There are few things more enjoyable than the chance to be inside a college football stadium on Saturday afternoons in the fall.
The pageantry of college football is unmatched in American sports. Up close, it’s awe-inspiring, especially watching it from the sidelines in a way that is only a dream to most folks. Because I’m really, really fortunate, I get to do that every weekend.
When you’re watching it from the sidelines, though, there are things you’re sure to miss. That’s why it’s important to get home and watch it again from the couch. With a beer.
That’s what I’m doing now, taking a few hours to have a Scarlet and Gray replay and seeing things that might’ve been missed at first glance during Ohio State’s come-from-behind, overtime win at Wisconsin. It’s 10:45 p.m. on Sunday night, I got home from Wisconsin just about three hours ago and we’re ready to go. Let’s re-watch the Buckeyes and Badgers.
I know that Mark May picked Wisconsin to win this game, and so did Ric Flair, who inexplicably was asked to give a prediction for ESPN’s College GameDay. It’s crazy how some people (May) hold on to grudges against a college team as long as they do, as though this year’s version of the Buckeyes have anything to do with one that pummeled his beloved Panthers decades ago.
First Quarter – Ohio State receives the kick
- First time being a home underdog for Wisconsin since they upset Ohio State in 2010? That’s a pretty good stat, for Wisconsin.
- Urban Meyer was amped pregame, jumping up and down as the Buckeyes entered the field. Said Ohio State would need “stupid strength” to win this game. Funny term.
- On TV, you can’t really tell how loud it was inside of Camp Randall as the game started. I mean, it sounds loud, but it was loud. I think it’s a great decision by Wisconsin to put J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes offense out there first, especially after last week’s offensive struggles.
- Badgers opened the game playing way off the Buckeyes wide receivers, challenging them.
- On third-and-1, or fourth-and-1 for that matter, I can’t figure out why Mike Weber isn’t on the field. He’s Carlos Hyde-esque in short yardage situations.
- Barrett’s first pass was a good one. Noah Brown has to catch it when it’s in his hands.
- Badgers rush gets by Michael Jordan, first time I’ve seen him get really “beat” this season.
- Badgers start on offense doing a great job motioning, rolling out the quarterback, exploiting the soft part of the Buckeyes defense, right in front of the safeties and to the tight end.
- Jazz Peavy is a great name and that quick end-around was scary. He got around the corner on the Buckeyes’ defensive line easily.
- Nick Bosa is a problem every time he’s on the field. His strength is something else. Wisconsin hits a 46-yard field goal. Badgers 3, Buckeyes 0.
- It always warms my heart when I see the Buckeyes throw a slant. Nice grab by Noah Brown and a perfect ball by Barrett on first down.
- Interesting to see Weber and Samuel in the backfield with Barrett, which could be a triple-option look later in the year.
- The left side of the Ohio State offensive line is struggling early so this Buckeyes drive stalls early.
- Eric Glover-Williams is a demon on special teams. Badgers will start at their 5-yard line, and Cam Johnston’s impact is felt early in this game.
- Though the fumble got overturned on Corey Clement’s long run, the effort by linebacker Chris Worley was remarkable. It was defensive lineman Davon Hamilton who missed Clement in the backfield and, poof, he was gone. Great hustle by Worley to prevent what could’ve been a 95-yard touchdown. Ohio State has tackled very well this season, but two All-America candidates – Gareon Conley and Malik Hooker – both whiffed on that play.
- Wisconsin has Ohio State’s defense confused and tired. No one in America would’ve predicted a four-play, 95-yard touchdown drive by the Badgers in this game, I don’t think. On the touchdown pass to Peavy, it looked like defensive back Damon Webb just turned the wrong way and got caught flat-footed. Badgers 10, Buckeyes 0.
- K.J. Hill’s return will help the Buckeyes. He’s a legitimate deep threat, and I don’t know if anyone else on this current roster is.
- If that J.T. Barrett fumble doesn’t bounce straight ahead, there’s a good chance this game gets away from Ohio State early.
