MADISON, Wis. — Tyquan Lewis was first, but it didn’t take long for Jalyn Holmes and Nick Bosa to arrive.
Needing a touchdown on fourth-and-goal in overtime, Wisconsin redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook had less than two seconds to scan the field for open receivers. Nobody was open. Before he could do anything else, he was on the ground.
Ohio State came away with a 30-23 overtime win at Wisconsin on Saturday night, and the game-ending play happened so fast that OSU head coach Urban Meyer didn’t even know what happened.
“I didn’t see it,” he said. ““We were scripting for the next (series). I almost got run over on the sidelines.”
The Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) won because, with the game on the line, they put their four best defensive linemen on the field — defensive ends Sam Hubbard, Lewis, Holmes and Bosa. The Rushmen package, as that four-defensive end design is called, destroyed the Wisconsin offensive line and gave the Badgers virtually no hope from the start.
Lewis entered the play with one thing on his mind — “Get off the ball,” he said. He got the first — and best — push firing off the snap, forcing Hornibrook back another three steps. Holmes soon followed up the middle, and Bosa and Hubbard came around the other side to close off any other path Hornibrook might have had to avoid Lewis.
“We were celebrating in the locker room and I brought (defensive ends coach Larry Johnson Sr.) up because on any of those third-down situations, those four guys up front did a great job,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “I know that might not be their forte and that’s not the situations they want to be in, but those guys did an unbelievable job. That last one, I don’t know if he had an opportunity to throw the football. Those guys were pressuring him so fast, so quick, and you can play good defense behind that.”
The defensive line ultimately got to the ball, but the secondary also deserves credit for its blanket coverage of Wisconsin’s four wide receivers. Watching the play develop in the footage above, there was nowhere Hornibrook could have delivered the ball in the time frame he had to work with.
“To me that’s a coverage sack because the back end had everybody held down and we just made a play,” Holmes said.
Lewis made the play of his career, and Ohio State came away with a huge win.
“To come out here and get a win on the road like this in a hostile environment, it means everything,” Lewis said. “It feels amazing.”