December 21, 2014

OSU speed, Wisconsin mistakes cost the Badgers

The Ohio State Buckeyes won their 17th straight game on Saturday night, knocking off the Wisconsin Badgers 31-24 in Columbus.

Joel Stave

Joel Stave

 

The three-time defending Big Ten Champion Badgers had little answer for the Buckeyes speed, but they didn’t give up.  Several times the Badgers would claw themselves back in it, only to shoot themselves in the foot with costly penalties.

The Badgers had a number of break-downs in their secondary, but none bigger than Braxton Miller getting a pass over the top of the Badger secondary for a 40-year touchdown pass to Devin Smith, who was left open by a busted coverage.

AUDIO: Gary Anderson on his message to the team at halftime :22

The Badgers had key penalties in the first half that wiped out what appeared to be Ohio State fumbles.  They were also called for an illegal formation on a punt, which negated a fumble recovery at the OSU 2-yard line.

Going into the game, the Badgers thought to have a chance to win, their passing game would have to be better.  Joel Stave completed 20 of 34 passes for a career-high 289 yards with two touchdowns.  Jared Abbrederis had a career high 10 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown.  This time, it was the running game that finished with a season-low 104 rushing yards.

AUDIO: Gary Anderson on Joel Stave :21

AUDIO: Gary Anderson on what OSU did to slow the Badger rush attack :20

Braxton Miller threw four touchdown passes in the first three-quarters in his return after missing almost three full games with a knee sprain.

As hard as the Badgers battled to stay in the game, the Buckeyes continued to make more plays with their tremendous speed.  The speed and the tremendous volume of the fans at Ohio Stadium, forced the Badgers into mistakes that they just couldn’t overcome.

The loss dropped the Badgers out of the top 25 in both the A.P. Poll and the USA Today coaches’ poll.  Wisconsin had been ranked 23rd in the A.P. Poll and 24th in the coaches poll.

Wisconsin has a bye this week before hosting Northwestern (4-0, 0-0) in Big Ten action in two weeks.