Ohio State edges Wisconsin, 31-24 (Instant Reaction)

osuHelmetEvery preview and pundit out there was saying the same thing: Ohio State was going to force the Badgers to throw the ball, thinking that Stave wouldn’t be up for the game. In the first half, Stave and Abbrederis were doing everything they could to prove that notion wrong.

Ohio State’s defense was up for the task of stopping the run. Outside of a couple big runs by Gordon, the defense kept the running game in check.

As for Braxton and the possibility of rust, he disavowed that notion early and late in the first half, throwing three beautiful touchdowns to three beautiful receivers.

Ohio State led at half time, 24-14.

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The second half wasn’t as pretty as the first but it was just enough.

The offense struggled to click in the second half. On four of Ohio State’s six second-half possessions (not counting the final kneel down) Ohio State was forced to punt. They turned the ball over on downs after Chris Borland stuffed Carlos Hyde on a fourth-and-two attempt. Only after a Bradley Roby interception did the the Buckeyes find the end zone. But that score was all the insurance they would need, propelling them to a 31-14 lead with a little more than two minutes in the third quarter.

Wisconsin would score ten more points but it wasn’t enough to overcome the 17-point deficit.

Jared Abbrederis proved once again that he can play with the best of them, having a career night, hauling in 10 passes for over 200 yards. He has given Bradley Roby fits any time those two go at each other, and tonight was no difference.

Also, hats off the Ohio product Chris Borland. He played a superb game at middle linebacker, shooting gaps, stuffing plays and chasing down Braxton on more than one occasion to prevent a big gain. He played a near flawless game and deserves some major respect for that performance.

Ohio State’s defense also deserves kudos. They held one of the best rushing attacks to less than a third of their previous average. The longest run they gave up was to James White on the final touchdown that Wisconsin scored, which went for 17 yards. Melvin Gordon was averaging 11 yards a carry and the Buckeyes held him under 5. Holding the Badgers to 104 yards when they had been averaging 350 is an accomplishment.

Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant were everywhere, and the Silver Bullets proved once again they could stop another vaunted rushing attack.

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