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).
A combination of two of the best defenses in the Big Ten and rain has led to some sloppy conditions for Ohio State and Wisconsin on offense. As such, it has taken a while to see some points being scored, but Ohio State is taking a 10-0 lead into halftime in Columbus. A touchdown pass from Justin Fields to Chris Olave in the final minute of the half gave the Buckeyes the double-digit lead.
Chris Young has been a beast for Ohio State’s defense, as the Badgers have had their work cut out for them. Jonathan Taylor has been limited to 25 rushing yards on 12 carries, and Jack Coan has completed just four passes for 26 yards (on nine attempts). Wisconsin has just 72 yards of offense, while Ohio State has picked up 180 yards. J.K. Dobbins has rushed for 51 yards for the Buckeyes, and he has caught two passes for 37 more yards. Fields has had pressure at times from the Badgers and has completed 8 of 14 passes for 109 yards.
Blake Haubeil finally managed to get some points on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter. With Ohio State’s offense stalling at the Wisconsin 32-yard line, Haubeil converted on a 49-yard field goal to give Ohio State a 3-0 lead.
So it looks like we have a good game on our hands heading to the second half. But will Wisconsin be able to score?
No. 4 Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) got a four-touchdown night from quarterback Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins rushed for 121 yards and scored two touchdowns as the Buckeyes easily took care of business against Northwestern (1-5, 0-4 Big Ten) Friday night in Evanston. Ohio State’s 52-3 victory against the same program they face din last season’s Big Ten championship game was hardly a contest from the start.
Ohio State marched down the field on the Wildcats on the opening drive of the game with a pair of third-and-long conversions to keep the drive alive. Fields connected with a wide-open Chris Olave for an early touchdown to finish off the drive. After leading just 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, the Buckeyes put the game away in the second quarter with a 24-0 outburst. Ohio State scored three more touchdowns after halftime as even the backups got into the scoring mix.
While the Ohio State offense was once again putting up big points, the defense was dominant against a struggling Northwestern offense. The Wildcats managed to pick up just 42 passing yards by Aidan Smith, who had a rough night against Chase Young and the OSU defensive front.
No. 6 Wisconsin will be in action in the state of Illinois Saturday with a road game at Illinois. If all goes according to script, Ohio State will host Wisconsin in a matchup of undefeated Big Ten division leaders and top six programs next Saturday. The game could be a preview of the Big Ten Championship Game.
As it stands now, Ohio State owns sole possession of first place in the Big Ten East. Penn State has a chance to move into a tie for first place in the division Saturday night with a home game against Michigan. The Wolverines have lost once in Big Ten play this season and need a win to keep pace with Ohio State.
While Ohio State now prepares for its stiffest challenge of the year, Northwestern will once again look to regroup. While it may get easier next week, a home game against Iowa is anything but a walk in the park for the Wildcats. Northwestern is on the brink of being ineligible for a postseason bowl game, as the program needs five wins in its final six games in order to qualify for the postseason this year.
To say Ohio State and Northwestern are going in opposite directions is a gross understatement.
Ohio State opened Friday night’s game at Northwestern with a touchdown drive and scored three more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 31-3 lead on the hapless wildcats into halftime in Evanston. Justin Fields has thrown three touchdowns (two to Chris Olave) and J.K. Dobbins has one rushing and one receiving touchdown as the Buckeyes appear to be taking care of business in a scarlet and gray-clad Ryan Field.
Ohio State thrived on third-and-long on the opening drive. As Northwestern was unable to get its defense off the field, any chance to make things interesting appeared destined to fail for the underdog. Northwestern has welcomed back Isaiah Bowser at running back, but there hasn’t been much to write home about for Pat Fitzgerald and his program so far.
Northwestern did suffer a couple of key injuries on defense in the first half. Starting defensive tackle Trevor Kent left the game for medical evaluation. And defensive end Earnest Brown left the game and has been ruled out for the remainder of the game with what has been described as an upper-body injury.
It’s been quite some time since No. 5 Ohio State (2-0) lost a game to another team form the state of Ohio. A thorough 42-0 victory over Cincinnati (1-1) on Saturday afternoon in Columbus extended Ohio State’s streak against in-state opponents to 42 consecutive wins.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields turned in another solid outing as the new starter in Columbus. Fields completed 17-of-21 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown, and he picked up two additional rushing touchdowns in the blowout victory. J.K. Dobbins led all players with 141 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Any threat of Cincinnati being able to keep things close in this game, as some anticipated might happen, were put to rest by a strong showing by the Ohio State defense. Cincinnati struggled all afternoon on third down (the Buckeyes thrived on third down conversions when on offense), and the Cincinnati offenses managed just 1.1 yards per rushing attempt until Ohio State let their foot off the gas.. Cincinnati was flagged for 10 penalties and lost the turnover battle too, both ingredients to thwart any shot at a significant upset.
The first half did have a scary moment for Cincinnati safety Kyriq McDonald. In the middle of a play, McDonald fell to the ground appearing to be having a seizure. He was taken off the field on a stretcher. McDonald does have a history of seizures, bu there was no immediate update on his situation provided. He did not return to the game after leaving in the first half.
The last time Ohio State lost to a team from Ohio was October 8, 1921 when the Buckeyes were on the wrong end of a 7-6 score against Oberlin. Ohio State will look to pick up a 43rd consecutive win against in-state opponents in two weeks when the Buckeyes host Miami Ohio. But first, Ohio State opens their Big Ten schedule next week at Indiana. In the meantime, Cincinnati will actually get a first crack at the RedHawks as Cincinnati returns home next week to face Miami Ohio in Week 3.