Georgia came out punching in the SEC title game, we saw how it worked out for them. Wisconsin employed a similar strategy, and the Badgers lead Ohio State 21-7 at the break in Indianapolis.
Paul Chryst‘s team won the toss, elected to receive, hit Quintez Cephus for a 27-yard completion on the first play of the game and scored on a 44-yard Jonathan Taylor run.
Ohio State moved into Badger territory on its first possession, but Justin Fields was stuffed for no gain on a 4th-and-7 run from the Wisconsin 34. The Buckeyes moved into Wisconsin territory again on their second try, but Fields was sacked on 3rd-and-10 from the Wisconsin 34 and this time Ryan Day punted.
Taking over after the punt at its own 20 with 1:20 to play in the first quarter, Wisconsin pieced together a vintage Wisconsin drive: 14 plays, 80 yards, six and a half minutes and capped by a 6-yard Taylor run, who became the seventh player to top 6,000 yards in the process of putting the Badgers up 14-0 with 10:19 to play in the first half.
Wisconsin again sacked Fields on 2nd-and-10 on the ensuing possession and Ohio State appeared headed for a three-and-out, but Day dialed up a pass from punter Drue Chrisman to Luke Farrell for 21 yards, keeping a drive alive that eventually reached the Badger 4, where Fields fumbled the ball away on a 3rd-and-goal run.
However, Ohio State forced a Wisconsin punt and then finally got on the board when JK Dobbins leaped into the end zone with 42 seconds left in the half. Wisconsin might’ve been content to take its 14-7 lead to Lucas Oil Stadium’s home locker room, but Taylor popped a 45-yard run to the Ohio State 30 — in the process becoming the first 100-yard rusher against Ohio State all season. Another Taylor run pushed the ball to the 25, and then Jack Coan hit Cephus for a leaping 24-yard grab, and Coan did the rest, putting Wisconsin back up 14 with 10 seconds left before halftime.
While Fields closed the half 7-of-14 for 127 yards with 10 rushing yards and a fumble, Coan went 6-of-13 for 100 yards while running for 33 yards and two scores. Taylor rushed 13 times for 135 yards and a touchdown, including two runs of 44 yards or more.
For the half, Ohio State gained 233 yards, moved 50 or more yards on three of its possessions and 41 on the fourth, but still scored only seven points. Having spent less than ten minutes trailing all year, Ohio State has trailed 28:57 and counting tonight.
Ohio State will receive to start the second half.