Wisconsin has won every game they’ve played, all 12 of them, by at least eight points. As sure as the sun rises in Madison, their massive offensive line has opened up lanes all year for talented true-freshman running back Jonathan Taylor to dart through. Tight end Troy Fumagalli will soon be catching passes on Sunday.
But for all that Wisconsin is this year, they are first and foremost a stout defensive unit. A team that leads the nation in total defense, and allows only 12 points a game — the second best in the nation.
Yet, after 12 games — the weird fact of the matter is that the Badgers still haven’t played a really good offense all year. Wisconsin has not played a top 15 offense all season — and Ohio State is the No. 4 offense in the nation. The best offense the Badgers have faced was FAU’s No. 16 ranked unit on September 9. And the competition has gotten quite a bit worse recently. In the Badgers last six games, they’ve only faced one offense ranked in the top 100 in the nation.
Meanwhile, the level of defensive competition has increased for the Buckeyes, and OSU has risen to the challenge. In November, Ohio State dispatched two top-10 defenses No. 9 Michigan State, and No. 3 Michigan. Two fine warmups in advance of today’s tussle with No. 1.
Who will lead OSU’s offense? J.T. Barrett is cleared to play, but questions remain about his health after his knee went under the knife on Sunday. Expect Barrett to start — and if he looks his normal self at full speed, you won’t see Haskins. If Barrett doesn’t look himself, Haskins will have his opportunity for his own Cardale Jones moment.
Ohio State, in its biggest game of the season, will show up. Wisconsin will too. And playing at their best, the Buckeyes defense frustrates Wisconsin’s run game — with the offense finding enough seams to make big plays on the ground and through the air in the second half. Buckeyes 24, Badgers 17.
- Barrett medically cleared, but Meyer unsure if he’ll play, Bill Rabinowitz, Columbus Dispatch – December 1
- Ohio State will be the best offense Wisconsin’s top-ranked defense has faced all season, Land-Grant Holy Land – December 1
- Ohio State-Alabama: The College Football Playoff debate, Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com – December 1
I’ll be joining the I-70 convoy to Indianapolis today, en route to Lucas Oil. It should be be a heck of a game tonight. Thanks for reading the Buckeye Daily, the AM newsletter the press, program, and fans read edited by Jim Baird. Know someone who would appreciate this e-mail? Sign up here or send me a line firstname.lastname@example.org. And join the squad following on Twitter @buckeyedaily.
Photo: Josh Hallett