In a classic battle of Big Ten powers, Wisconsin’s defense won the first half. But Ohio State’s won the second half and it won overtime, helping the No. 2 Buckeyes erase a 10-point deficit to defeat No. 8 Wisconsin 30-23 in overtime.
It was not the best night for Ohio State’s offense, but the Buckeyes made the plays they needed to make when they needed to make them, including overcoming two penalties at the top of the first overtime to set J.T. Barrett up for a 7-yard touchdown strike to Noah Brown.
On the ensuing possession, Alex Hornibrook found Robert Wheelwright for a 21-yard connection to set the Badgers up for a first-and-goal at the Ohio State 4. They would move no further. Corey Clement was stuffed on first down, and Hornibook threw incomplete on second down. Clement again rushed for no gain on third down, and Hornibrook’s fourth down pass never actually left his hand. Seemingly the entire Ohio State front busted through the Wisconsin offensive line, causing a startled and backpedaling Hornibook to pump fake. He was engulfed before he could load another pass, and Ohio State had its 20th consecutive win inside an opponent’s stadium.
Wisconsin (4-2 and a hard-fought 1-2 in the Big Ten) controlled the pace and the mood throughout the first half, limiting the Buckeyes to just two field goals and taking a 16-6 lead to the break.
But the Badgers’ controlled attack worked against them in the third quarter, when a three-and-out and an interception allowed Ohio State consecutive scoring drives — neither of them covering 50 yards — to grab a 20-16 lead on an 8-yard Barrett run on 3rd-and-6 with 14:09 to play. Wisconsin immediately responded with a touchdown drive of its own, chewing up 81 yards and 6:15 of clock, to regain a 23-20 advantage midway through the frame.
Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) answered, largely on the back of a 43-yard pass to Dontre Wilson, to set Tyler Durbin up for a 31-yard field goal to tie the game with 3:57 remaining.
Barrett battled through drops, rough conditions and an active defense to complete 17-of-29 passes for 226 yards with a touchdown and an end zone interception while rushing 21 times for 92 yards and two more scores. Hornibrook hit 16 of his 28 throws for 214 yards with a touchdown and a pick, while Clement rushed 25 times for 164 yards.
Washington State’s coaching loss will prove to be a fellow Pac-12 member’s gain.
Following up on reports that had surfaced throughout the latter part of this past week, new head coach Mario Cristobal announced that he has hired Jim Mastro as his new running backs coach. Mastro will also serve as the Ducks’ run-game coordinator.
Mastro had spent the past six seasons as the running backs coach at Washington State.
“We are thrilled to add Jim to the staff,” Cristobal said in a statement. “He has extraordinary leadership skills which will be of great benefit in developing our talented group of running backs. Jim possesses a wealth of experience both coaching and recruiting on the West Coast, and he has consistently been a tremendous innovator on the offensive side of the ball.”
Prior to Wazzu, Mastro spent one season (2012) as the tight ends coach at UCLA. For the 11 seasons prior to that first taste of the Pac-12, Mastro was the running backs coach at Nevada.
Mastro has also spent time on FBS coaching staffs at Idaho (1998-99) and San Jose State (1995).
Stanford’s quarterback room will have a decidedly different look this coming season.
Keller Chryst announced on his personal Twitter account Sunday afternoon that he has decided to transfer from the Cardinal for his final season of collegiate eligibility. Chryst will graduate from the university in June, making him eligible to play in 2018 at another FBS program if that’s the path he chooses.
Chryst gave no specific reason for the decision, although the fact that he lost his starting this past season likely played a significant role.
Chryst began the 2016 season as the backup to Ryan Burns, who started the first seven games after winning the job coming out of camp before losing it to Chryst midseason; he replaced Burns midway through that season as the starter. While he suffered a torn ACL in Stanford’s Sun Bowl win over North Carolina following the 2016 regular season, he began the 2017 season as the starter; an injury in the Week 4 win over UCLA opened the door for redshirt freshman K.J. Costello to start the following week against Arizona State. Chryst returned in Week 6 and started the next three games.
Ahead of the Washington State game in early November, however, a healthy Chryst was benched in favor of Costello. In what turned out to be the final three starts of Chryst’s career with the Cardinal, he completed just under 57 percent of his passes for 453 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
In parts of three seasons, Chryst, whose uncle Paul Chryst is the head coach at Wisconsin, passed for 1,926 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions in 289 attempts.
Rich Rodriguez was fired earlier this month after his former administrative assistant filed an $8.5 million claim against him, saying she was forced to lie to his wife and children to cover up his extramarital affair and that he subjugated her to numerous instances of inappropriate behavior, including brushing up against her breast and making comments about his underwear and genitalia.
He admitted to the affair, but said the other claims were unequivocally false.
On Saturday, the same woman, Melissa Wilhelmsen, filed an additional $7.5 million claim against the University of Arizona, saying the school is liable for its former employee’s behavior.
From the suit, according to the Arizona Daily Star:
The document says that Wilhelmsen and her husband also have claims against Rodriguez for slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from Rodriguez and his wife’s conduct after his firing — including “statements to football players at a team meeting on January 9, 2018.” Rich and Rita Rodriguez spoke to the players in a team meeting run by interim head coach Marcel Yates on that date. It was not immediately clear if any additional legal action had been filed.
Rodriguez on Sunday released a statement, essentially calling Wilhelmsen’s bluff.
Considering the plaintiff is now seeking a sum of $15 million here, the odds of an out-of-court settlement seem so overwhelming that they may as well be taken off the proverbial board.
We’ve all known Jalen Hurts for two years, and in that time three characteristics have remained constants about the Alabama quarterback:
1) His calm, unflappable demeanor.
2) His penchant for winning games.
3) His hair.
You can now scratch one of those off the list.
“The deal was if we won the natty, the locs (sic) had to come off lol,” Hurts wrote in a Twitter post. “New look. Same mission. Grind hard and improve every day!”
Hurts was held accountable to the deal by teammate Josh Jacobs.
Honestly, it won’t be the same this season when, after eluding beyond the left hash and just barely picking up a 3rd-and-11 by extending the nose of the football past the stick on the right sideline, we don’t see that same golden ponytail emerging from the crimson No. 2 helmet, calmly trotting back to the huddle like it’s all no big deal.