- Mike Weber has great, great vision and the Badgers linebackers are very good at getting off blocks. No edge for the Buckeyes.
- Barrett with his first bad throw, overthrows Parris Campbell and may have been better served dumping the ball off to Curtis Samuel on that first down play.
- I know fans don’t like it, but one reason J.T. Barrett runs the ball so much? Because it works. Ohio State is cooking, down the Badgers 5 and Mike Weber needs the ball more.
- Drive stalls, Tyler Durbin hits a 25-yard field goal. Badgers 10, Buckeyes 3.
- Wisconsin gets six on the first play and Raekwon McMillan nearly lost his shoes on a spin move by Corey Clement.
- Bosa gets the pressure on Alex Hornibrook on third down and the Buckeyes force a punt. Big play again by Bosa. His quickness is returning and he’s not just a bull-rusher anymore.
- I hate the option to the short side of the field. Hate it.
- Official hits Urban Meyer in the face, Buckeyes get penalized 15 yards. That’s the third sideline penalty on Ohio State in the last two quarters, dating back to Indiana. Absurd.
Second Quarter – Buckeyes’ ball at their own 22
- Ohio State punts after another 10-yard run by Curtis Samuel while another Buckeyes penalty, for a block in the back on K.J. Hill, is declined.
- Once again, Peavy on the end-around for a big gain, 28 yards. The Badgers have that play timed perfectly.
- Buckeyes toughen up and force a punt. Sam Hubbard finally gets to the quarterback for his first full sack of the season. He was also held blatantly on the play.
- Ohio State finally goes downfield, but Barrett underthrows Terry McLaurin. He just doesn’t seem to really let it rip on the deep ball and was late with the pass.
- Barrett is so dangerous when he breaks containment. That pass to Marcus Baugh for 29 yards was a great throw and an incredible play by Baugh.
- The Buckeyes finally get tempo on offense. That’s how they’ll keep Wisconsin off balance, not with the option.
- Again, Barrett eludes pressure and gets out of T.J. Watt’s grasp, Isaiah Prince gets away with a hold, and then Curtis Samuel makes a great catch for 25 yards on third-and-13. Wow. Huge turn of events.
- The deep ball on first-and-10 to Samuel was a good throw, but the Buckeyes wide receiver turned around too early and mistimed his jump. Drive stalls, and, again, Durbin hits a field goal. Badgers 10, Buckeyes 6.
- Tight end screen, end-around, middle run, middle run, tight end, tight end. Badgers offense looks like a totally different unit than they have all year and have Ohio State totally confused.
- Chris Worley is kind of a bad ass. Really unheralded in this Buckeyes defense.
- Not sure why the quarterback rolling out is giving the Ohio State defense such fits but if they thought Hornibrook was going to fold under pressure they’ve been wrong so far. Huge drive here by Wisconsin after the Buckeyes had taken momentum.
- A holding penalty costs the Badgers a touchdown so they settle for a field goal. Badgers 13, Buckeyes 6.
- Very, very bad effort by Ohio State on that series so they go three-and-out, including a missed block on third down by Michael Jordan, who’s not playing his best half, but neither is anyone on the Buckeyes roster. Badgers will get the ball back with momentum, and they get the ball to start the second half.
- Peavy. End around. Again. That play is killing Ohio State. Badgers to midfield.
- Hornibrook is way better than I thought he’d be. Wisconsin is doing whatever it wants against Ohio State right now.
- If Peavy runs in motion, he’s getting the ball and first downs. Shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, but, eventually, that will set up something else.
- Buckeyes bite hard on the running back screen, their aggressiveness being used against them on every play.
- Ohio State holds, and, again, Wisconsin kicks a field goal. Terrible first half of football by the Buckeyes no matter how you look at it. Badgers 16, Buckeyes 6.
Third Quarter – Badgers receive the football
- Indiana scored easily on its first possession of the second half last week. If the Badgers do, this game goes from slightly concerning to nightmare level.
- What a great play by Hooker on the end around, crushing Peavy after only three yards. Halftime adjustment?
