An Ohio State offense that stumbled throughout most of the first half showed signs of life in the third quarter, highlighted by a grinding, 47-yard touchdown drive.
The Buckeyes twice converted fourth downs on the march, which was capped by J.T. Barrett’s 1-yard run that along with the PAT made the score 16-13.
On wisconsin’s next possession, the Buckeyes’ Gareon Conley intercepted an Alex Hornibrook pass at the Badgers’ 38-yard line to put OSU in position to tie or take the lead entering the fourth quarter.
WIS: FG Endicott 46, 9:03. Drive: Eight plays, 52 yards, 3:48. Key plays: Fumagalli 28 pass from Hornibrook for first down at the UW 48; Peavy 12 run for first down at the OSU 25; Bosa sack of Hornibrook on third down from the 21 brought out the field-goal team. Wisconsin 3, Ohio State 0
WIS: Peavy 24 pass from Hornibrook (Endicott kick), 6:17. Drive: Four plays, 95 yards, 1:08. Key plays: Clement 68 run for first down at the OSU 27; on third-and-7 from the 24, Hornibrook stood in against a blitz and threw a strike to Peavy, who had split Ward and Webb on a seam route. Wisconsin 10, Ohio State 0
OSU: FG Durbin 25, 2:46. Drive: Eleven plays, 67 yards, 3:31. Key plays: Samuel 12 run for first down at OSU 37; Barrett runs of 10 and 21 yards on consecutive plays for first down at UW 11; Barrett was tackled for a loss on third-and-goal from the 4. Wisconsin 10, Ohio State 3
Analysis: Early knockout avoided, barely
Ohio State’s opening quarter of its Big Ten showdown in Madison was like an old episode of Saturday Night Live, except that the Buckeyes weren’t laughing when they came out as the Not Ready For Prime Time Players. Wisconsin fairly well owned the quarter, though OSU at least stopped the bleeding in the final moments. The Buckeyes started with the ball and gained one first down, but J.T. Barrett took a 10-yard sacked on third down and the Cameron Johnston punted into the end zone, a 70-yarder. The Badgers looked strong from the opening play, QB Alex Hornibrook passing 28 yards to Troy Fumigalli. The next five plays were Wisconsin runs to move the ball to the OSU 21, but Nick Bosa sacked Hornibrook to force a field goal by UW’s Andrew Endicott. The Buckeyes again picked up a first down but had to punt again, Johnston this time pinning the Badgers at their 5 after a penalty. But Corey Clement went 68 yards on first down to move the ball to the OSU 27. On the play, Chris Worley ran down Clement and forced a fumble that Ohio State’s Damon Webb recovered, but replay showed that the ball touched Clement’s leg when the running back was out of bounds, restoring the ball to the Badgers. Three plays later Hornibrook hit Jazz Peavy on a seam route for a 24-yard touchdown and a 10-0 Wisconsin lead. Ohio State got on the board when Tyler Durbin capped an 11-play drive with a field goal, but the Buckeyes clearly had been hoping for more. At quarter’s end, Ohio State had 94 yards and the Badgers 154, including 102 on the ground.
OSU: FG Durbin 40, 8:43. Drive: Nine plays, 56 yards, 3:16. Key plays: Baugh 29 pass from Barrett for first down at the 50; Samuel 25 pass from Barrett on third-and-13 from the OSU 47; the drive stalled there and Durbin entered on fourth-and-5. Wisconsin 10, Ohio State 6
WIS: FG Endicott 32, 2:47. Drive: Thirteen plays, 61 yards, 5:56. Key plays: Fumagalli 10 pass from Hornibrook on third-and-4 from the UW 46; Fumagalli 30 pass from Hornibrook on third-and-6 from the OSU 40; after a holding penalty negated a Wisconsin touchdown, Endicott came on to kick the field goal. Wisconsin 13, Ohio State 6
WIS: FG Endicott 22, :14. Drive: Ten plays, 61 yards, 1:43. Key plays: Peacy 15 run for first down at the 50; Wheelwright 15 pass from Hornibrook for first down at the
OSU 35; Clement 18 pass from Hornibrook for first-and-goal at the 5, but the Buckeyes’ defense stiffened and forced another field goal. Wisconsin 16, Ohio State 6
Analysis: Staying alive
To say Ohio State played its worst half of football since the meltdown against Michigan State last year would be an understatement. And yet the Buckeyes trailed by only 10 points, which they had to take as some sort of solace as they trudged to the locker room. OSU allowed 313 yards in the first half – more than they had given up in four quarters to every team it had played this year except for Oklahoma. Wisconsin, though, had 170 yards rushing and 143 passing, chewing up huge chunks of yardage – until the Badgers reached the red zone, that is. OSU scored first in the quarter when Barrett’s somehat-desperate passes to Marcus Baugh (29 yards) and Curtis Samuel (25) helped move the ball to the UW 28. But the drive stalled there and Tyler Durbin kicked a 40-yard field goal to make it 10-6. Wisconsin then took nearly six minutes off the clock with a 13-play drive but had to settle for a field goal three plays after Corey Clement apparently scored on a 9-yard run, only to see the Badgers get called for holding. The Buckeyes went three-and-out, though, and gave Wisconsin the ball with 1:57 remaining. Behind redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook, the Badgers smartly drove to a first-and-goal at the 5, but OSU bowed up and forced a third field goal by Andrew Endicott, making it 16-6. It was Ohio State’s largest halftime deficit since Virginia Tech took a 21-7 lead to the break in 2014.