No. 23 Wisconsin (1-1 Big Ten, 3-2 overall) started from behind and found themselves behind 24-14 going into halftime after a last second touchdown reception by Ohio State senior wide receiver Corey Brown.
No. 4 OSU (1-0 Big Ten, 5-0 overall) held steady and didn’t let the Badgers back into the game until the fourth quarter, when the Badgers were able to mount a late rally but failed to execute an onside kick.
Wisconsin eventually fell to the Buckeyes 31-24 after their final drive stalled out with 20 seconds left in the game.
The Badgers’ missed opportunities were ultimately too much to overcome.
Redshirt junior kicker Kyle French missed his first field goal attempt from 32 yards, but came back in the fourth quarter to sink a 42-yard field goal, leaving Wisconsin behind by a touchdown with only two minutes left in the game.
Freshman Sojourn Shelton dropped a potential interception just prior to halftime, and on the next play Buckeye senior quarterback Braxton Miller split the UW safeties to put OSU up by 10.
Over the course of the game Wisconsin also gave up 54 yards on eight penalties and had two fumbles.
“We gave them too many lay-ups” said head coach Gary Andersen, “Credit to Ohio State for making the plays when given the opportunity, but we have to be able to make it difficult. That’s what a great team will do.”
The scoreboard, however, doesn’t tell the full story. Holding penalties, illegal formations and false starts may have hindered Wisconsin, but three players had career highs.
Redshirt senior Jared Abbrederis had a career-high 207 receiving yards on ten receptions. It was his eighth game above 100 yards, and with it Abbrederis moves into the history books as Wisconsin’s third ranking receiver of all-time for career receiving yardage with 2,631.
Redshirt senior linebacker Chris Borland, a Kettering, Ohio native, matched his career high of 16 tackles. Borland played with passion and stood up leading rusher senior running back Carlos Hyde multiple times, including a couple short-yardage situations.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Joel Stave completed 20 of 34 pass attempts for a career-high of 295 passing yards.
Both quarterbacks had big days, with Miller becoming the all-time leader in quarterback rushing yards at Ohio State, gaining 83 yards on the day.
Both quarterbacks also had very similar first halves, with Stave going 11-for-16 and Miller going 11-for-17.
In the second half Stave threw an interception after being sacked for a loss, allowing Ohio State’s junior cornerback Bradley Roby to snag the ball and start what would end as a field goal scoring drive for the Buckeyes.
Wisconsin’s traditional run offense was stuffed at the line by Ohio State. Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer knew what to expect and loaded up the box against the Badgers, forcing them to pass.
Unfortunately for Wisconsin, the aerial assault failed to provide the yards they needed.
The Badgers failed to establish their running attack, only accumulating 104 rushing yards on the day. Redshirt sophomore running back Melvin Gordon was capped at just 74 rushing yards, his first game under 100 this season.
“We’ll be frustrated, we’ll be irritated, and then we’ll move on.” Andersen said. “The bottom line is there’s no magic fairy dust and everyone is in [the Big Ten race] at this time … we don’t completely control our destiny, but I like our chances.”