- Buckeyes hold and Jalyn Holmes swallows up Hornibrook. Badgers punt. Key opening stand.
- I didn’t know what Dontre Wilson was doing from 10 yards away and I don’t know what he was doing while I rewatch this on TV. Just an absolute bonehead decision, but he gets away with it and recovers his own muff. Crisis averted.
- I’m shocked by how much James Clark continues to be on the field for Ohio State, but he’s proven to be capable in run blocking.
- Barrett isn’t nearly as decisive throwing the ball as he is running it. When he gets his confidence in the passing game, though, he’s a totally different quarterback.
- The rain that held off all game decided to come down hard for one play, Barrett throws an interception and the rain almost immediately stopped. It was crazy. Bad throw by J.T. No reason to roll left, throw right, etc. His intermediate throws continue to be a major problem. Ohio State had momentum but let the Badgers steal it right back.
- Ohio State’s defense gets two tackles for loss – Jalyn Holmes on first down and Jerome Baker with a great play on a third down screen – to force a quick punt.
- Two times the ABC/ESPN crew called Robert Landers a true freshman, which, of course, he’s not. Does that matter? No, but I like to feel smart.
- Buckeyes have turned the field position game around and get the ball at the Badgers’ 48. They have to score on this possession.
- The short pass in the backfield to Samuel is far more effective than the option. It lets him catch the ball moving forward and with some built-up speed.
- On the field, I couldn’t the quality of that throw by Barrett to Terry McLaurin. That should have been a touchdown. Great patience and great throw by Barrett.
- Jamarco Jones’ injury looked pretty serious, but it may have actually helped the Buckeyes get a little extra time to figure out a key fourth-and-1. Jones missed just two plays, and Weber picked up four yards. Ohio State is fortunate, though, Jones is one player it can’t lose.
- Barrett missed a wide open Marcus Baugh on second-and-10 and then throws a dart to Brown on third-and-10. Brown thought he had the marker. Weber with a major second effort to get another fourth-down conversion.
- Brown was this close to making another catch like he did at Oklahoma, but the pass interference sets up Barrett’s touchdown run. Barrett had his face mask almost ripped off on the touchdown, but no penalty was called. Either way, we’ve got a classic brewing. Badgers 16, Buckeye 13.
- Hornibrook tried to place one to a crossing receiver, but the timing is off and Conley read it perfect for an interception. Buckeyes are back in business and momentum has completely changed.
- Barrett has been good the last two series, Buckeyes get the ball, with momentum, and on the first play do a direct snap to Samuel who runs a reverse to Wilson? Seems like too much thinking by Ohio State’s staff there. Don’t get cute.
- On third-and-5, Barrett makes his biggest and best throw of the game to Noah Brown. A laser for a first down.
Fourth Quarter – Buckeyes’ ball at the Badgers’ 8
- “Jump Around” at Wisconsin was pretty cool, but the way the third quarter ended kind of took away some of the juice from the crowd, and it was a little underwhelming on the field.
- Third-and-6 and Barrett runs it off right tackle for an eight-yard touchdown after eluding two pass rushers. Great call by Wisconsin, but Barrett makes the huge play. Somehow, after that terrible first half, the Buckeyes lead and you get the feeling if the defense can get a stop on Wisconsin’s next possession, they could end up winning comfortably. Buckeyes 20, Badgers 16.
- Hooker’s closing speed is insane. Makes a huge play on a throwback to the tight end.
- Peavy is getting dangerously close to Bucky ‘Effin Dent territory. There’s no reason he should have caught that 36-yard pass over Damon Arnette. What a darn throw by Hornibrook. Badgers have their confidence back after 11 yards in the third quarter.
- Ohio State hasn’t seen this style of offense all season and the Badgers just outmuscled them on a 20-yard run by Clement.
- Six games into the 2016 season, the Buckeyes give up their first rushing touchdown of the year. Again, Ohio State just gets blown out at the line of scrimmage on the third down scoring play. Just like that, all the momentum since the half is gone and they trail. Badgers 23, Buckeyes. 20.
