Five takeaways from No. 3 Ohio State’s 52-21 win over Wisconsin

Fireworks go off at Ohio Stadium as the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes run onto the field ahead of their 52-21 victory over Wisconsin on September 24. Credit: Zachary Rilley | photo editor

The Buckeyes started the Big Ten game on Saturday, and they did so without too much trouble against a Wisconsin team that consistently remains near the top of the conference.

No. 3 Ohio State fell in the opening draw for the first time this season, but they raced ahead, scoring on the game’s first practice and not allowing the Badgers to get away. catch up in their 52-21 win.

Third-year quarterback CJ Stroud threw for five touchdowns for the second straight game, passing former gunslingers Bobby Hoying and Joe Germaine and ranking third among Ohio State quarterbacks with 60 scores through the air.

Stroud’s performance contributed to Ohio State’s 539 total offensive yards, while Buckeye’s defense held Wisconsin to 296 yards, which marked the third time they held opponents under 300 in four games this season.

Here are five takeaways from the Buckeyes’ 52-21 win over the Badgers.

The buckeyes are banged

Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles acknowledged the Buckeyes would enter the season with nicks and bruises at the cornerback, and their depth was tested at the position on Saturday.

Ohio State has listed graduate cornerback Cameron Brown as unavailable, and sophomore cornerback Denzel Burke had a cast on his right hand, meaning he wouldn’t play either.

In their place, sophomore JK Johnson and freshman Jyaire Brown made the first starts of their careers, combining for five tackles while the latter recorded a pass breakup. Brown was also flagged for a personal foul, but he and Johnson helped limit Badgers junior quarterback Graham Mertz to 94 passing yards.

At wide receiver, third-year Jaxon Smith-Njigba missed his second game of the season as he continues to recover from a leg injury originally suffered against the then No. 1. 5 Notre Dame when the season opens on September 3.

Sophomore running back TreVeyon Henderson showed no limits with a foot problem that held him to four carries against Toledo on Sept. 17, leading the Buckeyes with 21 carries and 121 yards.

Defense takes steps to meet high standards

Before the season, head coach Ryan Day said he expected the Ohio State defense to finish in the top 10 in college football.

Knowles upped the ante in the preseason, saying he wanted a top-5 defense. The Buckeyes have emerged from Week 4 as No. 18 in total defense among NCAA teams, averaging 238 yards allowed per game so far.

Wisconsin threw for 73 yards or less in each of the first three quarters on Saturday, then went for 123 yards in the fourth quarter largely on a 75-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Braelon Allen.

Ohio State held opponents within 300 yards on offense three times last season, and the Buckeyes have done so many times in four games in 2022.

Graduate cornerback Tanner McCalister, who returned against the Badgers after missing the game against Toledo, landed his first interception as a Buckeye on Mertz’ first pass attempt in the first quarter, allowing Ohio State to hold a 14-0 lead less than seven minutes later. the game.

The Badgers rushed for 192 yards and amassed 104 through the air. Aside from Allen’s big run in the fourth quarter, Ohio State allowed only one rush for 10+ yards and three passing plays of 15+ yards.

Fourth-year linebacker Tommy Eichenberg anchored the first seven behind 14 tackles, including two for loss. He helped limit Wisconsin to 5.3 yards per play, and the Buckeyes started conference play with a defensive win.

Ball carriers remain “altruistic”, achieve a feat not achieved since the 2020 season

Henderson and third-year running back Miyan Williams each eclipsed 100 rushing yards on Saturday, becoming the first Buckeye duo to do so since former quarterback Justin Fields and running back Trey Sermon at Michigan State on Dec. 5 2020.

Williams capped the first drive of the game with a 2-yard rushing touchdown and then added a 3-yard score with 13:33 left in the second quarter.

Day said Henderson and Williams could each go “back and forth” thanks to their “altruistic” attitudes. Freshman running back Dallan Hayden also had eight carries for 31 yards on Saturday, a week after rushing for 108 yards as well as a touchdown while crediting Henderson and Williams for helping him adapt to football at the college level.

Ohio State is third in the Big Ten behind an average of nearly 220 rushing yards per game, and its top two rushers are the conference’s No. 10 and 11 in total rushing yards with 318 and 308 for Henderson and Williams. , respectively.

Stover isn’t the typical Buckeye tight end – and it’s proven to be productive

Fourth-year tight end Cade Stover has already entered the season in an atypical fashion, joining Buckeye’s offense after spending most of his career at Ohio State as a linebacker and defensive end.

Against Toledo in Week 3, Stover rushed for 83 yards on three receptions.

Stover found the end zone slipping away from him in the first three games of the season against Wisconsin.

Two plays after McCalister’s interception, Stroud rolled to his left after receiving the snap in shotgun formation. He turned to his right where he threw to Stover, who caught the pass near the nine-yard line and bent down on a tackle attempt that sent him into the end zone for the first career touchdown from Buckeye.

Stover scored his second touchdown out of lineup I on Ohio State’s next practice and finished with 51 receiving yards on four catches.

Day said he’s proud of Stover’s role in Buckeye’s offense, which currently ranks him third among Ohio State’s receivers with 188 receiving yards.

Stroud shows he’s human but still a candidate for Heisman

With less than a minute remaining in the first half, Stroud knocked down second-year wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and Badgers senior safety John Torchio intercepted the ball.

It was Stroud’s first interception of the season and one of his few errors in the first four games of the campaign.

Wisconsin gained control of the ball in vain, gaining seven yards and being held on one of its four three outs in the game.

Stroud seemingly shook off the error and threw for 134 yards in the second half, highlighted by three touchdowns. He completed a season low with 63% of his passes, but averaged 16.5 yards per completion, finding four receivers and assisting three of them to score a touchdown.

Stroud is tied with 16 passing touchdowns for most in college football, sits No. 12 with 1,222 passing yards and No. 20 with a 70.5 completion percentage so far this season. His 207.54 passing efficiency leads the Big Ten and is second in the NCAA, showing he’s in contention to be college football’s top quarterback after finishing No. 4 in Heisman Trophy voting there. one year old.

The Ohio State quarterback is very different from last season, as Stroud took over as the starter in 2021 without recording a pass attempt at the college level. Over four games this season, he’s showing the progress he’s made that will not only help the Buckeyes fight for a spot in the Big Ten title game, but send them back to New York to attempt the highest. honor of college football in December.

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