Big Ten season is finally here and the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes are opening up with quite a challenge as the Wisconsin Badgers come to town on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET in a game that will be broadcast on ABC.
Ohio State is asking fans to wear black to Ohio Stadium tonight in solidarity with the team, who is breaking all the all-black unis. However, OSU is absolutely, positively not calling it a “Blackout,” since that term has destructive connotations regarding alcohol and everybody knows that neither football fans, nor college students, would ever drink to excess.
Anyway, Ryan Day’s Buckeyes come in 3-0 following an impressive 77-21 victory over Toledo. Paul Chryst’s Badgers are 2-1 after losing to Washington State 17-14 in Week 2. Wisky beat New Mexico State 66-7 last week.
The Buckeyes have been dealing with a recent rash of injuries as star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, No. 1 running back TreVeyon Henderson, breakout defensive lineman Mike Hall, and many others have been limited in recent weeks. However, Day insists that none of the injuries are significant, and — even though he is hesitant to share medical information with the public — he has teased that many of the recently absent Buckeyes should be available to play against Wisconsin.
One of the silver linings to the injuries has been other players have had opportunities to step up. With JSN out of the lineup, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka have become legitimate threats and after missing the first two games, fellow wide receiver Julian Fleming asserted himself as a pass-catching weapon against Toledo hauling in two touchdowns.
On the ground, with Henderson leaving after his lone touchdown run, not only did Miyan Williams continue his ascendency to co-featured back, but true freshman Dallan Hayden also made a case for increased playing time by rushing for the first touchdown and 100-yard game of his career.
Flipping over to defense, whether it is injuries, or coaches moving guys around to get the best talent on the field, safeties Lathan Ransom and Cam Martinez have been bright spots for the Buckeyes’ back end with Cam Brown fighting through injuries to become the team’s most reliable corner. In the middle, team captain Tommy Eichenberg has essentially played every meaningful snap at linebacker, and Mike Hall has become the most dominant interior lineman on the OSU D.
Sophomore edge rushers Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau continue to supply pressure to opposing quarterbacks, but haven’t yet gotten home enough to raise them to the next level on the Bosa-Young scale.
Whatever complement of talent that the Buckeyes run onto the field tonight, it will likely be up against its toughest test of the season. While the game against Notre Dame was a battle of top-five teams at the time, the Irish have since lost a second game (to Marshall) and struggled to hold off Cal. While the Badgers’ season has been far from perfect, the physicality and familiarity of the Big Ten competition will surely make this a hard-fought contest.
When is the game and how can I watch?
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Online: Sling TV
Radio: 97.1 FM | 1460 AM
DraftKings Sportsbook line: Ohio State -19.5 | o/u 57.5
Official LGHL Prediction: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 17
Matt’s Prediction: Ohio State 42, Wisconsin 17
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