the endzone one last time, and the Bucks were now fully dominating 38-7.
Fields to Olave for their second TD connection of the game. Buckeyes up 38-7. pic.twitter.com/cqX7nnxWSf— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 26, 2019
The Buckeyes will be off next week before they host the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, Nov. 9.