- This game feels like the 2013 Big Ten title game, kind of. Ohio State got down early, had to come all the way back and then looked suddenly exhausted again. They’ll need a drive here because they can’t turn it back to the Badgers without scoring.
- You can kind of “see” that Barrett is feeling it. The throw he made to a sliding McLaurin was perfect and picked up a key first down.
- Barrett saw the chance for a big play so he waved Wilson down the field almost immediately and then made a perfect throw. Wilson made an incredible catch. Ohio State had the same matchup on the next play and just ran out of field.
- I really thought Meyer would go for it on fourth-and-2, but he lets Tyler Durbin kick a 31-yard field goal to tie the score. That was a lot of pressure on Durbin, but he punched it through. Buckeyes 23, Badgers 23.
- Lots of time for Wisconsin, but Ohio State’s defense has played a great second half outside of the last Badgers possession.
- Until the Badgers holding penalty, this final drive felt a lot like Michigan State’s game-winning drive in Columbus last November.
- After seeing the TV replay of the Conley interception, I’m convinced it never hit the ground. There’s no way that should have been overturned based on any evidence, but, alas, it was.
- Badgers punt, Buckeyes get the ball with two timeouts and :41 to play from their own 15.
- Conservative Buckeyes opt for overtime. Risky proposition anywhere, but certainly on the road at a place like Wisconsin. Second straight trip to Madison that ends in overtime.
Overtime – Buckeyes get the ball
- Tricky play to start the overtime session on a double-reverse looking thingy. Curtis Samuel gets 10 yards.
- Inside the red zone? Yes, that means a procedure penalty on Ohio State. Set your clock by that.
- At Penn State in 2014, Barrett just seemed to will the Buckeyes to overtime points, and he’s doing it again here. James Clark gets his first target of the game and makes a big play, second-and-3 coming up.
- Another penalty. Two penalties on the first overtime drive and Barrett continues to make the next play to erase them. Third-and-3, from the 7-yard line.
- If you want to know why Meyer loves Barrett, it’s because when the game is on the line, he makes a throw like that last one to Brown. Touchdown. Barrett has hit nine of his last 10 throws and, suddenly, has 226 yards passing, 92 rushing and three scores. He’s a winner, period. Buckeyes 30, Badgers 23.
- It’s almost impossible to believe Hornibrook made the throw he just made on second-and-10. The kid just didn’t bend to the pressure. First-and-goal from the 4-yard line and there’s not a lot of reason to think a stop is coming.
- Yet, it does. First Chris Worley, then Raekwon McMillan in coverage, then Jerome Baker outracing Clement to the edge.
- Fourth-and-goal, and the Buckeyes bring the house. Their defensive line played an incredible second half and came up with a collapsing effort on the game’s final play.
Birm’s final thoughts
Wisconsin was better than I, or most people, thought they’d be because they’d shown so little offensively this season. They made great use of their off week to give the Buckeyes fits the entire game. Any road win is a good one, and 20 in a row on the road is truly remarkable. This is the kind of game that can set the tone for the rest of the season.
- Barrett is tough as hell. I think we can write this every week.
- Beyond his toughness, when he needed to, J.T. made some of his best throws this season. He won that game not just with his legs, but made key passes when Wisconsin challenged him.
- The defensive line in the second half was spectacular.
- Tyler Durbin and Cam Johnston were both great.
- Wisconsin is the real deal and that is great for the Big Ten.
- Dre’Mont Jones was excellent once again.
- That was as bad a first half as I’ve ever seen Ohio State play as a team. All phases.
- The slow starts continue and there will be a night when the time runs out.
- Weber and Samuel didn’t get enough pull in the running game, 23 total carries compared to Barrett’s 21.
- The soft spot in the defense was exposed, Wisconsin picked on Damon Webb and the Badgers’ misdirection is something that will be replicated by teams the rest of the year.
THE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
- J.T. Barrett
- Curtis Samuel
- Noah Brown
- Pat Elflein
- Billy Price
- The defensive line
- Chris Worley
- Jerome Baker
- Gareon Conley
- Marshon Lattimore
- Malik Hooker