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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, September 28, 2023
Badgers try for road upset in Columbus

football: Josh Oglesby (67) and the Wisconsin offense will look to keep up their impressive play as the Badgers put their undefeated record to the test against No. 8 Ohio State in Columbus Saturday.

Badgers try for road upset in Columbus

Slaying a giant is never easy, especially when that giant is cheered on by 103,000 rabid fans screaming for the demise of their intimidated opponent. That is the challenge Wisconsin faces Saturday as it travels to the vociferous Ohio Stadium with hopes of taking down the No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes.

The message about being intimidated hasn't reached the Badgers yet, according to sophomore tackle Josh Oglesby.

""It's definitely going to be a battle, but I think we're up for the challenge. We're not going to back down from anybody,"" Oglesby said. ""It is a big stadium, they do have a big fan base, but you know what? That makes it all the more fun.""

It also helped to have Athletic Director and former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez fire up the team with a speech before Tuesday's practice. Alvarez, who went 2-0 in Columbus against the Jim Tressel-era Buckeyes before stepping down in 2006, talked of the rivalry with Ohio State and told the team that playing a smart, disciplined game is the key to victory in such a hostile environment.

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""Everybody was ready to play the game after he talked to us. He got us real amped up,"" senior defensive end O'Brien Schofield said.

Schofield and the Wisconsin defense face the difficult task of containing slippery Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor and running back Beanie Wells dismantled the Badger defense in the fourth quarter of the Buckeyes' come-from-behind 20-17 win last season at Camp Randall Stadium.

Pryor possesses the lethal combination of size and speed—he reportedly clocked a 4.33-second 40-yard dash this summer—though questions remain about his maturity and decision making ability as a quarterback.  Schofield admitted containing Pryor will be a difficult task for a Wisconsin defense giving up 128 rushing yards per game this year.

""Pryor's a whole totally different athlete. He can pass, he can run and he's pretty good on the edges,"" Schofield said. ""On film, it looks like he's running in slow motion.""

Defensively, Ohio State poses an equally difficult challenge for Wisconsin. Junior linebackers Brian Rolle and Thaddeus Gibson lead a Buckeye defensive unit ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense.  Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst joked that moving the ball and scoring points will be the two main obstacles for the Wisconsin offense against the Buckeyes.

""They have a real good defense, and it's a great challenge, and along with challenges come good opportunities,"" Chryst said. ""But they're as good a defense ... as we've faced.""

Junior quarterback Scott Tolzien echoed his offensive coordinator, saying he anticipates a formidable test from the Buckeye defense.

""They'll be the best defense we've faced to date, just traditionally very fundamentally sound, and they've got some real good athletes as well,"" Tolzien said.

Ultimately, the Badgers need to establish the run early and continue to dominate time of possession on offense while forcing Pryor to beat them through the air on defense to have a legitimate chance at bringing home a victory.

According to senior linebacker Jaevery McFadden, the defense is confident it can stop Pryor and hungry to prove that this year's undefeated record isn't because of a soft schedule.

""Everybody on the defense is making plays, so that's a good reason why we got a little confidence going, but at the same time we're not satisfied,"" McFadden said. ""It's just the sixth game of the season, against Ohio State, it's just another game on our schedule, but it's a big game because it's the next game.""

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