Ohio State traveled to Wisconsin with the hopes of navigating Camp Randell without getting a scare, and left with a 24-10 win. Give credit to luke Fickell who is in his first year with the team, and incorporating a new offense with Phil Longo, but they were held back without Tanner Mordacai, and then Braelon Allen was hurt at the end of the first half. The phrase goes that defense travels, and we saw that on display Saturday night, as the Silver Bullets held the Badgers to 259 yards, under 100 yards rushing, and under 170 yard passing. They also forced a fumble on the Badgers first drive of the game.
The slow starts did continue for the Buckeyes though, who only scored a field goal in the quarter on their second drive after stalling out on a turnover on downs on their first drive. McCord did not play his sharpest, throwing two interceptions in the first half, but the Buckeyes were able to hold a 10-3 lead going into half time.
The Badgers started the second half with a 75 yard touchdown drive, capitalized with a no look pass in the redzone where there was a busted coverage in the Buckeye secondary. Ohio State responded, and with a touchdown by Marvin Harrison Jr who made a catch that will be added to his Heisman campaign reel. The Buckeyes were able to shut out the Badgers to rest of the game, and TreVeyon Henderson scored on a 33 yard touchdown run that took the game out of reach, and brought the Buckeyes 8-0, and tied with Michigan for first place in the Big Ten East.
The next few days for Kyle McCord will be interesting to pay attention to, as he had an apparent injury in the second half after a scramble for a first down, and it appeared a few Badgers had rolled on his bad ankle. Already without Devin Brown, the Buckeyes have back ups in transfer Tristan Gebbia, who was warming up on the sidelines Saturday when it looked like McCord might have to be taken out, and freshman Lincoln Keinholz. This was arguably McCord’s worse game as a starter, account for 3 turnovers, two of those being interceptions and 1 fumble, and the injury to his ankle impacted his mobility in a pocket that forced him to throw two balls that resulted in intentional grounding. He still did pass for 226 yards and two touchdowns to Marvin Harrison Jr.
Welcome back, TreVeyon Henderson. The junior running back played his first game since Notre Dame, and came back in an emphatic way. He rushed for 24 carries for 162 yards and a touchdown. He also was McCord’s safety net in the passing game with 4 catches for 45 yards. Miyan Williams was out for this game, so Xavier Johnson and Chip Trayanum filled in in the running game. Johnson had 4 carries, all jet sweeps, for 29 yards. Trayanum was limited to 6 carries for 13 yards.
Marvin Harrison Jr should start picking out a suit for a trip to New York, and there is a good chance The Game will be a match up for two Heisman hopefuls, with the winner of the game getting the bid. He had his 4th straight 100 yard game, catching 6 passes for 123 yards, and two touchdowns. He moved up in the top 10 in career receiving yards. Julian Fleming was the third leading receiver, with Emeka Egbuka making the trip, but did not play. Fleming caught 2 catches for 19 yards. Gee Scott Jr had 2 catches for 18 yards. Surprisingly Cade Stover did not get a single target all game.
The touchdown to Marvin Harrison Jr in the 3rd quarter does stand out since it was a response to the Badgers opening scoring drive at the start of the second half, but to me the turning point was on TreVeyon Hendersons 33 yard touchdown run to seal the win and made it 24-10. McCord turned the ball over 3 times, which could. have been drives that needed in points.
Stars of the Game
This will be different than what I have normally done in the past, and will do the 3 stars of the game, and rating them based between 1 and 3, with 1 being the lowest star, and 3 being the MVP.
1 Star Player of the Game – The Ohio State Defense. If this were just the first half, this defense would probably challenge for a higher star ranking, but gave up some chunk plays to a Wisconsin offense that was without their starting quarterback, top two running backs, and a top pass catcher. It showed the moment might have been too big for Braedyn Locke, but he still got the Badgers within a score at the end of the first half, and drove 75 yards at the start of the second half to tie it up. This should have been a game where the defense played more complex schemes to trip up Locke, but he was able to still get some decent yards against on the top secondaries in the country.
2 Star Player of the Game – TreVeyon Henderson. Welcome back, 32! The junior flashed on some big plays in this game, showing what the offense was missing with him out since the Notre Dame game, but gashing the Badgers defense for over 200 total yards, and a game sealing touchdown, a difference maker in the game.
3 Star Player of the Game – Marvin Harrison Jr. This should not come as a surprise after he hauled in a 100+ yard, 2 touchdown game, and solidified himself as a Heisman candidate. I know there are receivers out there who might be posting better numbers, but Marv is making Kyle McCord look like a top 3 quarterback in the conference.
Another week where the offense did not look pretty, but the Buckeyes are undefeated heading into November, and have 3 weeks to get everything cleaned up for what should be a showdown of unbeaten teams in Ann Arbor on November 25th. Georgia, Florida State, and Oregon took care of business with wins on the road. Michigan had an idle week, but it will be interesting to see where the committee ranks the Wolverines with the sign stealing investigation on going and a chance for punishment that could impact post season play that would come from the Big Ten. With the first playoff poll coming out on October 31, the Buckeyes should be somewhere in the top 6 teams, especially with Oklahoma dropping out, and their resume stacks up to be one of the better resume’s in the country as both Penn State and Notre Dame won this weekend, and should be in the top 15.
Ohio State (8-0) will travel to play Rutgers (6-2) for a 12pm kickoff on CBS.
Wisconsin (5-3) will travel to face off against Indiana (2-6) for a 12pm kickoff on BTN.
Photo Credit: Morry Gash (AP)