The best running back in the Big Ten doesn’t play in Madison, Wisconsin. He plays in Columbus, Ohio. J.K. Dobbins rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 58 yards as No. 3 Ohio State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) powered past No. 13 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) to the tune of a 38-7 final score to cement Ohio State’s status as the class of the Big Ten.
Chase Young and the Buckeye defense was dominant as well, limiting Wisconsin’s star running back Jonathan Taylor to just 52 yards on 20 carries, including a long run of 14 yards on the afternoon. On a rainy afternoon in Ohio Stadium, Ohio State took control of the Badgers running game meant Jack Coan had to come up with the big plays to give Wisconsin a chance. Aside from a nice pass early in the second half, those opportunities just never transpired for Coan and the Badgers. Wisconsin was just 4-of-13 on third down and managed just 191 yards of total offense. Ohio State’s offense had a sluggish start against the best defense it has faced this season but ended the day with 432 yards of offense. The Buckeyes rushed for 264 yards as a team, with Master Teague III adding 76 yards to be the game’s second-leading rusher. Wisconsin also had two turnovers to Ohio State’s none.
Justin Fields had two touchdowns thrown and clearly played through some back pain as the game progressed. His 12 completions on 22 attempts for 167 yards weren’t quite what is typically expected of him, although his receivers had plenty of dropped passes as well in the slippery conditions.
Ohio State will get a week off before returning to the field for another game. The Buckeyes will host Maryland on Nov. 9. By then, the College Football Playoff rankings will have been released, giving us a sense of just where Ohio State stands in the eyes of the selection committee. Ohio State should be in a pretty good position, but the fate of the season will likely be determined in the final games of the season for Ohio State. After Maryland and a road game at Rutgers, Ohio State will host Penn State on Nov. 23 before closing out the regular season at Michigan. And then, a potential rematch with Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship? There are still some things to sort out in the Big Ten championship picture, but Ohio State just cleared the toughest hurdle yet for the Buckeyes. Barring a major upset in the next couple of games, all eyes can begin shifting to the last couple of games of the season in Columbus.
As for the Badgers, Wisconsin now falls two games back in the loss column in the Big Ten West Division behind Minnesota (who plays Maryland today, Rutgers next week). But Wisconsin still has a chance to win the Big Ten West. Their next game will be a big one, however. The Badgers also get next week off and will then host No. 20 Iowa on Nov. 9. The Badgers and Hawkeyes are currently tied in the division (Iowa was holding form against Northwestern).