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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Loss to Badgers demoralizes OSU

COLUMBUS, Ohio'As the Ohio State players came off the field, they paused to sing their alma mater. Somehow, to each player, the words seemed just a little less hallowed than they normally are. 

 

 

 

After Buckeyes senior quarterback Steve Bellisari's pass sailed over the head of junior wide receiver Chris Vance in the final minutes of Saturday's game against Wisconsin, the Ohio State players realized they had lost their Homecoming game 20-17 to the visiting Badgers. 

 

 

 

For most Buckeye fans, losing to a Wisconsin squad that had allowed 63 points to Indiana just a week before seemed highly improbable. 

 

 

 

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The odds of a Badger victory seemed even longer when Ohio State jumped out quickly on UW, building an early 17-0 lead in the first half. 

 

 

 

Though the Buckeye players were holding their heads high as they walked through the tunnel into their locker room, several Ohio State fans gave the players some friendly reminders about just what they had lost. 

 

 

 

The disappointment was evident on Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel's face. 

 

 

 

'Obviously, losing a game in this stadium makes [the loss] feel even worse, but the facts are what they are,' Tressel said. 

 

 

 

The facts were that after OSU freshman tailback Lydell Ross scored early in the second quarter to push the Buckeyes' lead to 17-0, the Ohio State offense had outgained UW's offense 168-39. 

 

 

 

Two plays later, junior cornerback Derek Ross intercepted Wisconsin junior quarterback Brooks Bollinger, returning the ball to Wisconsin's territory. 

 

 

 

With OSU seemingly on the precipice of putting the Badgers into an Indiana-style hole, the UW defense thwarted the Buckeyes' chances with an interception by sophomore safety Michael Broussard. 

 

 

 

The game's momentum shifted to UW on the last two possessions of the first half. 

 

 

 

After a bad snap by OSU senior long snapper Mike Jacobs caused junior punter Andy Groom to run the ball for one yard on a fourth-and-20, Wisconsin got the ball inside the Buckeyes' 25-yard line. 

 

 

 

On the next play, UW redshirt freshman tailback Anthony Davis rushed in for a touchdown to cut the OSU lead to 10. 

 

 

 

'They made a mistake just before the half and we were able to capitalize,' UW Head Coach Barry Alvarez said. 'It gave us momentum going into the half.' 

 

 

 

But the backbreaker for Ohio State did not come until the score was tied 17-17. 

 

 

 

After a kickoff by UW sophomore placekicker Mark Neuser, the Buckeyes had the ball at their own 35-yard line. 

 

 

 

That was the closest that Ohio State would get to midfield in the drive. Three sacks and a forced fumble by an energized UW defense seemed to push the OSU's spirit past the breaking point. 

 

 

 

After the game was over, the media gathered for the Ohio State press conference and awaited the arrival of several Buckeyes players. As the players strode in, each of them had a different expression, as though they were convicts walking the final mile.  

 

 

 

On the far left of the table, OSU senior running back Jonathan Wells, with tattoos rippling on his bulging biceps, had an annoyed look on his face, as though he really did not want to be there. Seated next to him, Vance looked as though he had gone 12 rounds with Bernard Hopkins'utterly stunned.  

 

 

 

On the far right, OSU senior linebacker Joe Cooper calmly sat, slightly raising his eyebrows to show his displeasure towards the outcome. 

 

 

 

In an odd way, the expressions and mannerisms of the players were vaguely familiar. Why? 

 

 

 

The looks were almost exactly the same as those of Wisconsin's players just one week ago. 

 

 

 

sports@dailycardinal.com

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